Still Waiting for a Subaru Outback Hybrid?

31 Мар 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Still Waiting for a Subaru Outback Hybrid? отключены
Subaru Electric Cars

Still Waiting for a Subaru Outback Hybrid?

As the proud owner of a 1997 Subaru Legacy Station Wagon and a 2002 Subaru Outback, I have long awaited a Subaru Outback hybrid. In fact, it was the first thing that came to my mind when Toyota first introduced the Prius in 2001. It just made sense to me that people who buy a Subaru (generally the type to enjoy the outdoors and be environmentally-conscious) would appreciate a hybrid version; a chimera of sorts, featuring the body of a capable but streamlined SUV with the fuel efficiency of a bicycle.

Even without hybrid technology, the Subaru Outback captures the functionality and style of an SUV without sacrificing too much in the way of fuel economy. The boxer four-cylinder engine is powerful enough for the all-the-time all-wheel-drive system, but is also fuel-efficient, which leads me to think a hybrid engine must be capable of doing the same thing especially considering the proven SUV hybrid models on the road today!

Given that Toyota owns 16.7% of Fuji Heavy Industries (the parent company of Subaru), it s amazing that a hybrid Subaru Outback hasn t already hit the market. Toyota is one of the leading innovators in the field of hybrid technology and supplies systems to many auto manufacturers in the USA, including Ford and Tesla.

The Subaru PZEV (Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle) came close in 2007, but this option (available on all certified Legacy, Outback, and Forester models in the USA) does not improve fuel economy at all. It simply strips emissions from the vehicle tailpipe and engine as the car continues to run on pure gasoline without hybrid assistance.

PZEV is a nice feature, but it doesn’t compare to a hybrid car that gets 50MPG. Driving a PZEV still means drilling for twice as much oil (which requires oil), shipping that oil twice as far (on boats needing oil), filling cars twice as often (which releases fumes and emissions and, again, requires oil) and spending twice as much time standing at the pump breathing it all in.

Note to the rest of the world .  Please install vapor recovery systems like we ve had in California for the past decade.

So what s the hold up with giving us a hybrid Outback? Customers have wanted it for years! This conversation comes up again and again with my friends who work at REI and own Outbacks; the guys I carpool with 50 miles one way to go surfing in Santa Cruz and the friends I drive 400 miles to meet for camping trips in Yosemite.

It takes a lot of gas but sometimes you need the wagon’s extra space. We want a hybrid Subaru Outback yesterday!

In 2009 there was some talk about an electric Subaru and a hybrid Subaru prototype scheduled for release in 2012. The prototypes feature a two-door design with limited storage space and gull-wing doors (think DeLorean) to make it look cool. Storage space, however, appeared to be significantly less than an Outback.

It wasn t clear whether these models would offer AWD, but that s such an integral part of the Subaru legacy that I would be surprised if they didn’t.

Unfortunately, the small size of this prototype challenges one of the key benefits of owning a Subaru station wagon. Why scale the car down when most owners want that extra space for camping and skiing and surfing? Doesn t that just mean we ll have to slap on an ugly roof top cargo box. which will decrease the overall efficiency of the car?

The Ford Escape Hybrid and other fuller-sized vehicles on the market are not scaled down and still benefit from hybrid drive systems. I m betting that the design of an Outback creates less drag than a full sized SUV, and would get at least 40MPG, which is better than the Escape s 35MPG. We won’t know for sure until it becomes a reality.

So in conclusion: Subaru, when will your all-wheel-drive wagon hit the market, and why is it taking so long?

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