WRX Concept hints at production model expected next year

WRX Concept hints at production model expected next year.

Subaru Unveils First Hybrid, WRX Concept

The XV Crosstrek Hybrid is estimated to achieve 28/34 mpg city/highway, vs. the 25/33 mpg maximum in the gas-engine model on which it is based.

Subaru details its first-ever production hybrid, the XV Crosstrek Hybrid, and reveals the much-anticipated WRX Concept, today at the 2013 New York International Auto Show.

Due in the third quarter of this year, the ’14 hybrid is based on the gas-engine-only XV Crosstrek.

Powering the hybrid is Subaru technology, including parent Fuji Heavy Industries’ 148-hp 2.0L 4-cyl. Boxer engine, with reduced friction for a hybrid application, and a 13.4-hp electric motor mated to a continuously variable transmission.

Battery power comes from a 100V, 13.5-kW nickel-metal-hydride pack placed beneath a reconfigured rear floor.

Subaru pegs the weight of the hybrid system at 209 lbs. (95 kg), and says the XV Crosstrek Hybrid is about 300 lbs. (136 kg) heavier than the gas-engine-only XV.

The electric motor powers the XV under initial acceleration, starts the gas engine thereafter and is drawn on for additional power during acceleration.

The XV Crosstrek Hybrid can run in EV mode “in certain low-speed situations,” Subaru says.

As with most U.S.-market hybrids, the XV has regenerative braking and stop/start technology.

Subaru estimates the hybrid will achieve 28/34 mpg (8.4/6.9 L/100 km) city/highway, compared with the maximum 25/33 mpg (9.4/7.1 L/100 km) in the non-hybrid XV.

The hybrid CUV uses the same symmetrical all-wheel-drive system as the conventional XV, and it shares many of the same dimensions, such as 8.7 ins. (22 cm) of ground clearance, Subaru says.

Changes include more sound insulation than the conventional XV, a different gauge cluster and a reworked heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system, the latter with temperature and humidity sensors that reduce engine draw.

To improve aerodynamics, an active-grille shutter will be on North American versions of the XV Crosstrek Hybrid, and the vehicle’s aluminum-alloy wheels snag a special aero design.

Passenger room for the hybrid is almost unchanged from that of the gas-engine-only XV, but cargo volume is slightly lower.

A retuned suspension should sharpen the XV’s handling response, Subaru says.

An exclusive Plasma Green Pearl color, and hybrid badges on the front doors and tailgate, will distinguish the hybrid’s exterior from that of the non-hybrid XV.

Also unwrapped in New York is a concept of Subaru’s WRX turbocharged sport sedan, which hints at the next-generation production model widely expected next year.

Subaru claims the concept’s handling and steering is sharper, and the chassis more “communicative” than that of the current third-generation WRX, which enjoys a cult-like following and debuted at the 2007 New York auto show.

The WRX Concept is “considerably” lower, sleeker and wider than previous WRXs, with a bigger, bolder grille, Subaru says. The car’s signature hood scoop remains on the concept.

A hexagonal grille and deep lower valances with air intakes help cool a new engine, which Subaru doesn’t detail but is expected to be the turbocharged 250-hp 2.0L 4-cyl. FB boxer in the Subaru Forester XT.

Large quad tailpipes and flared wheel arches are two exterior design features of the WRX concept, as is a new “WR Blue Pearl III” paint.

Fluorescent yellow paint accents the WRX grille badge, brake calipers and exhaust-tip finishers.

WardsAuto data shows WRX sales rose a whopping 447.8% last year, to 13,624 units.

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