As compelling as it is for Subaru to lower their CAFE numbers (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) – I doubt they will bring the cute, little Subaru Pleo Plus to the United States. With that said, it would be awesome if they did… for consumers and for Subaru.
The Subaru Pleo Plus is a Daihatsu Mira slightly altered. For people in North America who remember Daihatsu, this is a completely different automaker overseas. Daihatsu is a high quality automaker who makes some of the most revered “Kei” cars in Japan.
A Kei car is tiny, even smaller than a MINI – yet, they are able to haul people and cargo better than some larger vehicles. They are super-mini vehicles that are remarkably efficient and (most) are a hoot to drive. What makes the Daihatsu Mira/Subaru Pleo Plus so compelling to me is that it is offered with AWD (All Wheel Drive) and it gets over 70 MPG… in Japan.
Even if, after weighing the Subaru Pleo Plus down with extra beef to qualify for our high EPA and DOT standards, the Subaru Pleo Plus gets 50 mpg – it would still be worth it.
The motorcycle-like 650 cc, three-cylinder engine makes a paltry 51 horsepower and cranks out about 44 lbs-feet of torque. The Subaru Pleo Plus has a start-stop system and utilizes regenerative braking along with a continuously variable (CVT) transmission to produce maximum mpg. No word on a more exciting manual transmission yet.
One of the main features of the Subaru Pleo Plus is its information screen that advises you how to drive most efficiently. It’s interactive and an impressive bit of kit on a vehicle that costs less than $10,000 ($13,000+ for the AWD) in Japan. Additional options will most likely be limited.
I know it’s wishful thinking to get a Kei-car driving on North American roads, but it’s something that I think will save us a ton of money. Going smaller is a quick way to become greener. Imagine if, along with electric and hybrid vehicles, we had a few cars that got over 50 mpg!
Imagine if it had AWD too!
Check out Roman and I as we play with the unique Subaru XV!