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by Tim Beissmann

The Subaru XV Concept has lit up the Subaru stand at the 2011 Australian International Motor Show in Melbourne.

Unveiled to the world at April’s Auto Shanghai 2011, the Subaru XV Concept is a compact four-door, five-seat high-riding hatch based on the all-new Subaru Impreza hatch.

While no production plans have been set in stone, Subaru says the XV Concept “points to a possible new generation sub-compact Sports Utility Vehicle”.

Subaru Australia’s managing director, Nick Senior, said a production vehicle based on the XV Concept’s design could open up a new section of the market.

“XV Concept could have huge potential if it were to become a reality. Firstly Outback, then Forester, proved Subaru’s ability as a pioneer in the SUV market,” Mr Senior said.

“XV Concept could well offer similar success, with a different, bold approach to the sub-compact SUV arena.”

The XV Concept sports the Japanese brand’s new hexagonal grille and ‘hawk-eye’ headlights. Black lower bumpers and wheel arch protectors add to the off-road theme, while distinctive five-spoke alloys with clear blue centre caps contribute to the concept’s road presence.

The interior has a light and spacious atmosphere, emphasised by the full-length glass roof, clear roof rails and white leather upholstery.

The centre console features a large touchscreen display with all of the car’s navigation, audio and vehicle information.

Under the bonnet is Subaru’s new 2.0-litre four-cylinder Boxer engine, which produces 110kW of power and 196Nm of torque. It is teamed with a continuously variable transmission, mirroring the drivetrain setup of the new 2012 Subaru Impreza.