By: IOL Motoring Staff
Geneva Motor Show - Subaru can claim, with some justification, to have invented the SUV, so it's always interesting to see the direction this oddball carmaker takes with its concept cars.
As in the Viziv 2, on show for the first time at Geneva. The name is an abbreviation of the phrase “Vision for Innovation”, and the design brief was “Enjoyment and Peace of Mind” - an attempt to combine the often mutually exclusive qualities of eco-friendliness and driving performance.
The result is a smallish four-door four-seater, only 4435mm long overall on a 2730mm wheelbase, 1920mm wide and 1530mm high. The styling, based on a hexagon motif with prominent flared wheel-arches, is intended to evoke an impression of solidity, while being instantly recognisable as a Subaru.
The interior styling reflects this, with the rugged body framework incorporated in the trim to underline the car's air of quiet competence.
It has permanent all-wheel drive - but not as we know it, Jim.
The Viziv 2 is a plug-in hybrid that follows the current Eurotrend to downsized turbo combustion engines - in this case a 1.6-litre horizontally opposed direct-injection flat four - which drives ing the front wheels via a constantly variable transmission and charging the batteries for the one front and two rear electric motors.
Subaru calls it “Independent-rear-motor-driven symmetrical all-wheel drive” and says it shows the way to a future generation of Subaru AWD technology.
The torque supplied to front and rear wheels can be electronically varied from moment to moment by the car's traction control system to deal with travel environment and road surface conditions - without having to bother the driver with such mundane details as high or low range, diff-locks or even selecting gears!
Subaru is even threatening to illustrate its goal for the future of safety technology with an autopilot based on this system.