Although it has a fun science-fictiony ring to it, the name “Levorg” is just Japanese-market-speak for WRX wagon. So if you squint and cover up the bodywork above the belt and behind the C-pillar, you’re pretty much looking at the next-generation Subaru WRX. Our current fourth-generation WRX arrived as a 2015 model, so its replacement is due any day, though an on-sale date was not provided during the Subaru Levorg Prototype’s unveiling at the Tokyo Motor Show 2019.

A long list of concept cars has led to this Levorg prototype, starting with the Subaru Viziv Performance Concept, which gave us our first glimpse of the next WRX at the last Tokyo show in 2017. It was followed closely by the Viziv Performance STI Concept shown in January 2018 at the Tokyo Auto Salon, previewing the WRX STI. And the Viziv Tourer Concept shown in Geneva in 2018 previewed the wagon-variant (Levorg). Indeed the sheet-metal surfacing on this new Levorg, which is scheduled to go on sale in Japan in the second half of 2020, looks pretty faithful to the Geneva concept. But don’t hold your breath for the return of a hatchback or wagon WRX to our shores.

Speaking of the design, it is described (by press-release writers who probably aren’t native English speakers) as embodying a “Dynamic x Solid” philosophy, while applying “the new design concept ‘BOLDER’ that highlights the value and character of each Subaru model.” The car envisions a future in which “everyone can enjoy driving at their fullest, at their will, in an era where autonomous driving technology is widely spreading.” And it aims to provide “comfort, safety, and enjoyment that makes them feel like time is flying.”

Technological advances applied to the Levorg toward these ends include a next-generation EyeSight system that includes stereo-vision cameras with wider viewing angles, enhanced 360-degree camera coverage, and four radar units—two in front, two in the rear—to improve the Levorg/WRX’s situational awareness. This enhanced gear is said to improve pre-collision braking performance, allowing it to better cover situations like crossing and turning at an intersection during low visibility.

A new, more precise vehicle-location system combines GPS data with information from the Michibiki Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (an array of four dedicated satellites developed by the Japanese government to improve accuracy of the U.S.-operated GPS system in the Asia-Oceania region). By overlaying this information on high-definition maps, its highway cruise control functionality is said to be enhanced.

The Levorg will also get a STARLINK-like suite of connected services, including automatic collision notification to summon emergency services and connect the car to an operator that can inquire about injuries (these are new for Subaru in Japan).

The Levorg rides on the Subaru Global Platform, which first appeared under the 2017 Subaru Impreza. It will be powered by a newly developed 1.8-liter lean-burn direct-injected turbocharged boxer-four engine. Here again, smart money is on the U.S. continuing to get larger 2.0- and 2.5-liter (WRX STI) engines. Expect the Levorg-inspired WRX to reach our shores for the 2021 model year or later.

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