Subaru is considered somewhat of a laggard in developing green vehicles. Despite introducing concepts like the Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept (SATC) at various auto shows, and winning the 2012 LA Auto Show‘s Design Challenge with its fuel cell-powered police vehicle, the automaker has yet to bring a hybrid, electric, or alternative powered vehicle to the masses. Its vehicles are also suffering among car aficionados who find its current designs dull compared to the competitions’ numerous offerings.
Subaru may be looking to change at least one of these views at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. The Subaru Viziv Concept is a crossover that supposedly exemplifies, according to Subaru, many elements of its future design direction as well as upcoming technologies. The very name itself — “Viziv” – stands for “Vision for Innovation”.
The Viziv concept sports a prominent grill and flat fascia similar to many modern vehicle designs today. Headlamps frame the grill, almost surrounding it, which we found intriguing and hope make it into any production vehicles. At the same time, Subaru states it wants to keep the Viziv character lines clean and simple. The Viviz side panels are smooth and feature free with side sills indented just enough to give the concept a lean, yet muscular, look. A long character line sweeps back from top of the front wheel wells to meld nicely with the taillights, giving the appearance the Viziv is moving even when still. (By the way, those wheel wells are massive.)
Powering the Subaru Viziv concept is, of course, a plug-in hybrid engine. The Viziv uses one of Subaru’s characteristic flat four-cylinder engines though fueled by diesel instead of gasoline. It’s the electric motors that are intriguing. Yes, motors. Unlike standard hybrids, which use one electric motor, the Viziv concept sports three.
One is attached to the 2.0-liter engine and provides power to turn the wheels and recharge the batteries. The other are placed with the rear tires, with one motor for each tire. The rear motors can work independently of each other, providing extra power, for example, in one or both tires when the Viziv is executing maneuvers such as turning at high speeds. The wheels move at different speeds in such situations, and the Viziv’s rear motors configuration help the drivetrain handle it effortlessly.
The Viziv’s powertrain is married to a continuously variable transmission. Drivers can select to travel in “eco-cruise” mode. Both improve fuel economy, though Subaru has not released such figures yet. It is a concept, after all. The automaker also hasn’t indicated if it plans to bring the Viziv concept to production. Thus it joins SATC and other concepts as just that: concepts. The automaker has provided a website for its Viziv concept to update the press and fans on the crossover’s development. Here’s hoping management notes enough interest to bring the Viziv into reality.