Mike Stevens | Sep 30, 2011

Earlier this year, Subaru confirmed that it will launch a hybrid model by 2013. The details are vague, but with hybrid pioneer Toyota as a partner, it appeared likely that its Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) technology would play a major role.

This week, reports out Europe suggest the carmaker will instead go its own way, producing a 'mild hybrid' drivetrain instead of adapting Toyota's 'full hybrid' HSD system to suit.

Like Honda's Civic Hybrid, a mild hybrid system would not allow the vehicle to run on electric power alone, focusing instead on improving overall fuel efficiency.

It is unclear which of its conventional petrol engines Subaru will use with its hybrid technology. Earlier reports suggest the 2.5 litre engine is in line for a hybrid makeover, although the 2.0 litre engine offered in Japan and Australia seems a better option if fuel economy is the ultimate aim.

According to British news site Just Auto, an unnamed Subaru executive has confirmed that the carmaker will launch a Liberty-based (Legacy in Japan) hybrid in the Japanese market in 2013.

Whether there is any truth to the report remains to be seen - but the prospect of Subaru not taking advantage of Toyota's hugely successful hybrid technology is unlikely.

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