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Subaru confirms plug-in hybrid in US

Electric first: The American version of Subaru’s XV – the Crosstrek – is getting a plug-in hybrid powertrain, meaning the Australian version is almost certain to follow suit next year.

XV set to follow America’s Subaru Crosstrek up the plug-in hybrid road

Subaru logo17 May 2018

SUBARU’S hot-selling XV small SUV appears set to become the Japanese marque’s first model to carry an electrified powertrain in Australia.
 
Subaru’s United States sister company, Subaru of America, has confirmed that its version of the XV – called Crosstrek – will get a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) powertrain for the 2019 model year.
 
The company said the powertrain of the Crosstrek Hybrid would be unique, combining Subaru’s trademark flat-four direct-injected boxer engine with Toyota’s PHEV system and driving all four wheels via an all-new transmission.
 
It said the vehicle would combine the off-road capability of the petrol-powered Crosstrek with hybrid efficiency.
 
No power, torque or fuel consumption figures were given for the Crosstrek Hybrid, but the company confirmed it would go on sale in US dealerships late this year as a 2019 model.
 
Australian consumers might have to wait up to a year for the same variant in the XV range, as logic says the powertrain shift is most likely to be made when the XV – which was launched in Australia almost a year ago – gets its first update, probably around the end of next year.
 
Subaru Australia national corporate affairs manager David Rowley told GoAuto that there were no immediate plans for a plug-in hybrid powertrain in XV in Australia.
 
He said the company was interested in the technology, but had no definite timeline for its introduction.
 
Subaru Australia managing director Colin Christie hinted at the New York motor show in March that the XV and its larger sibling, the Forester, were likely to get hybrid powertrains at some point.
 
Now that Subaru has outed the PHEV powertrain in the Crosstrek in America, it seems likely that XV will be first hybrid cab off the rank for Subaru in Australia too.
 
In the US, Subaru previously offered a petrol-electric mild hybrid powertrain in the Crosstrek, but that version was never offered in Australia.
 
The introduction of petrol-electric PHEV powertrains in Australia makes sense, as Subaru is phasing out diesel.
 
The all-new Forester, which is set to go on sale here this year, will drop the 2.0D diesel engine, and launch only with the 2.5-litre normally aspirated boxer petrol engine.
 
Like the XV and Impreza small car, the new fifth-generation Forester is built on Subaru’s new Subaru Global Platform that, when it was announced, was confirmed as being capable of carrying a full suite of electrified powertrains, including PHEV and fully electric.
 
The Toyota hybrid drive system mooted for the Crosstrek/XV might be transplanted from the PHEV Toyota Prius Prime that can cover 40km on battery power and average 5.2 litres per 100km on petrol power.
 
In Australia, the Subaru XV is going gangbusters in the showroom, with sales up 106 per cent on the same period of last year.
 
XV’s 4708 sales to the end of April makes it the third-best-selling small SUV behind the Mitsubishi ASX (5817) and Mazda CX-3 (5672).
 
It is now the top-selling Subaru model, overtaking the Outback, Impreza and Forester this year.

 


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