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BBC Autos

Subaru’s Viziv of the future

About the author

Editor of BBC Autos, Matthew is a former editor at Automobile Magazine and the creator of the digital-only Roadtrip Magazine. His automotive and travel writing has appeared in such magazines as Wired, Popular Science, The Robb Report and Caribbean Travel + Life. He lives in Los Angeles with his wonderful wife and four-year-old daughter.

 

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Subaru’s new crossover concept may be a glimpse into the future of the Japanese all-wheel-drive merchant.

Strictly a design exercise, the Viziv Concept offers a glimpse at a possible styling direction for the brand’s beloved Outback wagon. The concept, whose name is derived – in keeping with the curiously forced argot of automakers – from the phrase “vision in innovation”, aims to strike a balance between “a solid-looking body and a condensed cabin”.

Whatever the motivation, the end result is quite handsome, and it is not difficult (or unpleasant) to imagine elements of the Viziv defining future Subarus. And what lies beneath the Viziv’s skin is equally noteworthy.

The concept naturally employs all-wheel drive, but unlike Subaru’s well-known symmetrical setup, which uses a propeller shaft and a differential to drive the rear wheels, the Viziv is fitted with a very different arrangement. Up front, a 2-litre Boxer diesel engine meets a continuously variable transmission and a single electric motor that boosts torque and, during braking, recharges the under-floor lithium-ion battery pack. At the rear, two electric motors, one at each wheel, operate independently, applying torque based on input from the car’s stability control system. The result, in theory at least, is improved performance on- and off-road, and notably better fuel economy.