First Look: Subaru Hybrid Tourer Concept

What will the luxury crossover of the future look like? According to Subaru, it may resemble its new Hybrid Tourer concept, which will debut at the 2009 Tokyo motor show in October.

Although the car-like concept is slightly smaller than the new 2010 Outback, the Hybrid Tourer's raison d'être is completely different. Here, the car primarily caters to the needs of all four passengers, and does so by providing them a luxurious cabin accessible through a pair of large gullwing doors. Designers incorporated a number of tricks to lend the interior an airy feel, including an expansive windshield, a dashboard that adjusts vertically for visibility, cantilevered seating, and a completely flat floor.

That last feature is possible thanks in part to a new twist on Subaru tradition. Yes, the Hybrid Tourer does sport all-wheel drive, but the rear axle is powered by a 20-kW electric motor. The front wheels are powered by both a turbocharged 2.0-liter flat-four and a 10-kW electric motor.

During standing-starts and light driving, the Hybrid Tourer runs on pure electricity, with the rear motor providing all the necessary motive power. According to Subaru, in most driving conditions power will come from the combustion engine, although the rear motor will kick in for extra traction or power. Should the driver stomp on the accelerator pedal, all three power sources will work together to rocket the Hybrid Tourer forward.

Subaru's relatively mum on how much of this concept is destined for the real world, but the lithium-ion battery packs are similar to those used in the company's Stella plug-in hybrid micro car, and the styling would look great if applied to the large Tribeca SUV.

We'll bring you more details as they unfold before the Tokyo motor show, which opens on October 21. Stay with Automobile Magazine for all the latest news from the show.

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