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Old 03-06-2010, 03:37 PM   #1
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Default Hybrid Impreza in the works for 2012?

That's what Left Lane News is reporting.

Report: 2012 Subaru Impreza lineup may include hybrid
03/05/2010, 7:35 PMBY MARK KLEIS

Earlier reports have suggested that new CAFE standards would force Subaru to fast track its plans for diesel and hybrid options and possibly drop standard all-wheel drive as well for the U.S. market. Now, inside sources are claiming that the first hybrid may in fact end up being an Impreza – not the Subaru Legacy hybrid that has been expected since it was announced in 2005.

Subaru nears completion of its hybrid system
According to inside sources speaking with Road & Track, the hybrid Legacy that has been promised since 2005 does not properly host a hybrid powertrain due to unnamed issues with its chassis. Because of this, Subaru’s engineers have instead turned to the Impreza model to house their hybrid powertrain and become the automaker’s first production hybrid.

Subaru unveiled a concept vehicle at the 2009 LA Auto Show, known as the Hybrid Tourer that was powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged boxer engine in addition to a two-mode hybrid system and a CVT transmission. The 2.0-liter boxer engine is currently offered in the Japanese market for their Impreza, where the American market enjoys a larger 2.4-liter unit. Although Road & Track suggested Subaru may fit their hybrid system onto the 2.4-liter boxer engine currently used for the U.S. market, we find ourselves leaning towards use of the same 2.0-liter found in both Japan and the Hybrid Tourer concept vehicle.

The 2.0-liter unit would offer less power, but depending on the configuration, the hybrid system could help to boost power while also taking advantage of the less thirsty 2.0-liter boxer compared to its larger sibling. Since Subaru has already developed that exact system for its concept car, it would also make for an easier conversion to their production model.

How Subaru arrived where it is today in regards to hybrid technology
Just over two years ago Subaru shared with the world that it was in the midst of moving forward with diesel and hybrid powertrains for the future, but that diesels would likely be the automaker’s top priority. Subaru attributed this hierarchy on the “voices” of its consumers demanding diesels more loudly than they were demanding hybrids.

“There are many opinions. But currently, the voices calling for diesels are stronger than the voices for hybrids,” Ikuo Mori, president of Subaru parent company Fuji Heavy Industries, told Automotive News Europe.

Around the same time Toyota doubled its stake in Subaru’s parent company, Fuji Industries, and Toyota and Subaru were well on their way with sharing hybrid technology. “We agreed with Toyota to utilize the Toyota system in developing our own hybrid technology,” Mori said. “Fundamentally speaking, we can’t just plunk Toyota’s system into our own vehicles. We need to develop something that is adjusted to our products.”

Unlike other mainstream automakers, Subaru found itself in a unique situation in regards to more stringent fuel economy standards due to the fact that it strictly sells vehicles equipped with all-wheel drive. Although AWD has its many benefits, the drawback is reduced fuel economy – regardless of how efficient the engine may be. With ever-pressing fuel economy standards, Subaru was forced to consider removing boxer engines and AWD off of the “standard” features list, and instead onto the “options” list.
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