Subie looks ahead to the future with new SUV concept

The Subaru Viziv Concept turned a lot of heads at the Geneva Motor Show when it first debuted and like a company that knows it has a good thing on its hands, Subaru is coming back to the scene of the show-stopping crime to present a worthy — we hope — sequel to the Viziv Concept. The new concept is smartly named the Viziv 2 Concept, and its a pretty clear indication by now that Subaru isn’t just toying with us with these prototypes. The company has plans for these concepts, and we’re probably going to get our first look at a new crossover that will become a stalwart in the Subaru lineup.

  • 2014 Subaru VIZIV-2 Concept
  • Year:
    2014
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Displacement:
    1.6 L
  • 0-60 time:
    8 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

Stylish concepts have never been Subaru’s forte, so it was shell-shocking, to say the least, that Subie brought the VIZIV Concept to the 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show, and then followed that up with the VIZIV Evolution at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. In a span of a few months, we were given two samples of Subaru’s SUV future. To say that both concepts were interesting would be an understatement. Both looked awesome and, in keeping with concept-style designs, both would never make it to production.

The Subaru VIZIV-2 Concept, on the other hand, is a different story altogether. Of the three VIZIV concepts, the VIZIV-2 is arguably the most conventional-looking. That’s a good thing because if this concept ever makes it to production, we can take comfort knowing that it’s evolution from concept model to production model is taking on an impressive path.

Unlike the VIZIV and VIZIV Adventure Concepts, the VIZIV-2 doesn’t look like an oversized coupé wearing oversized tires. It has a more squared-off, upright profile that looks more production-ready than overblown concept. The front section comes with Hawkeye LED lamps that wouldn’t be out of place among Subie’s current lineup. The front grille looks normal, too, far removed from the overstylized grilles that its two predecessors carried. Those grilles were designed to grab attention. This grille was designed to blend the other design details that make up this particular area of the concept. There’s even a hint of the 2015 Legacy in it. Since the new Legacy is carrying Subie’s new design language, it’s possible that if the VIZIV-2 ever made it to production, it could look like this.

It’s the same story in the side and rear section of the concept. There’s a nice shoulder line that rises from the front fenders to the taillamps. That line is character-enhancing, especially when you combine it with the curved body line just below it. Visually, the lines help provide aesthetic layers to the concept. Meanwhile, the rear section is decidedly Subaru in its makeup and layout. The wide-set taillights and the quad exhaust outlets, for instance, evoke images of the current-generation WRX five-door. About the only things that stand out on this end - it’s the same in the front section - are the pair of round lights sitting on the concept’s two bumpers. They don’t ruin the look of the concept, but they look out-of-place, nonetheless.

The Subaru VIZIV-2 looks like a harmless concept when it’s sitting pretty with the doors closed. But since this is the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, Subie didn’t go here with a few surprise wrinkles in the concept. The wrinkles, in this case, are the doors. The two front doors open like butterfly doors. That’s a good hook, but not compared to the pair of trick body panels that can be lifted and slid from the rear fenders. Yes, this three-door concept is actually a five-door concept. Very tricky, Subaru. Very tricky, indeed.

Length 4,435 MM (174.60 inches)
Width 1,920 MM (75.59 inches)
Height 1,530 MM (60.23 inches)
Wheelbase 2,730 MM (107.48 inches)

Interior

If you’re judging the Subaru VIZIV-2 Concept based on its interior layout, you wouldn’t think of as a crossover or even an SUV. Maybe that’s part of Subaru’s trick; it wants you think with concert is one thing when, in the end, it turns out to be something completely different. This concept, for example, comes with a 2+2 seating layout by virtue of the center tunnel that stretches all the way to the back. It’s a nice premium touch that suggests that Subie could be ready to make that leap into the world of well-dressed cabins, but unless there’s a premium Subaru in the company’s future, it’s unlikely that you’re going to see a layout like this in any of the company’s upcoming models.

Overall, it’s also not as over-the-top as the interior of the two VIZIV Concepts that preceded it. The dashboard looks production-ready, though it’s unlikely that we’ll get to see the carbon fiber bits in one should Subaru develop it. The center console is clean, too. There’s a noticeable lack of buttons, switches, dials, and buttons, which could suggest that, apart from the temperature controls, all of the crossover’s functions can be accessed by the infotainment display located in the middle of the stack. A smaller display sits on top of it, and based on the press photos, this display is in charge of showing the crossover’s battery life and other important navigation features.

They’re hard to notice for the most part, but I do appreciate a good-looking set of pedals when I see one. The VIZIV-2 Concept comes with cast-aluminum pedals. They’re not only pretty to look at but did you notice the (+) and (-) signs on them? Solid work on those pedals, Subie.

There are no details on cargo space, but the concept should have enough room for a decent amount of storage. Photos also reveal a separator that can be pulled out and locked into place to create a two-tier storage area. It’s good to know that even if the VIZIV-2 is a concept, Subaru’s doing a good job throwing in a few production bits to see how it translates relative to the overall package.

Could this be a sign that the Subaru VIZIV-2 Concept is actually closer to production than we think? Only time will tell.

Drivetrain

The Subaru VIZIV-2 Concept is powered by a hybrid system. No surprises there considering that it’s two predecessors, the VIZIV and the VIZIV Evolution, also featured hybrid powertrains. In fact, the VIZIV-2 Concept is powered by the same 1.6-liter horizontally opposed direct injection turbo “DIT” engine as the VIZIV Evolution. For the record, the original VIZIV Concept featured Subie’s bigger 2.0-liter four-cylinder boxer turbocharged diesel engine. Three permanent magnet synchronous motors join the smaller turbo unit in the VIZIV-2. One motor is located in front whereas the other two motors are located in the back. The concept SUV also features a lithium-ion battery.

Unfortunately, Subaru doesn’t say how much power this hybrid system generates. It didn’t disclose the output figures of the VIZIV Evolution’s own hybrid setup so there’s no comparison to be used here. What we do know is that the powertrain is connected to a high-torque-compatible Lineartronic CVT transmission that distributes power to all four wheels of the concept.

Engine Type 1.6-litre Horizontally-Opposed direct injection turbo "DIT" engine
Transmission Type High-torque-compatible Lineartronic (CVT)
Electric Motor Type Interior Permanent magnet synchronous motor; Front: 1 motor; Rear: 2 motors
Battery Type Lithium-ion batteries
AWD System Independent-rear-motor-driven symmetrical AWD

When Can I Drive One?

For now, the answer is probably “to be decided,” but based on how the VIZIV-2 Concept looks, it’s probably more production-ready than we think it is. Remember, the current-generation Subaru Crosstrek is due to be replaced soon, as is the entire line of Subaru Imprezas. The current-gen model has been around since 2011 so, at the very least, a major update could be in the works. Even if it’s unlikely, don’t lose hope that, perhaps, the VIZIV-2 Concept, or at least parts of it, will influence the next-generation Crosstrek. As for the concept getting a direct production version is concerned, that’s unlikely to happen. Subaru would’ve done it already if it had thoughts of doing it. Your best bet is the next-generation Subaru Crosstrek, that much I’m sure of.

Conclusion

Personally, I’m not a fan of an automaker turning a concept into a family of concepts without a production version to show for it. I don’t know if that’s the path Subaru is taking here, but if it is, I’ll let myself off the bandwagon. Besides, Ssangyong already owns that strategy. That said, in a vacuum, I’m impressed with the VIZIV-2 Concept. You can tell that Subaru spent a good amount of time working on a toned-down version of the VIZIV and VIZIV Evolution Concepts. The VIZIV 2 isn’t a production-ready concept, but you wouldn’t think of it that way if you look at it without knowing what it’s about, or without opening the doors. Those doors are the giveaway. Oversell, it’s an impressive concept that may or may not point to the future of the Subaru Crosstrek. Whether that future ends up happening is a different question in itself, but if did, I’m not opposed to the next-gen Crosstrek taking a lot of the styling cues from the VIZIV-2 Concept.

  • Leave it
    • Is this the last VIZIV concept before the production model shows up?
    • Lack of powertrain info is disappointing
    • I could see myself hating those doors

Press Release

Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (FHI), the manufacturer of Subaru automobiles, unveiled the "SUBARU VIZIV 2 CONCEPT" today at the 2014 Geneva International Motor Show.

2014 Subaru VIZIV-2 Concept Exterior AutoShow
- image 544534

"SUBARU VIZIV 2 CONCEPT" (VIZIV 2) is a future-generation crossover concept that represents the direction of Subaru’s brand value "Enjoyment and Peace of Mind" following the "SUBARU VIZIV CONCEPT" (VIZIV) revealed at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show and "SUBARU VIZIV EVOLUTION CONCEPT" exhibited at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show. "VIZIV" is a coined word inspired by the phrase "Vision for Innovation" to express Subaru’s future vision of innovation and the future direction of the brand. By using the word continuously, Subaru expresses to pursue "Enjoyment and Peace of Mind" as an essential value offered for customers.
The special site on the Subaru Global Site (http://www.subaru-global.com/2014geneva.html) will be updated with information relating to the Geneva International Motor Show. This will include images of the VIZIV 2 as well as a movie of Subaru’s press conference.

Main features

2014 Subaru VIZIV-2 Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 544533

A future-generation crossover concept achieves integration of apparently-opposing elements such as "environmental friendliness and driving performance" or "design and utility" at a high level. It offers the brand value "Enjoyment and Peace of Mind" on all road surface conditions, driving environments and usage.
Compared to the VIZIV’s 2-door body, VIZIV 2 employs 4-door body which achieves both utility and sporty cabin. The stylish body was also given a packaging design enabling four adults to ride comfortably even on long road trips.
While emphasizing "dynamism" and "solidity", the design shares motifs with other Subaru models.
Its hybrid system employs a small displacement turbocharged engine which is popular in many markets. Automated driving technologies are also adopted as important technologies to offer the brand value "Enjoyment and Peace of Mind".

Design

2014 Subaru VIZIV-2 Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 544532

< Exterior >

The solid body represents polished surfaces, rigidity and density, in turn an expression of Subaru’s safety and security.
Representative of the powerful, dynamic motif, the sides pose in a dynamic stance, coupled with strong fenders which flare out as if gushing out from the interior.
Beginning with the hexagonal grille, the front represents the solid feel of the design. Together with headlights which evoke images of the BOXER engine within, large circular lights serve to emphasize the image of an active crossover.
The core hexagonal shape of the body is repeated again in the rear. The rear combination lamps make the rear feel wider, and the strong fenders impress a sense of stability in their stance.

< Interior >

The rugged body framework has been incorporated as part of the design, creating an interior which inspires a dynamic, enjoyable driving experience.

Technologies

2014 Subaru VIZIV-2 Concept Interior
- image 544538

It is a plug-in hybrid system that consists of the 1.6-liter Horizontally-Opposed direct injection turbo "DIT" engine, combined with high-torque-compatible Lineartronic (CVT) with one front motor and two rear motors. The components for the hybrid system such as a high voltage battery are installed while maintaining the Subaru’s unique Symmetrical AWD (All-Wheel drive) layout. The layout delivers superb driveability based on its low center of gravity and superior weight balance.
"Independent-rear-motor-driven symmetrical AWD" system which is leading the way to a future generation of Subaru AWD technology has been adopted for the VIZIV 2. Subaru is constantly refining its unique AWD systems according to the development philosophy "Four-wheel management". "Independent-rear-motor-driven symmetrical AWD" system provides fine-tuned control of the four wheels to match the travel environment and road surface conditions.
Subaru will illustrate its goal for the future of safety technology with the adoption of an innovative autopilot system.

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