Subaru XV Hybrid tS – STI-tweaked model offered in Japan

Subaru's performance arm turns its attention to jazzing up a sensible hybrid crossover

It’s easy to find high-performance hybrids if you look towards the top end of the market (think BMW i8s as a minimum, Porsche 918s and McLaren P1s as a maximum), but not so simple finding eco-friendly fun further down the food chain.

Since the Honda CR-Z disappeared, the concept of a sporty hybrid disappeared with it. Unless you live in Japan, where Subaru has just launched the XV Hybrid tS – a hybrid crossover tweaked by Subaru Technica International.

Subscribe to evo magazine

If you're passionate about the world's greatest performance cars, experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Try your first 5 issues for £5.

Best-known for hot Impreza models, STI has taken the standard XV – a crossover based on the Impreza hatchback sold in some markets – and upgraded it for a sportier drive.

Suspension has been the main focus: The XV Hybrid tS gets uprated springs and dampers front and rear, a strut tower brace at the front, and STI ‘draw stiffeners’ – components that link the suspension mounts with the centre rails under the chassis for improved rigidity.

Advertisement - Article continues below

STI is also responsible for the deeper front bumper, but stops short of tweaking the XV Hybrid’s 2-litre boxer engine and hybrid system, which develop the standard 148bhp and 145lb ft of torque.

It does extend to visual tweaks though. You can’t fail to notice the orange details for instance – found on that STI front spoiler, the side skirts, the rear spoiler, the 17-inch alloy wheels, the STI badging front and rear, and throughout the interior.

The changes – in Subaru’s almost-certainly-directly-translated words, ‘serve to heighten driver anticipation and the joy of ownership’, while intriguingly the STI suspension parts are there to ‘offer a feel-good experience in all road conditions and better driving skills to everyone who drives it.’

Crikey. Either way, it’s good to see some effort being made to improve the lot of hybrids at a non-supercar level, though we suspect the market would be limited in Europe. In Japan, the car starts around 3.3 million Yen, equivalent to £24,500, and goes on sale in the autumn.



Audi Q2 SUV

Audi Q2 review

15 Jul 2019
Best cars

Best performance SUVs 2019

15 Jul 2019
Aston Martin DBX SUV

New Aston Martin DBX technical details revealed

17 Oct 2019
Land Rover Discovery Sport

2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport D180 SE review

18 Oct 2019

Most Popular

Aston Martin Vanquish

2019 Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato Shooting Brake review 

Extrovert, extravagant and extraordinary to drive, this might just be the world’s ultimate estate car 
16 Oct 2019
Volkswagen T-Roc

Volkswagen T-Roc R review - ever wish the Golf R was a little bit taller?

If you like the Golf R and don’t mind SUVs, you’ll probably like the Volkswagen T-Roc R too
17 Oct 2019
Porsche Macan

Porsche Macan Turbo review

All the usual Macan virtues, but no longer the best performance SUV to drive
16 Oct 2019
Advertisement Feature

Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport: the best by design

That the new Eagle F1 SuperSport range of Ultra Ultra High Performance tyres is taking the trackday market by storm shouldn’t be a surprise – it’s sim…
11 Sep 2019