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Subaru Crosstrek power bump coming?

Crosstrek’s carryover engines could make way for new powertrains, boosted hybrid

19 May 2023

SUBARU’s “all-new” Crosstrek small SUV has a number of components and elements familiar to its XV predecessor that mean it feels less than “all-new” on the road, and the most notable examples are found under the bonnet – but this could soon change.


The new-generation compact crossover retains the same petrol and petrol-electric hybrid options as the second XV iteration it replaces, despite a number of new technology items and safety gear being added to the smallest Subaru SUV.


Those powertrains are the petrol 2.0-litre four-cylinder ‘boxer’ engine producing 115kW and 196Nm, and the hybrid version that pairs a 2.0-litre engine (110kW/196Nm) to a 12.6kW/66Nm electric motor and battery pack. 


In other markets, however, the Crosstrek gets a more powerful engine. In North America the 2.5-litre engine offered in the Forester and Outback – with 129kW and 235Nm – is offered in certain trim grades of the Crosstrek.


Subaru Australia managing director Blair Read said that the brand is keeping an open dialogue with head office about potential improvements to powertrain offerings for the Crosstrek in Australia.


“We’re always open to different product offerings that are available from Subaru Corporation,” he said. “There is a 2.5-litre Crosstrek available globally and whilst it is not available for our market at this stage, it is something we’re interested in.”


Mr Read said that while the Outback has just received the 2.4-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder option (offered standard in the WRX), that mill is not on the cards for the Crosstrek at this point in time.


“A turbocharged Crosstrek isn’t available globally, so that’s not on the cards for the Australian market,” he said.


So, is it that the Aussie Crosstrek customer will have to make do with what is currently on offer, until something gruntier comes along?


That seems to be the case, but Mr Read suggested that there could actually be a bigger enhancement on its way for the hybrid version of the Crosstrek.


“Of course we already offer hybrid within the Crosstrek range and we are seeing strong demand for it. Subaru Corporation has confirmed that an evolution of hybrid is coming with strong hybrids from the mid-2020s, but in terms of what vehicles and when they may be available for the Australian market, you’ll have to stay tuned as I’m not able to share information with you today,” he said.


Perhaps a mid-life, mid-decade update for the Crosstrek will bring with it some improved hybrid power.


Subaru is working closely with Toyota for a range of product lines, which could mean that buyers will see that Japanese brand’s petrol-electric hybrid technology filter through to the Subaru range in the coming years.


In Australia, Toyota has a stranglehold on the hybrid market and offers a range of options across its model lines, from the 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol-electric powertrain offered in the Yaris and Yaris Cross (with front- or all-wheel drive), through the 1.8-litre four-cylinder hybrid in the Corolla and C-HR (2WD only), 2.0-litre four in Corolla Cross (FWD or AWD), and 2.5-litre petrol-electric option in the Camry (FWD), RAV4 (2WD/AWD) and Kluger (AWD).


A likely outcome of this collaboration would combine the high-voltage electric components of Toyota’s proven Hybrid Synergy Drive system with Subaru’s iconic flat-four petrol engines in a similar way to the first-generation Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 sports coupes added Toyota D4-S direct injection tech to Subaru’s FA20 boxer powerplant.


Toyota Australia’s vehicles accounted for nine in every 10 hybrid sales in 2022, with more than 315,000 hybrid vehicles sold locally over the past 20 years.


Subaru Australia continues to offer hybrid technology in the new Crosstrek, as well as the Forester medium SUV.

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