Subaru gets active and automated with new Viziv concept
Subaru has already trotted three Viziv (Vision for Innovation) designs out over the past two years – the original 2013 Viziv concept, the 2014 Viziv 2 and the Viziv GT video game race car. Now it's reusing that semi-portmanteau once again for the Viziv Future concept. All the Viziv concepts have been forward-looking, but none more so than the Future. The new concept car is infused with next-generation technologies and design solutions inside and out.
Debuting at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show, the Viziv Future is part of the "new Subaru story" theme of Subaru's booth. It's designed to encourage customers to get out and active while providing them peace of mind and enjoyment.
Like its show car predecessors, the Viziv Future is an AWD hybrid. However, it drops the the multi-motor hybrid configuration in favor of a sleeker system that uses a single electric motor mounted concentrically on the rear axle. That motor partners with a next-generation downsized turbo engine. As Subaru tells it, the compact mounting of the rear motor allows for a flat floor that opens up a spacious cabin.
The Viziv future is highly aware of its surroundings thanks to a combination of advanced sensor and telematics systems. An omnidirectional radar system joins the familiar EyeSight front-facing stereo camera system in working to prevent collisions with other road users, including vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. With support from the high-accuracy GPS system and vehicle-to-external communications, those sensors also allow for automated highway driving and automated parking capabilities.
Inside, the Viziv future features an advanced telematics system that processes information about forthcoming weather and traffic trends, keeping the driver (and vehicle) apprised of what's immediately down the road, figuratively and literally. The system also conveys "information supporting the customer’s hobbies and other aspects of an active life." Subaru doesn't get specific as to what that means, but we interpret it as a personalized feature that can do things like keep a sports fan updated on game scores or let a skier know about an imminent snowstorm.
The Viziv Future's styling is much more straightforward and production-ready than the previous two Viziv crossover concepts. The front, rear and profile have been smoothened out and toned down, giving this Viziv a look that's more dealership lot, less art studio.
Of course, some of the Viziv Future's body language expresses its identity as a futuristic concept car. In place of traditional rails, the glass roof is flanked by orange-highlighted tie-down loops that tie together with the orange inserts on the wheels, bumpers and mirror housings. The bumper-integrated honeycomb front and rear lights also look like a design you won't see beyond the auto show dais.
Oddly, even with all its talk about "active life", Subaru doesn't explain the Viziv Future's defining exterior feature: the rear-integrated bike rack. Letting the pictures do the talking, the bumper slides out to reveal a dual bike holder. This cleanly integrated solution reminds us of the Opel's FlexFix bike rack we last looked at in 2012, though it doesn't appear that Subaru's design allows for easy tailgate opening.
Those that prefer to give their bikes the shelter of a roof can do so in back, as shown in the picture below.
There are enough holes in Subaru's Tokyo preview to suggest that it will reveal a few more details at the Viziv Future world premiere. We'll be looking for it when the Tokyo show opens up to the press on October 28.