TOKYO -- Subaru, eager for high-mileage hybrids, is looking at borrowing Toyota's hybrid technology, the brand's top executives say.
Subaru puts its first hybrid, a version of the XV Crosstrek compact crossover, in U.S. showrooms in early December.
Naoto Muto, executive vice president for global engineering at Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries, said the brand's in-house hybrid technology is geared more toward sportier driving than fuel economy.
He did not give a timeline for a decision on adopting Toyota's technology or say which vehicles might get it.
The XV Crosstrek Hybrid achieves a combined 31 mpg rating, only slightly better than the combined 28 mpg rating for the standard gasoline XV Crosstrek. It falls far short of the Toyota Prius' combined 50 mpg.
While the standard gasoline XV Crosstrek starts at $22,820, including shipping, the hybrid begins $4,000 higher.
But Subaru can't simply transplant Toyota's system without altering it to fit Subaru's all-wheel-drive layout.
"We are now considering how we can adapt Toyota's system into Subaru vehicles in the future," Muto said.
"But Subaru's layout is all-wheel drive, so we cannot use Toyota's hybrid system without modification. So we have to consider how we can do that."
Toyota owns a 16.5 percent stake in Fuji Heavy, making it the largest shareholder.