2019 Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid will be unveiled at Los Angeles auto show with Toyota system

The Crosstrek Hybrid from 2019 gets an exterior and an interior design to distinguish it from its stablemate with petrol engine, the number 3 seller since 2014.

TOKYO – Subaru tries to electrify at the Los Angeles Auto Show with the brand's first plug-in hybrid, a petrol-electric version of the Crosstrek subcompact crossover that arrives in US dealers by the end of the year.

The Crosstrek Hybrid from 2019 gets an exterior and an interior design to distinguish it from its stablemate with petrol engine, the number 3 seller since 2014.

The four-wheel drive plug-in hybrid is also the most powerful and economical version on the nameplate, says Subaru. The powertrain links a 2.0-liter boxer engine with direct injection and a new continuously variable transmission with two electric motors and a lithium-ion battery.

The 148 hp set reaches an electric range of 17 miles and speeds up to 65 km / h in full electric mode. That's good for fuel economy of 90 MPGe, while still delivering faster acceleration from 0 to 65 mph than the petrol-driven Crosstrek, Subaru said.

The role of Toyota

Subaru said in May that it would borrow the hybrid system from Japanese partner Toyota Motor Corp., which owns a 17 percent stake in Subaru. Because of its modest R & D budget, Subaru works together to develop fuel-efficient submissions for its crossover-heavy line-up.

At the end of last year, for example, Subaru joined a new electric vehicle from Toyota and other affiliated manufacturers. That company, EV Common Architecture Spirit Co., was established with Mazda Motor Corp. and supplier Denso Corp. to develop an architecture for EVs together. Suzuki Motor Corp., minicar specialist Daihatsu and truck maker Hino have since joined.

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Subaru does not offer electrified models, and the last full EV, the Plug-in Stella minicar, was discontinued in 2011 after collecting the sale of the fleet of only 200 units.

More to come

But after the Crosstrek Hybrid Subaru is planning to introduce a fully electric model in 2021.

The Crosstrek Hybrid starts at $ 35,970, including shipping, about $ 8,000 more than the basic Prius Prime, Toyota's plug-in hybrid offering. The Prime, on the other hand, is a vehicle with front-wheel drive. It has an MPGe rating of 133 and an EV-only driving range of 25 miles.

The Crosstrek Hybrid is built on the company's new Subaru Global Platform, which is designed for hybrid and fully electric powertrains.

Blue headlight projector rings and silver-colored metal finish on the grille ensure that the Crosstrek Hybrid differs from the standard Crosstrek. Lower front bumper and bodywork trim, as well as fog light accents, further wire the electrified persona of the model.

The plug-in hybrid also comes in a unique body color called Lagoon Blue Pearl.

Interior highlights

Inside, the plug-in hybrid has a new color motif of high-contrast gray and navy blue. The leather seats, door panels and armrests are accented with blue stitching.

Drivers using Subaru's Starlink multimedia system also have access to some special functions for hybrid only. With the system of the Crosstrek Hybrid they can remotely start the climate control of the vehicle.

They can also use a remote charging timer to manage charging from a distance.

The American sales of the Crosstrek increased by 40 percent to 122,464 vehicles by October. But executives expect the plug-in hybrid to be a niche model that allows Subaru to meet emission demands. Former global R & D chief Takeshi Tachimori said in January that Subaru expects to sell it first only in states that have taken over the zero polluting vehicle regulations from California.

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