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Concept previews Subaru hybrid. Image by Subaru.

Concept previews Subaru hybrid
Subaru's next-gen, hybrid-enabled, all-wheel drive system previewed in Viziv-2 concept car.
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What's the news?

Subaru could be about to wade into the compact crossover market with its Viziv-2 plug-in hybrid concept, but the interesting stuff is underneath where the technology used on this Geneva show car points toward a new generation of all-wheel drive for the company.


The 4.4-metre long Viziv-2 is a rugged-looking thing and reasonably attractive too, although the round LED fog lamp motifs front and rear take some getting used to. We do like the C-shaped headlights and the muscular flanks of the car, though, while the 'hexagonal' core shape of the body is also of interest. Robust bumpers and side cladding give the Viziv-2 a more off-roady feel, while the paint finish is called Magnetite Silver metallic.


Subaru interiors through the ages: discuss. If you're already off on a diatribe about cheap plastics and dials a decade out of date, the Viziv's cultured cabin should mollify you. Of course, it's about as likely to make it to production in this guise as you are of throwing a Polo mint to the Moon, but even so the clean centre console is worth noting. That's because it features EyeSight, Subaru's driver assistance system that is making its way into production cars as we speak. The other defining feature of the Viziv is its near full-length glass roof.


With the car's name coming from a contracted portmanteau of 'vision for innovation', it's appropriate that Subaru is showing off its new all-wheel drive system. Rather than a mechanical link between the axles, the Viziv-2 has a 1.6-litre direct injection turbo (DIT) boxer diesel engine and one electric motor up front, while the back wheels are powered by two independent motors. These can apportion torque to whichever wheel needs it most, depending on driving conditions, and the Viziv-2 of course uses torque vectoring to improve agility when required.

Obviously, as a plug-in hybrid, all the electrical gubbins is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack, while the conventional diesel engine up front is mated to Subaru's Lineartronic CVT automatic. The three electric motors run the car during low-speed or city driving, while the DIT engine takes over for higher speeds. This is said to improve the car's efficiency overall.

There are three methods of charging the battery pack - from the engine, through regenerative braking and via plug-in charging - while auto start-stop is included. Viziv-2 also features a new mode on the Subaru SI-Drive control system (this selects different profiles for the engine and transmission) called Eco-Cruise, which cleverly uses the EyeSight stereo camera to continuously assess travel conditions, fine-tuning the engine and motors' outputs to reduce fuel consumption and emissions.

Anything else?

The Viziv was shown at Geneva last year, where it was a more futuristic and less 'production-likely' vehicle than it is now. It's sure to be diluted down again if it goes on sale but we hope Subaru can keep its pleasingly chunky styling and decent interior intact should it ever hit the showroom.

Matt Robinson - 15 Mar 2014

2014 Subaru Viziv 2 concept. Image by Subaru.2014 Subaru Viziv 2 concept. Image by Subaru.2014 Subaru Viziv 2 concept. Image by Subaru.2014 Subaru Viziv 2 concept. Image by Subaru.2014 Subaru Viziv 2 concept. Image by Subaru.

2014 Subaru Viziv 2 concept. Image by Subaru.2014 Subaru Viziv 2 concept. Image by Subaru.2014 Subaru Viziv 2 concept. Image by Subaru.2014 Subaru Viziv 2 concept. Image by Subaru.2014 Subaru Viziv 2 concept. Image by Subaru.    - Subaru road tests
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