TOKYO -- Subaru plans to introduce a next-generation, horizontally opposed engine by the end of the year in the Forester crossover and then expand its use to other models, a news report said.
After debuting in the U.S. and Japanese versions of the Forester, the powerplant will be used in the Legacy sedan, Impreza compact and Exiga, a minivan sold in Japan, Japan’s Nikkei Sangyo business daily reported today. The new engine will get 10 percent better mileage than the one it replaces.
Masashi Uemura, a spokesman for Subaru’s parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries, confirmed that the Japanese automaker would introduce a new engine by year end. But he declined to give specifications or say what models would get it.
The Nikkei Sangyo said the engine will be a four-cylinder, horizontally opposed “boxer,” ranging between 2.0 and 2.5 liters. Subaru will pair it with a continuously variable transmission for better mileage.
The engine is the first major overhaul of Subaru’s trademark boxer engine in 20 years, the report said.
At last year’s Tokyo Motor Show, Subaru displayed a Hybrid Tourer Concept that was envisioned as featuring what the company called its next-generation power system. That powertrain would be a 2.0-liter, horizontally opposed gasoline engine that would eke out mileage gains through the use of direct fuel injection and turbocharging, the company said.
The powertrain also would get a stop-start function that turns the engine off when the vehicle stops and would be mated to a continuously variable transmission.
Subaru, whose U.S. sales were up 30 percent through July compared with the same seven months last year, has said it will add a hybrid powertrain to an existing model in 2012. Subaru needs more efficient drivetrain technologies to help it meet tougher U.S. fuel economy and emissions rules that begin in the 2016 model year.
Subaru may introduce continuously variable transmissions throughout its lineup to boost fuel efficiency after inaugurating the technology in last year’s redesigned Legacy.
Subaru has used belt-type CVTs in minicars for Japan since 1987. But the latest version of the Legacy, launched in the spring of 2009, was Subaru’s first big car to get a CVT.