Subaru held a technology briefing this week in Tokyo where it announced ambitious sustainability goals, but nearly lost amid the discussion of converting its fleet over to electricity was the unveiling of what appears to be an early concept version of a forthcoming battery-electric crossover. Thanks to the Japanese YouTube account LoveCars!TV!, we get a walkaround look.
It appears to be Subaru’s version of the crossover EV it is jointly developing with Toyota, to be built atop a flexible platform that can accommodate multiple production vehicles from both brands. What we’re shown is an athletic-looking crossover with its wheels pushed to the corners that borrows design elements, for better or for worse, from Cadillac, the Pontiac Aztek and the Tesla Cybertruck.
Up front, the crossover borrows and exaggerates Cadillac’s signature squared-off corners and deep fog-light scoops that also reminds us of Infiniti’s Q Inspiration concept from the 2018 Detroit auto show. It opts for narrow LED headlamps, and it notably omits any aesthetic concession to even a faux grille, save for a hexagonal shape outlined by the panel seams. Coupled with the black cladding on the lower bumper, the crossover's face has a certain Batman-logo shape to it.
Moving around to the side, we see heavy black cladding — it doesn't appear to be standard plastic, since it reflects light — around the wheel wells, lending them a semi-octagonal shape that evokes the strongest comparison to the polarizing Cybertruck. Coupled with some interesting side creases, the cladding also gives the appearance that the wheel wells bulge out, and that the doors pinch inward, more than they probably do in reality. There are also no door handles or brakes, the side mirrors are rearview cameras and the windows are blacked out, so there’s nothing to divine about the interior and how far along that is in conceptualization.
In back is where things get especially weird and Aztek-like, with a blunt and upright rectangular body panel making up the tailgate underneath a generously long, sloping rear window. It’s beveled at the top to tuck underneath the rear LED light bar, which stretches the length of the glass, and curved on each end to integrate with the sides. The LED treatment also dives down 90 degrees from the horizontal rear bar and then makes another sharp 90-degree jag to bracket the rear panel in hard-angled brake lights.
All in all, we’re left with a busy concept full of sharp angles but a not-altogether unsuccessful silhouette that overall seems like a work in progress. The idea behind the tie-up with Toyota is that Subaru will bring its expertise in designing all-wheel-drive systems, while Toyota will add powertrain know-how to the pot, with both parties obviously saving money in development costs.
Subaru also confirmed at the briefing that every model it makes will get an electrified powertrain by the mid-2030s and that it aims to reduce the average emissions from new vehicles sold by 2050 by 90% compared to 2010 levels.