The brand that helped launch the crossover-utility explosion is hoping to gain even more momentum with the Geneva Motor Show debut of the next-generation Subaru XV.
The new model doesn’t stray far from last year’s XV Concept – and it will reappear in near identical form at the upcoming New York International Auto Show, albeit wearing the Subaru Crosstrek badge.
The 2018 Subaru XV-cum-Crosstrek rides on an entirely new platform, but what will likely appeal most to buyers around the world are the improvements to both cabin refinement, as well as the range of new comfort and safety equipment promised by Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, the President and CEO of what is being renamed Subaru Corporation.
“Our goal is to be number one in safety,” said Yoshinaga, who stage managed the introduction of the new XV during a Geneva Motor Show news conference.
The new XV will offer an updated version of the increasingly popular Subaru Eyesight system which uses twin cameras mounted astride the rearview mirror to operate such technologies as forward collision warning and lane departure warnings.
(Live from Geneva! For complete coverage of the 2017 auto show, Click Here.)
The technology on the new XV and Crosstrek will also include an updated infotainment system wrapped around an 8-inch touchscreen. It will feature smartphone connectivity, though Subaru officials didn’t reveal whether the U.S. version also will get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities. That detail is likely to come out in the New York reveal.
There was little option to check out the interior package, though Subaru sources told TheDetroitBureau.com that the new crossover will be the brand’s next model to receive a much-needed upgrade to its interior. Other recent launches, like the Legacy and Outback, have moved away from the functional but lower-grade plastics that long have been a source of complaint about Subaru products. New seats will add to the upgrade.
The XV platform itself is completely new and said to be stiffer, with a lower center of gravity to improve handling. The suspension has also been upgraded.
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The new model will continue to be powered by Subaru’s familiar Boxer engines. In Europe, that means a 2.0-lit flat-four making 154 hp paired with either a CVT or a 7-speed manual gearbox. The Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system will be standard, and the XV will now use torque vectoring to help it corner more agilely.
While not a hardened SUV, the new Subaru XV should be more than adept at handling deep snow and at least some rough trails, with nearly 9 inches of ground clearance.
The Crosstrek is one of the newer entries into the Subaru line-up. Along with the Outback and Forrester, the three now account for about 70% of the automaker’s global sales.
“The XV has been a great success,” said Yoshinaga, adding that it is the brand’s third best-seller in the U.S. as the Subaru Crosstrek.
Subaru has ridden that success well, the maker topping the 1 million sales mark for the first time last year, and looking for a repeat in 2017.
It helps that utility vehicles are the hottest thing on the market in the U.S., Subaru’s biggest source of sales, and gaining traction in Europe and other markets.
But the maker isn’t walking away from other niches, and word has it the brand is readying a new sports car that will pair a turbocharged 1.6-liter flat-four with twin electric motors. The approach would create a through-the-road all-wheel-drive system, the electrified half of the drivetrain providing torque to the front axle, the gas engine to the rear.
Subaru has been slow to go electric but could use a version of that new driveline for the XV and other, more mainstream models in the next few years.
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