There was a time when station wagons were cool, roughly between the years 1957 and 1959. The sinister looking (in a good way) many passenger fitting vehicles helped define an era of American automobiles. Later on these same vehicles were used to make awesome hot rods and even more sinister rat rods (a popular past time in the appropriately rust colored Phoenix Arizona desert). But at some point in the 1960s the once proud breed of vehicles morphed into something less threatening, and with more wood paneling.
Later in the 1990s to present day the station wagon has taken a more spherical shape in the back, and lost the wood paneling. This is a slight improvement, but a slight improvement in the same way that wonderfully rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic would have been. But the tide may be turning.
Debuting this past week at the Tokyo Motor Show, the Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept has recreated the station wagon for the modern era. Not only is the vehicle filled with cutting edge techno-engineering, but the exterior design is something to relish, something that will turn heads on the street. The station wagon has been made cool again. Maybe even sinister…in a good way.
Resting low to the ground, a hot rod meets batmobile meets family transportation device, the Tourer concept really does offer something new. While it is not exactly a call back to the fins and sloping curves of the 1950s classic wagon style, it does hearken something of the past, and that is muscle. Following in the footsteps of the most recent models to emerge under the Dodge name, the Subaru Advanced Tourer Concept seeks to claim a piece of American muscle legacy. Of course this legacy is not that of Subaru, and it is not even that of the station wagon in general, but it is a legacy of design, a design which brings to mind strength and style.
On the inside this vehicle becomes an observatory upon the world, the entire roof being composed of uninterrupted glass, opening the driver and passenger’s eyes to the world speeding by. Whether you live in the Central Phoenix Valley or in the desert proper, the glass “dome” will either illuminate the concrete jungle of the central corridor or frame the cacti and red volcanic mountains of the Phoenix Valley wilderness.
Various textures such as wood and metal are incorporated into the inside layout to produce ample ambiance. A large monitor is built into the steering wheel allowing access to maps, television and internet services. Information will be available at hand to support contemporary lifestyles even in the car.
Under the hood we have an all wheel drive hybrid system. A single motor system was employed for its simple structure and light weight. This system has an Electric Vehicle EV mode which allows AWD motion using only the motor at start-ups and low-speed drives. When decelerating, the regenerating mechanism uses the motor as a power generator.
Phoenix Valley auto enthusiasts can keep an eye out for a production model Tourer concept to be hitting Phoenix Valley showroom floors sometime in the near future.