Subaru Viziv concept

Subaru still isn't quite sure what it should be. Is it a maker of tough crossovers? Or rear-drive coupes? Or all-wheel-drive sedans and hatchbacks? Enter Viziv, what one might call Subaru's response to the Range Rover Evoque. The premium compact crossover concept could provide strong clues about a future production model.

It's very clever beneath the surface. Linked to a flat-four diesel engine are three electric motors, one connected directly to the engine and the other two driving the rear wheels. So it's 4-wheel drive, but it's also able to provide pure electric running at low speeds.

More intriguingly still, those rear electric motors provide torque vectoring, so they can be juggled to make the Subaru handle really well at speed. Torque vectoring is technology that Porsche uses: This savvy solution from Subaru has real potential.

More coverage from the Geneva Motor Show

2013 Subaru Viziv

Click to enlarge pictureSubaru Viziv concept (© Magic Car Pics/Microsoft)

Subaru Viziv concept

Click to enlarge pictureSubaru Viziv concept (© Magic Car Pics/Microsoft)

Subaru Viziv concept

Click to enlarge pictureSubaru Viziv concept (© Magic Car Pics/Microsoft)

Subaru Viziv concept

What is it? Viziv may be hard to say, but it's apparently derived from the phrase "Vision for Innovation" — which essentially means the Viziv may provide a few clues to the future design philosophy of the Subaru brand.

What's hot? It's really hard to say what's hot and what's not. Clearly it looks dramatic. As with many concepts of this nature, the Subaru crossover is merely a design study, although that could change.

What's not? Subaru claims the Viziv represents a direction of new designs and new technologies enhancing the Subaru brand into the future. It's a future-generation crossover concept embodying the brand values of "enjoyment and peace of mind." Be honest, Subaru, you made all that up just now, didn't you?

How much and when? This isn't something you can order from your Subaru dealer. Yet. But as with concepts of the past, if enough show-goers and customers provide positive feedback, Subaru might be encouraged to move forward toward production. So if you like it, jump on a flight to Geneva. (Although truth be told, Subaru would probably prefer it if you simply "liked" it on Facebook.)

MSN Autos' verdict: If the Viziv is providing clues about a future model, we like the look of those clues. This is exactly what a charismatic brand such as Subaru should be doing.