Subaru unveiled its hybrid crossover concept at the Geneva Motor Show, which also provided a glimpse at the brand’s future styling and a future production hybrid. Named the Subaru Viziv, for “Vision for Innovation,” advances the company’s design language and presents a new diesel-hybrid powertrain.
On the outside, the Viziv looks like Subaru’s version of the Range Rover Evoque. It’s a two-door with a roofline that terminates into a spoiler and leads to a steeply raked rear window. Bracket-shaped headlights on either side of the prominent front grille are reprised as skinny taillights on the liftgate. A scalloped edge and a prominent character crease define the doors. There is but a single main window for both rows of seats, with a small quarter-window behind the door.
The cabin, too, has a decidedly futuristic look that begins with a two-tone color scheme and blue nightclub lighting, but it’s still fairly for a concept car. The binnacle gauges are a nice alternative to the amorphous digital gauge screens that are popping up in a lot of production cars. Since the Viziv lacks a rear prop shaft, it also has a flat floor. Subaru says that, despite the rakish bodywork, four adults can sit comfortably inside.
The Viziv concept uses a new powertrain called Subaru Boxer Diesel Hybrid, which consists of a 2.0-litre turbodiesel flat-four engine, a lithium-ion battery pack, and three electric motors. One electric motor is connected to the engine and continuously variable transmission, while the other two drive the rear wheels to provide Subaru’s signature all-wheel drive. Like most hybrids, the electric motors helps power the Viziv at low speeds; the diesel takes over for highway cruising. The rear motors can also be used for torque vectoring, which sends power to the outside wheel during cornering, improving handling. If it went into production, this would be Subaru’s first hybrid powertrain.
“This is our future-generation crossover concept,” Fuji Heavy Industries president Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said in a speech at the Geneva show. “It embodies our vision of Subaru’s future.” In other words, expect to see toned-down versions of this styling and technology implemented in future production cars.
Subaru’s choice of a diesel engine would make a production car an outlier. Most manufacturers have shied away from diesel hybrids because of the added cost of a diesel engine, and difficulties in synchronizing power delivery. Diesels aren’t very effective at high revs, when internal combustion is supposed to take over in a hybrid.