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Subaru's Tokyo concept surfs trends

Subaru announces a concept car for the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show called the Hybrid Tourer Concept.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
2 min read

Subaru Hybrid Tourer Concept
The Hybrid Tourer Concept debuts at the 2009 Tokyo Motor Show. Subaru

For the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show, Subaru built this Hybrid Tourer Concept, which manages to combine many of the latest trends in automotive development. Most major manufacturers are working on some kind of sporty touring car these days. Witness the BMW 5 series Gran Turismo, the Acura ZDX, and the Audi A5 Sportback. The Subaru Hybrid Tourer Concept appears to aim at similar ground, although its profile is less sporty. The gullwing doors are a unique feature for a production car, but not so much for a concept.

Subaru Hybrid Tourer Concept
The Hybrid Tourer Concept uses gullwing doors. Subaru

As its name suggests, the car is also designed as a hybrid, using a system under development at Subaru that would combine two electric motors with a turbo-charged 2-liter four-cylinder boxer-style engine. That boxer engine is a signature Subaru piece, along with the all-wheel-drive that would be standard on the car. But Subaru is using the concept to introduce a new gas engine, with direct injection, that should find its way into production vehicles.

As a full hybrid, the Tourer Concept would be able to drive under electric power at low speeds before having the engine kick in. Along with the new engine, Subaru is also introducing a new continuously variable transmission, called Lineartronic, designed specifically for all-wheel-drive vehicles.

The Hybrid Tourer Concept also serves as a platform for a new driver assistance technology being developed by Subaru called EyeSight. This system is designed to monitor the terrain ahead using a stereo-optic camera, while at the same time communicating with infrastructure and other cars. The system would keep the driver aware of upcoming traffic conditions and hazardous situations, and enable adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning.