Geneva 2013: Subaru Viziv concept brings a diesel hybrid powertrain and all-wheel drive to the party

Subaru Viziv concept front three quarterSubaru unveiled its hybrid crossover concept at the Geneva Motor Show, and it should provide a glimpse at the brand’s future styling and a future production hybrid. It’s called Viziv, which sounds like the name of an obscure app but actually stands for “Vision for Innovation.”

On the outside, the Viziv looks like Subaru’s version of the Range Rover Evoque. It’s a two-door, four-seat vehicle with a high driving position, low roofline, and a big spoiler above the tailgate.

It’s definitely something we’d like to see on the road, except for the headlights. The trim pieces that frame the grille make it look like the concept’s makeup is running.

The giant side windows that serve both front and rear passengers would probably be impractical in real life. As much as we hate to admit it, so are the Lamborghini-style scissor doors.

The Viziv’s hybrid powertrain is closer to reality but, since this is Subaru we’re talking about, it’s a bit odd. Called Subaru Boxer Diesel Hybrid, it uses: a 2.0-liter turbodiesel boxer four, continuously variable transmission, a lithium-ion battery pack, and three electric motors.

One electric motor is coupled directly to the transmission and helps drive the front wheels, while the other two drive the rear wheels without any direct connection to the diesel.

Like most hybrids, the electric motors help power the Viziv at low speeds; the diesel takes over for highway cruising. The rear motors can also be used for torque vectoring, which sends power to the outside wheel during cornering, improving handling.

Subaru’s choice of a diesel engine would make a production car an outlier. Most manufacturers have shied away from diesel hybrids because of the added cost of a diesel engine, and difficulties in synchronizing power delivery. Diesels aren’t very effective at high revs, when internal combustion is supposed to take over in a hybrid.

Subaru Viziv concept door openThe interior has a two-tone color scheme and blue nightclub lighting, but it’s still fairly for a concept car. The binnacle gauges are a nice alternative to the amorphous digital gauge screens that are popping up in a lot of production cars.

Since the Viziv lacks a rear prop shaft, it also has a flat floor. Subaru says that, despite the rakish bodywork, four adults can sit comfortably inside.

For now, the Viziv is just a concept, but the world will get a lot more interesting if Subaru decides to put it into production.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Lincoln revives its coolest-ever design feature for limited-edition Continental

The 1961 Lincoln Continental became a design icon thanks to center-opening "coach doors" (also known as "suicide doors"). Lincoln is bringing those doors back for a special edition of the 2019 Continental.
Product Review

The all-new 3 Series proves BMW can still build a compelling sport sedan

Seat time in the entry-level BMW 330i ($41,425) and M340i xDrive ($54,995) will test the German automaker’s commitment to driving dynamics, powertrain refinement, and cutting edge technology.

Aston Martin’s 1,000-hp Valkyrie will boast the Mona Lisa of the engine world

Aston Martin has released new details about its F1-inspired Valkyrie hypercar. Co-developed with Red Bull Racing, the Valkyrie will be one of the most aerodynamic production cars ever made.

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.

What’s next for in-car entertainment? Audi believes it knows

Audi is bringing two technologies to CES 2019. The first turns a car -- a luxury sedan, in this case -- into a drive-in movie theater. The second is presented as a new entertainment format that turns the journey into the destination.

Car-branded phones need to make a U-turn if they ever want to impress

Your car and your smartphone are becoming one, yet smartphones branded or co-created by car companies are a problem. We look at the history, some examples of the best and worst, then share hopes for the future.

California wants all-electric public bus fleet on its roads by 2040

California approved a regulation that targets an all-electric public bus fleet for the whole state by 2040. The effect of the full implementation of the regulation is equivalent to taking 4 million cars off the road.

1,000-mph Bloodhound supersonic car project finds a last-minute savior

The Bloodhound supersonic car (SSC) project has found a buyer. The project was going to be disbanded after running out of funds, but its assets were purchased by British businessman Ian Warhurst.

Ford’s prototype Quiet Kennel uses noise-canceling tech to keep dogs stress-free

Ford is ending 2018 by venturing into the doghouse market. The company's European division has built a kennel equipped with active noise-canceling technology and soundproof walls that help dogs sleep through fireworks.
Emerging Tech

Self-driving dirt rally vehicle offers crash course in autonomous car safety

Georgia Tech's AutoRally initiative pushes self-driving cars to their limit by getting scaled-down autonomous vehicles to drive really, really fast and aggressively on dirt roads. Here's why.

The best compact cars pack full-size features in fun-size packages

The best compact cars on the market rival their counterparts in many ways, proving that bigger isn’t always better. Here, we've rounded up some of the better options available, including an SUV and an electric alternative.
Product Review

Ford’s reincarnated Ranger feels like a car that does everything a truck can do

The 2019 Ford Ranger aims to be a tool for weekend adventures, and goes head-to-head with midsize pickup trucks from Chevrolet, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota. Ford hasn’t sold the Ranger in the United States since 2011, so it has to make up…

Audi’s self-driving car unit teams up with Luminar to go driverless in 2021

Audi's self-driving car unit has teamed up with Luminar to develop and test autonomous technology. Luminar provides its lidar technology, which sees farther than the sensors offered by rivals, while Audi brings its own software.