With the Subaru Viziv Performance Concept, be careful getting your hopes up

Subaru has disappointed us before.

  • Image Credit: Subaru
Subaru fans have reason to be excited. The company revealed the Viziv Performance Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show, and it's pretty obvious that it's a preview of a future WRX. The big vents, hood scoop, fenders, and its sedan profile all shout WRX. Someone from Subaru's design department even confirmed that the study could influence the next model.

While admiring the concept's lines and imagining the next model, we, as well as some of our commenters, realized that we should keep our hopes and expectations low. The reason for this is that Subaru pulled a bit of a bait-and-switch with WRX styling before, back in 2013. That year, the company revealed the WRX Concept. It, like the Viziv Performance Concept, was a vented, scooped, flared, low-roof interpretation of the next WRX. Everyone loved it, and they were psyched to see a Subaru that could truly be described as beautiful, rather than say, unique, or interesting, or different, or any other kindhearted euphemism.

Then Subaru unveiled the production WRX for 2015. To the company's credit, it did manage to include design cues from the concept such as the fender flare lines and fascia shape, and it shared very few exterior panels with the Impreza. Unfortunately, it was still based on the Impreza platform, and those lines had to be pulled in and compressed onto the tall and narrow economy car. Without the low roof, ultra-wide fenders, and long, defined trunk, the car lost a lot in translation. The result thoroughly disappointed, and on occasion infuriated, fans.

Basically, we've been burned before by Subaru's concepts. Heck, if you want more proof, take a look at the Subaru BRZ STI Performance concept that had a turbocharged engine. And yet, we still have no turbo BRZ on the market. But just because we're trying to be realistic doesn't mean Subaru won't surprise us with a close-to-concept WRX in the future. And the company is showing some signs that its concepts are more realistic. Looking at the evolution of the Viziv-7 concept into the Ascent concept and production prototypes, it seems a lot of the original design has survived. So hope isn't lost, just tempered.

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