What we know about the incoming Subaru Evoltis (so far)

Where did Subaru get the Evoltis name? If you’re a funny person and you’re thinking of adding five as a reference to an extremely famous cartoon in the ‘90s, you’re not the first one to think so.

But beyond the kid, the name Evoltis was actually trademarked in the U.S. in 2018, believed to be a new hybrid vehicle from the star-spangled brand. That didn’t materialize as North America was given the Crosstek Hybrid instead, also known locally as the Subaru XV sans the electrified drivetrain. From then on, no news about the Evoltis name has surfaced – not until Subaru Philippines announced an upcoming seven-seat crossover of the same name.

The Subaru Evoltis is the Philippine version of the Ascent, which made its debut towards the end of 2017 at the North American International Auto Show. It is the direct successor of the Tribeca crossover – a midsize 7-seat crossover that once filled Subaru Philippines’ lineup. Yes, there was a three-row Subaru before, but it never really took off.

This time, Subaru is trying to penetrate the 7-seater segment once more with the Evoltis. But why did the company drop the Ascent name?

Its Evoltis for Asia, Ascent for the U.S.

We asked Motor Image Pilipinas (MIP), the local distributor of Subaru vehicles, about this nomenclature woe and we got a pretty straightforward answer: the company just can’t use the Ascent name here.

Apparently, Subaru North America has trademarked the name for the SUV-loving U.S. market and couldn’t be used for the Philippine lineup even though both are Subarus and the very same car, at that. Not surprising, though, as there have been a lot of cars globally that shared the same fate of name-appropriation per market. One example of that was the Miata in the U.S. that’s sold as the Mazda Roadster in its domestic market in Japan.

As a result of this restriction, Motor Image, the umbrella company of MIP that covers the Asian market, had to use a different name for the all-new crossover, hence, the birth of the Evoltis name tag.

But theyre one and the same car

One more thing we’ve learned with our talk with MIP is that the incoming Subaru Evoltis will actually be produced in Subaru’s plant in Lafayette, Indiana – the same plant where the Ascent is produced. This means that the Evoltis will be the only U.S.-made model in Subaru Philippines’ lineup of Japanese-made cars.

And yes, since they’re one and the same car, the Evoltis will be equipped with Subaru’s newly developed FA24 engine. It’s a turbocharged flat-four Boxer engine with timing chain and aluminum alloy cylinder block and heads. Power output is rated at 260hp and 376Nm of torque. Transmission will certainly be Subaru’s Lineartronic CVT, sending power to all wheels via the famed all-wheel-drive system.

Expected release and price point

It’s no secret that Filipinos love SUVs – midsize SUVs, specifically. The Subaru Evoltis is slated to target that market but because it’s a crossover, you get an advantage of ride refinement and better cabin material quality than the usual midsize SUVs.

Subaru Philippines is also expected to give its biggest model the best tech features it can provide, which include the EyeSight Driver Assist system. Let’s not divulge on the specifics yet, but it’s safe to expect the best from the range-topper.

As for price point, MIP couldn’t provide estimates at this point. But considering that the crossover utility vehicle will compete against ladder-frame SUVs, expect the Evoltis to go above the P2-million mark. Launch was slated for Q4 2020 but with the current COVID-19 pandemic that shut down the operations of the Indiana plant, this might be pushed towards the end of the year or early 2021.

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