Like almost every business, the exclusive distributor of Subaru in the Philippines, Motor Image Pilipinas―a subsidiary of Tan Chong International Ltd. (TCIL)―had its 2020 plans derailed because of the unexpected pandemic that struck the globe. Off to a good start, the Subaru Forester GT Edition was rolled out in the country early in March this year, right before the pandemic hit. The succeeding planned launches, however, had to be pushed back as a result of the business operations standstill that ensued.
Resilience has been a key word through those tough times and Motor Image and Subaru Philippines have demonstrated this. Unfazed by the situation, TCIL chairman and managing director Glenn Tan shows optimism about Subaru's performance in 2021 and beyond. Despite the more relaxed sales quota of dealerships nationwide for next year, over 1,500 units of Subaru vehicles are still expected to be sold by the company.
To achieve this, it is crucial for the company to make up for the lost time and delayed unveiling of new vehicles. So, for the next 18 months, six Subaru vehicles are expected to join the current local lineup. These are the 2021 models of the Subaru XV, Subaru WRX, Subaru Evoltis (known as Subaru Ascent in North America), Subaru Outback, Subaru Levorg, and the all-new Subaru BRZ sports car.
Reports have it that the refreshed Subaru XV, the 7-seater Subaru Evoltis and the all-new Subaru Outback will be rolled out within the first half of 2021, while the Subaru BRZ sportscar will make its entrance in the Philippines by the fourth quarter of 2021. The all-new Subaru WRX and the next-generation Levorg will debut in the first half of 2022. Here's a quick look at these upcoming Subaru models.
Subaru XV Compact SUV
Earlier this year, the Japanese carmaker had previewed the 2021 Subaru XV with obvious nips and tucks and tech upgrades. Its front end gets a new grille pattern and a redesigned front bumper, with a new cladding and more defined corners. It has also been reported that the Philippine-spec Subaru XV will be offered with the trademark EyeSight driver-assist technology. The SUV's suspension setup has also been retuned, and a dual-function X-MODE and SI-DRIVE have been fitted.
Subaru Evoltis Midsize Crossover
The Subaru Evoltis is a 3-row 7-seater midsize crossover, known as the Ascent in North America. Among its highlights are its impressively quiet engine with less vibration, courtesy of the Subaru Global Platform on which it was based. The Philippine-spec Evoltis comes with captain's seats on the second row. A 2.4L turbocharged BOXER engine is found under the hood, churning out a maximum 260hp and 377Nm of peak torque. The upcoming Subaru Evoltis is equipped with Active Torque Vectoring, and given the vehicle's symmetrical powertrain layout, this makes for dynamic stability even at high speeds. EyeSight is a standard fitment. According to reports, the Subaru Evoltis will be imported from North America, but will have a reasonable price tag of below PHP 4 million.
Subaru Outback SUV
The Subaru Outback is one of the most popular Subaru offerings in the country and its latest iteration will finally arrive by the second quarter of next year. The Philippine-spec of the ute is powered by a normally aspirated 2.5L FB25 engine that can yield as much as 182hp and 238Nm of torque. Like its Evoltis kin, the new Outback's powertrain is now based on the Subaru Global Platform. This gives the outback 70% increase in torsional stiffness and 100% increase in both lateral and rear subframe rigidity, which boost its sports utility capabilities. Its cabin is Nappa-leather-clad for a more comfortable ride quality. As with the other Subaru vehicles, EyeSight driver-assist technology comes standard.
Subaru BRZ Sportscar
Set to arrive in the fourth quarter of 2021, details are still scarce about the second-generation Subaru BRZ. Reports have it that the Subaru rear-wheel drive sportscar now has a slightly bigger 2.4L naturally aspirated flat-four engine under the hood, but no turbo has been noted. This BOXER engine spews out 228hp of maximum output and 250Nm of peak torque, mated to either the standard 6-speed manual, or a 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters. Although the new-gen BRZ still sits on the platform of the first-generation model, it has gained elements from the Subaru Global Platform which give it increased torsional rigidity of at least 50%. More aluminum on its body keeps the weight of the sportscar down. Also standard with the BRZ is a limited slip rear differential. The automatic transmission variant will get EyeSight as standard as well.
Subaru Levorg Compact Sports Wagon
(Image credit: subaru.jp)
Awarded the 2020-2021 Japan Car of the Year, the Subaru Levorg sports wagon runs on a 1.8L turbocharged 4-cylinder BOXER engine that churns out a powerful dose of 177hp maximum output and 350Nm of maximum torque. The newly developed CB18 engine is hooked to a CVT that sends power to all four wheels. The Levorg is said to be the first Subaru vehicle to boast a fully digital instrument cluster, and instead of the regular camera-based EyeSight, it features an evolved version of the technology: EyeSight X, which allows for increased autonomy. It isn't certain yet, however, whether this advanced tech will be offered in the upcoming Philippine spec of the Subaru Levorg, especially since the country isn't ready yet for autonomous vehicles. Also based on the Subaru Global Platform, the 2021 Subaru Levorg seems to be a practical, comfortable and safe family hauler with the looks of a rally racer.
Subaru WRX Sports Sedan
The forthcoming Subaru WRX sports sedan is based on the Subaru Levorg sports wagon's platform, so basically the all-new Subaru Levorg serves as a preview of the new-generation Subaru WRX. Set to debut sometime next year, little is known about the specifications of this sporty sedan, except that it will be powered by a 2.4L BOXER engine. There are speculations that the engine will likely be a turbocharged version of the Subaru BRZ's FA24. The Subaru WRX STI is also expected to arrive next to the WRX, and international reports suggest that this powerful car can produce up to 400hp of maximum output.
With all these on Subaru Philippines' plate, the next 18 months are certainly exciting times for Filipino Subaru enthusiasts.