Skip to main content

Toyota and Subaru are expecting again, but this time it’s not a sports car

2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid review
Stephen Edelstein/Digital Trends

In the early 2010s, Toyota and Subaru joined forces to develop a pair of nearly identical, rear-wheel drive coupes named 86 and BRZ, respectively. As 2020 approaches, the two automakers announced another round of collaboration, but this time it won’t spawn an enthusiast-friendly sports car. They’re working on a platform that will underpin electric cars, including an SUV that each brand will sell its own version of.

The tie-up will leverage Toyota’s expertise in electrified powertrains, and Subaru’s expertise in making all-wheel drive systems. The yet-unnamed architecture will form the substructure of midsize and large passenger vehicles, according to a statement released by Toyota, so don’t expect to see a city car like the Yaris made on it. Instead, it will serve as the foundation for models in the vein of the Toyota Camry and the Subaru Outback.

Neither party revealed precisely what it plans to build on the architecture, but they announced the co-development of a battery-powered crossover from which each brand will get their own variant. It’s too early to tell whether Subaru’s model will be identical to Toyota’s; stylists may choose to avoid blatant badge-engineering to create a more unique product. What’s certain is that the two cars will share almost every component under the sheet metal, including the aforementioned platform. Technical details like the size of the battery pack, and the driving range it will deliver, remain under wraps because the project is still at the embryonic stage.

We don’t expect to see the models until the early 2020s at the earliest. Looking ahead, the jointly-developed platform will be flexible enough to underpin sedans, crossovers, SUVs, plus what Toyota referred to as “derivative vehicle models.”

“Both Subaru and Toyota believe that it is necessary to pursue a business model that goes beyond convention, crossing over industrial boundaries together with various types of other entities that share their aspirations,” Toyota affirmed. The brand will presumably reveal the other entities it hopes to work with in the coming months.

Toyota owns a 16.8% stake in Subaru, and the two have collaborated on electrified powertrains in the past. Subaru’s first series-produced plug-in hybrid model, the Crosstrek Hybrid (pictured), uses hardware and software borrowed from the Toyota Prius. But while alliances are nothing new in the automotive industry, the announcement again proves that developing components for electric cars is considerably more expensive than designing a four-cylinder engine. That’s why automakers from all over the automotive spectrum are increasingly setting aside their differences to save money.

Editors' Recommendations

Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
How to charge your electric car at home
Close up of the Hybrid car electric charger station with power supply plugged into an electric car being charged.

One of the biggest perks to owning an electric car is charging it in the comfort of your own home, rather than requiring stops at a gas station every week or so. That means that if you stay on top of charging, and don’t take super long trips, you’ll never really have to worry about when and where to "fill up."

But there are a number of ways to charge up at home, and they’re not all for everyone. In fact, some options are far better than others — and getting the right charging gear for your needs is definitely worth doing.

Read more
Tesla used car market no longer as lucrative, data shows
Tesla Model Y One Millionth Car

The cost of a used Tesla is starting to fall, new data shows.

Up until fairly recently, it seemed that customers were happy to pay more for a used Tesla than a new one to avoid having to spend months on a waitlist. The buoyant market also proved lucrative for current owners who found they could make a few bucks by selling their Tesla electric vehicle (EV). But that opportunity now looks to be disappearing fast.

Read more
Apple’s rumored car could cost the same as a Tesla Model S
Apple Car rendering from Vanarama.

Rumors have been swirling around for years regarding Apple’s plans for an electric, self-driving car.

The latest report, which arrived on Tuesday via a usually reliable source, suggests Apple has scaled back its plan for an autonomous car, with some elements yet to be agreed upon.

Read more