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Friday, October 2, 2009

First Look: Subaru Hybrid Tourer Concept

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Subaru's First Hybrid Drivetrain Powers Tokyo Show Concept Star
September 29, 2009 / By Scott Evans

If there's one automaker that refuses to mess with success, it's Subaru. The quirky Japanese company has stuck to its boxer engines and standard AWD for decades and has carved out a nice niche for itself. As the realities of the 21st century sink in, though, even Subaru must adapt. The Subaru Hybrid Tourer Concept represents the first step.

Though it may appear like an over-stylized, Japanese market Legacy Wagon on the outside, it's what's underneath that counts -- Subaru's first hybrid drivetrain, which combines a pair of electric motors and a lithium-ion battery with the tried-and-true Symmetrical AWD and boxer engine. The pair of electric motors -- one mounted at each axle -- can propel the car at low speeds or assist in acceleration as well as act as generators to recapture braking energy.

Primary power will come from a 2.0L horizontally-opposed, turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder engine. Likely a variant of the EJ20, it is the automaker's first direct-injected engine and is said to offer improved fuel efficiency and performance and lower emissions compared with its port-injected counterparts. It is also the first application of Subaru's start/stop technology, which shuts down the engine when the vehicle is stationary. The engine sends power to all four wheels via Subaru's new Lineartronic CVT.

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