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The Subaru Sport Mobility Concept Is a Modern Subaru XT

With a centrally-mounted driver’s seat, a slight lift, and an EV powertrain, this concept is a funky throwback to Subaru's past.

The Japan Mobility Show (JMS) is going completely nuts with incredible concept cars and surprise reveals. Mazda, Toyota, Nissan, and Honda have all tossed their hats into the ring with beautiful, nostalgic throwbacks as well as alien oddities. But Subaru went its own way with the Sport Mobility Concept, pitching a funky, lifted coupe designed to go everywhere—in true Subaru tradition.

It’s certainly among the weirder of JMS concepts, and has different goals to the rest. Instead of being a sports car, Subaru says the Sport Mobility Concept embodies “the pleasure of going anywhere, anytime, and driving at will in everyday to extraordinary environments.” Thus, it isn’t low-slung, sleek, and sporty, nor is it necessarily the WRX of the future. It’s blocky, muscular, slightly tall, and embodies the peculiar company that Subaru is. Most of all, it looks like a modern Subaru XT.

Stepping back in time for a moment, Subaru was indeed weird before it was ever cool. The Subaru Brat was strange, the Justy was an adorable cheap hatchback, and the XT was a bizarre, lightly off-road capable two-plus-two with selectable four-wheel drive that looked like the Fiat X1/9 we have at home. It wasn’t always WRX STIs, SVXs, and BRZs. Thus, the Sport Mobility Concept is a look back, as much as it is forward.

1985 Subaru XT 4WD Turbo Subaru

With a mix of gently curved surfaces and strongly defined wheel arches, the Sport Mobility Concept appears to be battling between ruggedness and politeness. The effect goes further with a subtle lift and huge wheels, propping the compact two-door up on muscular legs. The driver’s seat is mounted centrally to offer maximum visibility, but there aren’t any photos of the interior to show it. Either way, it’s the car equivalent of Michael Cera with a lumberjack beard and axe.

Subaru doesn’t say if it will build the concept or not. But if it did, people would probably find it weird, but cool. Just like the best Subarus often are.

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