The new Subaru Levorg has been named the 2020-2021 Car of the Year Japan. The second-generation wagon’s JCOTY win is the third time for Subaru, and follows the Impreza Sport/G4’s win in 2016. Last year’s winner was the Toyota RAV4, while Volvo gatecrashed the usually domestic winner list in 2018–2019 and 2017–2018 with the XC40 and XC60 SUVs.

“It is a great honor that the Levorg has been recognised with this distinctive award. I would like to thank our customers and all other stakeholders for their continued support for Subaru. We will continue to enhance our efforts to offer an ‘enjoyment and peace of mind’ to all customers,” said Tomomi Nakamura, president and CEO of Subaru Corporation.

Unveiled in August, the new Levorg has been a long time coming – it was first previewed by the Viziv Tourer Concept back in 2018, followed by the Levorg Prototype in 2019 and then the Levorg Prototype STI Sport a year later. The final product is faithful to the 2019 and 2020 show cars.

Longer and more capacious than the original Levorg, the new wagon gets a fresh 1.8 litre turbocharged boxer engine with 177 PS and 300 Nm of torque from 1,600 to 3,600 rpm, with drive going to all wheels via a CVT. That’s 7 PS/50 Nm more than the previous 1.6T, but some way off the FA20’s 296 PS/400 Nm.

In Japan, the Levorg has six variants – GT, GT EX, GT-H, GT-H EX, STI Sport and STI Sport EX – and only STI Sport cars come with four steering-selectable drive modes, which are Comfort, Normal Sport, Sport+ and Individual. The other variants make do with Intelligent and Sport. STI Sport trim also bring 18-inch wheels to the sporty wagon.

The Levorg debuts Subaru’s upgraded EyeSight X suite, which adds semi-autonomous driving features like traffic jam assist, active speed control and active lane change assist. The camera-based tech still has core systems like pre-crash brake, unintentional acceleration suppression, active cruise control, lane departure warning, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive high beam and a driver monitoring system. There’s also a new pedestrian airbag that deploys at the base of the front windshield.

Up to December 6, Subaru has collected 12,594 orders for the Levorg, and is happy to report that 94% of customers have chosen variants equipped with EyeSight X.