Subaru moves to 1 platform, new generation of engine technology

The 2015 Outback got a styling update.
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Future Product Pipeline

Subaru is riding on the success of its strategy to redesign all of its vehicles primarily for the United States and equip them with competitive features.

As it prepares for a new wave starting in 2016, Subaru will move to a new platform for all of its vehicles -- from the compact Impreza to an all-new, full-size seven-seat crossover. This will cut costs and development time.

Also in 2016, the redesigned vehicles will get a new generation of engine technology that will include direct injection, lean-burn technology and cylinder deactivation.

Subaru will get its first plug-in hybrid powerplant in 2017. It will be sold in California and 12 other states that also have strict emissions standards. Subaru has said the hybrid will be a variant of an existing nameplate.

Here's a look at Subaru's future product lineup.

BRZ: Interest in the once-hot coupe developed with Toyota has softened, and a convertible has been nixed. But a freshening is expected in late 2015 for the 2016 model year. Subaru executives have said a second generation of the car launched in 2012 is in the works. The new car could come in 2018.

Impreza: The redesigned four- and five-door compact will go on sale in late 2016 or early 2017. It will be produced at Subaru's factory in Indiana, where expansion for an additional 100,000 vehicles is underway. Not all of that new capacity will be used for the Impreza, according to Subaru of America executives.

WRX: The performance version of the Impreza went on sale this year. No changes are expected for several years.

The 2015 Legacy is quieter and roomier than the current model, Subaru says.

Legacy: The fifth-generation Legacy went on sale this month. The new Legacy 2.5i has a four-cylinder Boxer engine with 175 hp -- nearly the same as the current model. A six-cylinder Boxer engine is available with 256 hp. All models come standard with a continuously variable transmission.

The 2015 Legacy is quieter than the current model because of thicker panels and foam insulation, as well as liquid-filled engine mounts that minimize noise transfer from under the hood. The windshield is more raked, and aerodynamics have been improved 10 percent. 

Safety features include a rearview camera, a rollover sensor, an optional rear radar system that has blind-spot detection, a lane-change assist feature and a rear cross-traffic alert. Inside, Subaru said, the Legacy has increased passenger and cargo room even though it has not grown in size. 

Satellite radio is standard on all models except the base. The car has Bluetooth connectivity for phones and gadgets. The new audio system has a 6.2-inch touch screen. The optional navigation system uses a 7-inch touch screen. 

A freshening is likely in 2017. 

Outback: The redesigned 2015 Outback went on sale this month. It got a major styling update, additional safety and convenience features and improved fuel economy.

The Outback's engines were carried over: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder Boxer engine with 175 hp and a 3.6-liter six-cylinder Boxer engine with 256 hp. 

The wheelbase has been increased to 108.1 inches, overall length grows to 189.6 inches, and the width has been expanded to 72.4 inches. Interior cabin room is improved to 108.1 cubic feet. 

Subaru has beefed up the Outback's safety features with a standard rearview camera and a rollover sensor that activates the side-curtain airbags. Higher trim levels will get a rear vehicle-detection system, blind-spot detection, lane-change assist, a rear cross-traffic alert, Subaru's EyeSight driver-assist program and steering-responsive fog lights. 

A freshening is likely in 2017. 

Forester: The crossover will be freshened in 2016 as a 2017 model.

XV Crosstrek: The five-door XV Crosstrek will be freshened in mid-2015 for the 2016 model year. The Impreza-based crossover will be redesigned in 2018.

A seven-seat crossover could be based on the Exiga, above, which is sold in Japan.

Seven-seat crossover: Subaru is developing a new seven-seat crossover that would replace the slow-selling Tribeca, which has a cramped rear seat and limited cargo capacity. 

It could be based on the Subaru Exiga, a van-wagon crossbreed in Japan that also seats seven. It has wagonlike proportions with swing-out doors, a tall, top-heavy greenhouse and slightly elevated third row. 

Insiders say the new vehicle could go on sale within three years.

You can reach Diana T. Kurylko at dkurylko@crain.com. -- Follow Diana on Twitter


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