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AIMS: Subaru confirms XV for show

On-stage: The Subaru XV Concept will appear at the Australian International Motor Show (AIMS) in July.

XV Concept set to be joined by other Subaru stars at Melbourne motor show

6 Jun 2011

SUBARU’S new-generation compact SUV, the XV, will be one of at least two headline acts – maybe more – from the importer at the 2011 Australian International Motor Show opening in Melbourne on July 1.

Subaru Australia is awaiting confirmation from head office in Japan on other models to make their Australian debut at the show, with the new Impreza expected to be top of the list, fresh from the New York motor show in April.

The XV – built on the new fourth-generation Impreza platform and expected to go into production late this year – will be shown in the same concept form that was unveiled at Auto Shanghai 2011 in April, with the Melbourne show becoming only the second event to host the crossover model.

The all-wheel-drive XV is likely to follow the Impreza onto the Australian market, with the Impreza sedan and hatch tipped to arrive Down Under about October, with the XV expected either late in the year or in the first half of 2012.

The XV replaces the current Impreza XV, dropping the Impreza tag to create a standalone brand, in the same way that Outback is separated from the Liberty on which it is based.

2 center imageThe XV will sit below the Forester to create a two-pronged Subaru assault on the compact SUV segment, going head to head with the likes of the Mitsubishi ASX, Nissan Dualis and Hyundai ix35.

However, unlike its rivals, the XV reportedly will not have a front-wheel-drive alternative, instead employing Subaru’s trademark symmetrical all-wheel drive on all variants.

In the UK, where the Subaru importer has confirmed a January launch for the XV, the small crossover vehicle will come with a choice of 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre boxer petrol engines, as well as a 2.0-litre boxer diesel.

Transmissions are likely to include a five- or six-speed manual and an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT), possibly the new-generation unit earmarked for the Impreza.

Subaru Australia Nick Senior managing director said the XV promises to be “a totally new offering” and his company would seek feedback from show-goers in Melbourne to gauge the level of possible customer interest.

“The XV Concept was warmly received in Shanghai and, based on the long-term success of Forester and Outback, we can see this type of vehicle could have huge potential in pursuing a new niche in Australia.

“XV Concept is fashionable, practical and underpinned by new-generation Subaru technology, and we’re hopeful there will be a lot of interest.”

The current Impreza XV hatch was launched a year ago in Australia, with Subaru Australia chasing a younger clientele for the sporty version of the Impreza, with its high-rider stance and off-road-style black mudguard extensions.

It is available only with the 2.0-litre 110kW/196Nm petrol engine, with choice of five-speed manual gearbox or four-speed automatic.

This year, the run-out Impreza has managed an 8.9 per cent increase in sales, despite a huge 56.9 per cent plunge in May registrations due to lack of stock in the wake of the Japanese production disruption following the March earthquake.

The Australian International Motor Show runs from July 1 to July 10 at the Melbourne Exhibition and Conventional Centre.

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