Performance oriented wagons are a rarity in Australia, with few entries from just a handful of brands. Subaru continues to contribute to this niche space, with their latest example the WRX Sportswagon tS. It’s a very worthy offering indeed.
Formerly known as the Levorg (a name it will retain in Japan), the WRX Sportswagon range is made up of a base model, a mid-spec GT and the range topping tS, tested here. Yes, you read that correctly, lower case t, upper case S. Weird we know, but it’s not the first time.
Like the WRX sedan, there’s a trio of choice, with the GT coming equipped with extras such as satellite navigation, a sunroof, leather seats, heated front and rear seats and ambient lighting.
The range topper gains electronically controlled dampers, more drive modes and suede upholstery. But what makes the Sportswagon stand out, even from its sedan sibling is the lack of black cladding used as a body kit of sorts, on that model.
Instead, the wagon is sharp and seamless, with aggressive looks. Sure it still has a few black pieces on the front bumper and rear diffuser, but it isn’t over the top like the sedan. Flared fenders make it look wider too, although this is a bit of an illusion.
The Sportswagon is actually narrower and longer than the sedan. Inside, you’re treated to the same interior you’ll find on the sedan, which is not really much different to the previous models, save for the large 11.6-inch infotainment unit.
Setup in a permanent portrait format and skirted by vertical air vents, this new unit is a much needed upgrade for the Sportswagon, and features inbuilt satellite navigation that’s a breeze to use.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto work well here too, although there’s a bit of wasted real estate, as only the top portion of the screen is utilised. Leather seats with suede upholstery and red stitching, along with a decent amount of bucketing, make up the first row.
Leather trims on the doors are also a welcome touch, with the exception of the faux-carbon trims surrounding the door handles which cheapened the experience. Unfortunately, the headlining is still grey, which is a real shame (unless of course you like grey).
You’ll spend some time looking up to make adjustments to your sunroof, which by the way is quite small by today’s standards, and still has a manually opened and closed cover. We hope you like grey. Okay we’ll shut up about the headlining now.
The cabin is roomy and practical, with plenty of headroom and legroom for tall occupants. Seat heating is available for both front seats as well as both outboard rear seats. There’s 492-litres of boot space with the second row up, and 1,430-litres with it down.
Under the hood, Subaru have upgraded the Sportswagon with the same new 2.4-litre turbocharged boxer powerplant you’ll find in the WRX sedan and BRZ. However, you won’t find a 6-speed manual transmission here, regardless of trim level.
The drivetrain is simply superb. It’s a huge improvement on the powerplants that have gone before it, particularly in terms of performance. The larger displacement engine outputs 202kW of power and 350Nm of torque to all four wheels.
This is mated to Subaru’s new 8-speed Sports Lineartronic CVT transmission. It’s fair to say this is the best CVT we’ve ever experienced. Yes, it still feels like a CVT gearbox, with lots of rev hang, but you’ll only really find this in the lower gears.
After third gear, it feels more like a dual-clutch transmission, and a great one at that. The combination delivers a claimed fuel economy of 8.5-litres/100km, although we could only manage 10.4-litres/100km.
Enthusiasts will rejoice too, as driveability is excellent in the Sportswagon. Handling is superb, and with the addition of electronic damper controls, you can even have the softest suspension settings paired with the sharp engine responsiveness of Sport mode.
The powertrain carries plenty of torque and power, rocketing the car forward to 100km/h in about 6.0-seconds. What you will find though, thanks to the 225/45 tyres on the wagon, is understeer in hard cornering, and a bit of body roll.
And because it’s an auto, Subaru’s ground breaking safety tech features in the Sportswagon tS, including auto emergency braking, emergency steering, adaptive cruise, lane-keep assist with centring, sign recognition and auto high beam.
For those lugging their little ones around, there’s ISOFIX anchor points on the two outboard rear seats and three top-tether mounts for child seats. It does make for an excellent family car, despite feeling a little cramped with a rear-facing baby seat.
So if you’re looking for the perfect family car, but don’t want an SUV, the WRX Sportswagon is the perfect blend of practicality and performance. Its main competitor is the Skoda Octavia RS at $56,490, but there’s something about Japanese reliability that wins us over.
This reviewer would be more than happy to replace the old Levorg in our garage with the new WRX Sportswagon tS, and that says a lot. To jump into one, you’ll need to spend $57,990 plus on-roads. Check out Subaru Australia’s website for more info.
If you need finance, chat to CreditOne. All WRX variants are backed by Subaru’s 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty.
Our 2022 Subaru WRX Sportswagon tS was supplied by Subaru Australia. To find out more, contact your local Subaru dealer. Pictures courtesy of Brakefast Media.