DESPITE ANNOUNCING IN 2005 that it would launch a hybrid version of the Liberty, new reports this week suggest that Subaru is considering a switch to the Impreza platform for its first hybrid model, due in 2012.
US magazine Road & Track has quoted sources at Subaru this week, claiming that the change is due to issues with the Liberty chassis not being able to properly accommodate Subaru's hybrid drivetrain.
It is unclear which of its conventional petrol engines Subaru will use with its hybrid technology. While the Road & Track report suggests the 2.5 litre engine is in line for a hybrid makeover, the 2.0 litre engine offered in Japan and Australia seems a better option if fuel economy is the ultimate aim.
Subaru's Hybrid Tourer Concept, unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show last year, mates a 2.0 litre direct-injected flat-four boxer engine and permanent AWD drivetrain with a pair of electric motors and a dramatic gullwinged body.
Subaru has dabbled in hybrids before the Hybrid Tourer, unveiling the petrol-electric B5 TPH concept at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2005, however this is the first solid indication from the Japanese company that it is committed to the technology.
Toyota, which holds a 16 percent stake in Subaru's parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), is providing technological assistance for the project.