Subaru has announced a hybrid version of the excellent Crosstrek, known in Europe as the XV – and that means the XV is surely in line for the same.
The car is Subaru’s first plug-in hybrid but the electricals aren’t of the Japanese minnow’s own design. To save on what would be horrendous development costs, Subaru has simply borrowed the battery, motor and ancillaries from Toyota. It’s not the first time Toyota has taken the decision to help its tiny rivals, with Mazda also benefiting hugely from the big dog’s budget and production muscle.
While the Crosstrek has previously been built as a ‘closed’ hybrid (that’s the self-charging kind), this is the first concrete evidence of where former rally hero Subaru is headed. This time, the car can be driven on electric power alone for extended periods and you’ll need to plug it in to recharge.
Interestingly, the Subaru maintains the Boxer four-cylinder petrol engine, with Toyota’s cleverly-designed system more or less able to bolt on and go. This unit’s power in Toyota’s own applications reaches around 120bhp. Subaru may choose to do better than that.
The Crosstrek Hybrid, on sale towards the end of this year, will get a few styling tweaks to mark it out from the normal one but don’t expect much more than a new grille, different wheels and maybe a few badges.
We expect a plug-in XV to follow in early 2019, but however likely it surely is, it looks like a European decision hasn’t been taken just yet. A spokesman said:
“The hybrid engine is planned for the US market only. It hasn’t been confirmed for the European market as of yet.”