Subaru NZ starting hybrid drive

Something new in something soon to be old … that’s the recipe for an enticing Subaru hybrid car display in Wellington.
Friday April 21, 2017

By Richard Bosselman

HYBRID technology that Subaru is set to debut in a popular crossover coming soon will be displayed in an older setting in Wellington next weekend.

Having signalled that its first hybrid vehicle for NZ will be among the highlights of MTA100, a car show at TSB Arena that celebrates 2017 being the Motor Trade Association’s centennial year, Subaru New Zealand has gone on to clarify the Subaru XV toting the drivetrain is not quite as it seems.

The actual candidate for a hybrid drivetrain here will be a derivative of the next-generation XV, pictured here, which Subaru revealed in March and is coming here in June. 

Though the regular petrol versions are on sale in Japan now, the special ohm-driven version is not yet in production.

The car on display in Wellington is that car’s predecessor, which has been available in Japan since 2015 but has never been okayed for export.

This first generation derivative is based on the current XV that is now in run-out here. Subaru Japan also developed a version of the old-gen Impreza with the same running gear.

Subaru NZ received permission from Subaru Japan to bring a single domestic spec example of the gen 1 XV hybrid here as an evaluation training vehicle.

It wants New Zealand technicians to be up to speed with the nuances of the hybrid drivetrain before the new gen derivative comes.

Although Subaru has cited June entry for the new-generation XV it is mainstream petrol-engined formats, it cannot say when the hybrid will be added.

Managing director Wallis Dumper says that’s because even though Subaru sales are riding high, production allocation out of Japan remain a struggle.

“So no dates can be confirmed for when the XV Hybrid will be included in the model line-up in New Zealand.

“However, receiving this XV Hybrid for training and evaluation is a great start.”

Subaru’s display is in The Future Today: Vehicle Technology and Design section, where the very latest vehicles, concept models, new and innovative technologies will be on show.

In addition to the hybrid, Subaru has a cut-away vehicle, which displays all the technologies included in Subaru’s all new Subaru Global Platform that underpins the latest Impreza sedan, the next XV and, ultimately, the new-gen Legacy and Outback which are still up to three years away from NZ entry.

The Hybrids’ styling barely differentiate from the regular Impreza and XV models they are based on, save for adopting sportier front and rear bumpers, special side-sill extensions, a roof spoiler and LED taillights.

The Japan market XV (and Impreza) pairs a 110kW 2.0-litre petrol engine with a 10kW electric motor incorporated with the specially designed version of the Lineartronic constantly variable transmission that is already becoming increasingly popular with Kiwis.

When Subaru Japan initially announced the hybrid push, Dumper told MotoringNetwork says that interest should not be construed as admission extra work on improving the economy of current product was required.

Customers no longer held the perception that Subaru’s petrol boxer engines are unduly thirsty, he said then.

Subaru is also now working on a plug-in hybrid, likely to be launched in Japan next year, intends to add cylinder deactivation and lean combustion cycles by 2020.

The hybrid tech on display in Wellington already provides the brand with a level of thrift not seen from the make since the now-discontinued period when it built microcars, with Subaru citing 4.9 litres per 100km economy.