Subaru has just announced that it will be making a plug-in version of the Crosstrek compact crossover. It's the automaker's first plug-in, but not its first hybrid.
Subaru's first hybrid in North America was the XV Crosstrek hybrid that arrived for the 2014 model year in Canada. That car used Subaru's own hybrid system that used a small 13-hp electric motor and a 0.6 kWh battery pack. The fuel economy increase was slim, and the model was dropped after 2016.
The new Crosstrek Hybrid goes straight to the king of hybrids. Under the hood is the Toyota Hybrid System. That's thanks to a partnership between the two automakers that has Toyota owning a substantial piece of Subaru. So the new Crosstrek Hybrid will share plug-in hardware with the Toyota Prius Prime.
Subaru hasn't given out the specs for the power and range of this new hybrid, but the Prius Prime uses an 8.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and uses two electric motors that make 91 hp and give that car a 40 km electric range.
This Subaru won't have a Prius engine, though. Subaru said that the Crosstrek Hybrid will stay true to its roots and use a Subaru flat-four engine. Subaru's latest platform, which underpins the Impreza and Crosstrek, was designed to accommodate hybrid and electric powertrains as well as gas-only.
Subaru hasn't released photos but did say that the Hybrid would get some styling changes to reflect the new powertrain.
The Crosstrek Hybrid is expected to arrive at dealers by the end of the year, but unless you live near the Vermont or Washington State borders, don't expect to see one, at least not for a while. That's because Subaru has only confirmed availability in the US. According to Subaru Canada, the company is still considering introducing it to other markets. "Subaru Corp. is looking into introducing such a vehicle to markets outside the U.S. as well, including Canada, where the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) standard has been adopted in parts of the country."