Bit by bit, the automotive industry seems to be breaking down walls, redefining segments to embody ideals that we may not have associated them with. While this is clearly visible in the truck segment’s progressive mindset towards weight reduction, or the performance-informed styling of so many new economy coupes and sedans, there’s not a lot of the ‘same old, same old’ going on.
But the ever-growing introduction of EV vehicles seems to be turning a corner that, in spite of our constant anticipation, still feels fresh and surprising with each new announcement. From hybrid variants of existing models to a growing number of electric offerings, one could argue that it’s becoming hard to keep up with everything in the pipeline. But announcements, like the one recently made by Subaru, manages to perk our ears up, over the ever-competitive background noise.
If/when Subaru crosses your mind, you’re far more likely to conjure up thoughts of high-powered rally cars, or possibly the versatility associated with what is, arguably, a pioneer of the crossover segment. It’s unlikely that you equate Subaru with eco-friendly transportation but, it appears as though the automaker is about to wage holy war on that perception courtesy of the 2019 Crosstrek Hybrid.
For those unfamiliar with the Crosstrek, as it currently exists, here’s a closer look:
With seven model years under its belt, the Crosstrek has enjoyed a forward-thinking evolution since day one. The most recent 2018 version is almost completely overhauled, with almost nothing carried over from the previous generation. This alone makes the announcement re the 2019 Hybrid even more impressive since Subaru shows no intention of resting on their laurels.
Granted, the 2014 model year introduced a conventional Hybrid variant of the Crosstrek, but that attempt almost seemed to represent Subaru’s more conservative transition towards electric offerings. It would seem, however, that any reservation is slowing being tossed out the window with the announcement of this true PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle).
This, of course, makes perfect sense if you buy into the eco-conscious stereotype of Subaru’s target demographic. But their influence is far more widespread than the granola-fed outdoor enthusiasts of Colorado, and such a powerful move makes a bold statement as to Subaru’s place in the evolving marketplace of the years to come.
Expected to hit dealerships sometime later this year, the 2019 Subaru Crosstrek is being kept under wraps to some degree. Based solely on what information has been released, we can expect it to be powered by Subaru’s trademark four-cylinder boxer engine modified for efficiency by their long-time collaborator, Toyota. And while the Crosstrek’s all-wheel-drive system maintains its mastery of versatile terrains and conditions, the expectation of a pure electric mode is designed to improve your commuting and on-road mileage. Whether or not the 2019 Crosstrek features any increase in power and/or torque rating remains to be seen, but we can hope since one could argue that such an enhancement is long overdue.
That said, the most recent Crosstrek was only the second Subaru to be built upon the automaker’s new global platform. Utilizing an updated framework, it is reported to be up to 70% more rigid than its predecessor, boating highly-stiffened joints capable of enhancing ride comfort, stability, and agility. Assuming this will carry over to 2019, this means that Subaru is delivering a Crosstrek that retains every historic strength while building it up to reflect the evolving expectations of today’s driver.
And Subaru is also promising an enticing new aesthetic with the promise of “unique styling” that will differentiate it from its more pedestrian counterparts. While we can only imagine what such progressive design notes might be, it’s exciting to posit that (maybe?) the overhaul might take a lean, sporty and possibly aggressive direction. Speaking personally, we’re crossing our fingers, since it would be a welcome update that could truly invigorate the lineup.