The dramatically doored Subaru VIZIV Concept provides a clear window into the future of a brand that is at a bit of a crossroads here in the U.S. Looking at Subaru’s two most recently introduced products—and I’m not counting the 2013 Subaru BRZ—we see the company’s foray into the mainstream is having a hard time staying afloat, while the entry that hews closer to its quirky/AWD reputation is doing relatively well.
Consider: The 2013 Subaru Impreza, which looks like a fairly conventional compact sedan on the outside, is enduring a sophomore slump in its second season on the market and is behind last year’s sales pace by 27.5 percent through February. On the other hand, the 2013 Subaru Crosstrek XV, a relatively distinctive crossover in its first full year on sale, has managed to climb ahead of rivals like the 2013 Kia Sportage, 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan, 2013 Nissan Juke and 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.
Which brings us back to the Subaru VIZIV Concept, which shows the kind of taut, dynamic sheet metal that’s been successful on the Crosstrek and also was well-received on the 2011 Advanced Tourer Concept. Now, per Subaru, the VIZIV introduces “the new design direction … that will take the Subaru brand into the future,” and that should be good news for owners. After all, if the Geneva concept is any clue, the future look means clean, flowing lines matched to distinctive lighting treatments and a trendy grille shape.
It also means updating some of the brand’s hallmark technologies—as again illustrated in the Subaru VIZIV Concept.