Viziv Concept hints at Subaru's future direction
By Darren Quick
March 5, 2013
Given the popularity of CUVs (crossover utility vehicles) among consumers, it’s not surprising that this segment is popular ground for auto manufacturers developing concept vehicles. Subaru’s latest CUV concept, which it has dished up at this year’s Geneva Auto Show, is the Viziv. The company describes the Viziv – a name somehow derived from “Vision for Innovation” – as a crossover vehicle with a hybrid powertrain that gives a hint at Subaru’s future design direction and technologies.
The Viziv features a plug-in hybrid powertrain consisting of a 2.0-liter Horizontally-Opposed Subaru Boxer diesel engine mated to a high-torque Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). This is combined with three electric motors – one at the front that both drives the front wheels and generates power for the lithium-ion battery pack, and two independent motors at the rear for driving the rear wheels.
This setup adds up to an all-wheel drive (AWD) system with the three electric motors powering the vehicle and providing high torque, zippy acceleration, low fuel consumption and a quiet ride at low speeds, and the diesel engine taking over on the highway. The transition is handled automatically, with the powertrain selecting the appropriate power unit based on current conditions and the selected drive mode.
The “Independent-rear-motor-driven symmetrical AWD” system, which Subaru hints will be appearing in future vehicles, also tunes the control of the four wheels to match the speed and road surface conditions. A coordinated management system controls the division of drive power delivered to the front and rear wheels to improve handling and stability. When the steering wheel is turned, drive power delivered to the rear wheels is increased to improve handling, with power increased to the front when straightening up again to improve stability.
Independent control of the 20-inch wheels also enables more torque to be provided to the outside rear wheel and less to the inside rear wheel when cornering to achieve “on-the-rail cornering.” This helps minimize the vehicle’s turning radius.
While it might be a two-door, the concept car is a four-seater with the oversized butterfly door panels on either side opening upwards to provide access to both the front and rear seats. The doors contribute to the design aims of striking a balance between a “solid-looking body and a condensed cabin.”
Despite its compact appearance, Subaru says the cabin provides a comfortable ride for four adults. Rear seat occupants get to enjoy extra legroom thanks to a lower floor enabled by the electric motors powering the rear wheels, which eliminates the need for a propeller shaft. Back seat driving can also be taken to another level thanks to custom information displays embedded in front of the front passenger seat and in the rear seating area.
Subaru didn’t reveal any performance specs, but the Viziv has a 2,640 mm (103.9 in) wheelbase and overall dimensions (L x W x H) of 4,320 x 1,900 x 1,510 mm (170 x 74.8 x 59.4 in).