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Frankfurt show: Subaru’s high-riding XV confirmed

Sketchy: Subaru’s new XV small crossover vehicle will make its formal debut at next month's Frankfurt motor show.

Impreza-based XV SUV set to take a bow on Subaru’s Frankfurt show stand

10 Aug 2011

FRANKFURT will host the formal debut of Subaru’s new XV small crossover vehicle that will be tasked with expanding Fuji Heavy Industries’ ascendancy in the compact SUV market.

The Japanese company today released a teaser sketch of part of the vehicle and confirmed that a European-market production XV would go on show at the bi-annual German car show in September.

While Subaru Australia officially is saying the high-riding XV is not yet confirmed for Australia, GoAuto understands the vehicle is odds-on to drop into Subaru showrooms in early 2012 alongside the new, bigger fourth-generation Impreza on which it is based.

The XV was shown in concept form at the recent Australian International Motor Show in Melbourne, where Subaru said it had received a warm reception from show-goers.

Judging from the little that can be seen in the sketch, the production version looks faithful to the concept, which was first seen at April’s Auto Shanghai 2011.

2 center imageLeft: Subaru XV concept.

With the exception of the black plastic fender flares, many of the body lines and the headlights are identical to the Impreza, which is expected to be launched in Australia in the final quarter of this year.

The brief media release accompanying the sketch gives no clues to the technical attributes of the XV, but logic says it will be equipped with similar powertrains to the Impreza.

In the UK, where the Subaru XV is said to be locked in for a January launch, three four-cylinder boxer engines have been mentioned in dispatches – 1.6 and 2.0-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel. The concept shown at Shanghai and Melbourne had the 2.0-litre petrol engine, mated to a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT).

The XV will be pitched under the Forester and Outback in the Subaru range, giving the company a three-pronged armoury in the compact SUV segment and taking the fight up to the likes of Mitsubishi’s ASX and the Hyundai ix35.

The Forester has been the top-selling compact SUV in Australia since it wrested the crown from the Toyota RAV4 in 2008.

So far this year, Subaru has sold 7574 Foresters and 3010 Outbacks, giving it 15.6 per cent of the compact SUV segment. The Hyundai ix35 is sitting in second place on 6806 sales, while the RAV4 is third (6472).

Nissan is credited with the biggest share – 17.1 per cent – after selling 6430 X-Trails and 3652 Dualis hatches, although much of the Dualis volume is from front-drive variants as Nissan’s substitute small car.

The Subaru will be strictly all-wheel drive, in line with its ‘symmetrical all-wheel drive’ policy in Australia.

Subaru previously sold the XV under the Impreza umbrella, but has chosen to give it standalone sub-branding in the same way that WRX and STi will be positioned separately.

The XV concept was bigger in most dimensions than the previous XV, gaining the new Impreza’s stretched 2635mm wheelbase – up 20mm – and an extra 20mm of overall length.

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