The new-generation Subaru XV crossover model will debut mid-way through 2017, according to the Japanese brand, and buyers can expect a very similar formula to the current model.
That means a taller ride height, extra body cladding and brighter colours - but not a new body on top to offer better space and practicality than the regular Impreza hatch.
Masahiko Inoue, project senior manager of the Subaru product and portfolio planning division at Fuji Heavy Industries, confirmed to CarAdvice that the new XV will follow the same strategy as the current version – essentially a raised version of the Impreza hatch that looks tougher through the use of exterior styling differentiators.
“[It will be the] same level as current Impreza and XV. The idea is the same – next-generation Impreza, next-generation XV,” Inoue said.
“Same concept, up and cute, higher road clearance, and some cladding, and some cute colours,” he said.
When asked if there would be any changes to the bodywork, Inoue stated that the XV would not have sheetmetal differences, though there will be additional plastics that will give it the more rugged look expected of a small SUV – expect the same treatment, with new front and rear bumpers, wheel-arch extensions and chunkier looking wheels.
“Body is the same, basically the same. Some cladding or something, bumpers. Same body,” he said.
“This one [the current XV] is a very exciting shape, with same body,” he said, clearly suggesting that the current XV has been a great formula, so why waste money creating a new body?
Inoue suggested the new XV would be more differentiated than the current model, though.
“Funny wheel design, bright colour,” he said would continue, but “this time the front grille – currently the front grille is almost the same – (but with the new XV) it will be more aggressive.”
This news seemingly goes against what the brand has been leading the public to believe, particularly given the company revealed its stunning XV Concept at the 2016 Geneva motor show. That concept looked more differentiated to the Impreza, with different headlights and tail-lights, for a start.
Still, Subaru Australia managing director Nick Senior made it clear the new XV will play a vital part for local operations.
“How important is that segment? Super important,” he said of the small SUV segment, which so far this year has accounted for almost 70,000 sales locally. The current XV averages 550 units per month.
Senior said that buyers don’t really see those sorts of SUVs by size brackets, rather by pricing and positioning.
“As much as the XV currently is arguably a quarter or half a size bigger than the (Mazda) CX-3 and (Honda) HR-V, I think you could also argue customers don’t see it that way, so the opportunity for XV in that booming segment is pretty strong,” he said.
“You could argue on size that there should a light SUV, a small, a small-plus, a medium and a large. I think it’s a bit frustrating when you have CX-3 versus XV in particular — people say ‘I’m shopping’ and the XV is a considerably bigger vehicle than CX-3.”
As for equipment and interior tweaks, Senior indicated that the XV will follow the same trajectory as the Impreza.
“I think the extent of the changes in the new Impreza, I think it’s fair to speculate it’s going to be mirrored in XV,” he said.