For 2012, the Subaru Outback Sport model has been retired, replaced by a new Impreza Sport model that combines a specific set of options. But Motor Authority has learned that for 2013, the Subaru XV model unveiled two weeks ago at the Frankfurt Motor Show will come to the States--although not under that name.

In discussions last night with Michael McHale, director of corporate communications for Subaru of America, he revealed that the company will add the XV to the Impreza lineup for the 2013 model year. That will give the Impreza range a more differentiated model with off-road capability, including a higher ride height, unique wheels, and both wheel-arch and rocker-panel cladding available in a contrasting color.

For the States, McHale said, it may even have a unique front grille and fascia, though he declined to reveal specifics. He also suggested it would be renamed, since the company's only alphabetic name is on the upcoming BRZ sports car. All of Subaru's sedans, hatchbacks, and sport utilities have model names that are words, and the XV would be likely to conform to that practice.

The production version of the Subaru XV to be sold in Asia and Europe was previewed by the Subaru SV Concept unveiled at this year's Shanghai Auto Show. This year's transitional 2012 Subaru Impreza Sport model, on the other hand, is a five-door Impreza hatchback that includes a specification combination of Impreza options.

It includes an All-Weather package and 17-inch alloy wheels to a group of other options, including standard roof rails, fog lights, and modified rocker panels. Inside, the seat fabric is unique to the Sport.

The now-retired Outback Sport model, the only Outback not based on the Legacy mid-size platform, was essentially a last-generation Impreza five-door with painted body accents and a few options.

The 2013 U.S. version of the XV should add some welcome distinctiveness and muscle to underscore Subaru's all-wheel drive technology and light-duty off-road abilities to the compact Impreza line.

The Outback Sport is dead; long live the ... well, the whatever-they-call-it.


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