Remember the Subaru Tribeca? It was Subaru’s three-row SUV foray way back in 2006. Sales started slow, then quickly fell, petering out in 2013 — the last full year of production, when dealerships sold only 1,598 units, leaving Subaru without an entry in the ultra-hot seven-passenger SUV market. That’s set to change later this year with the Ascent, previewed at the New York auto show as the Ascent SUV concept.
Subaru is calling the Ascent a styling concept, with an overall appearance that doesn’t stray far from the automaker’s already established corporate design. The grille, headlights and body lines are all reminiscent of current Subaru models. We expect the interior to change the most before production; the touchscreen window and lock controls and instrument panel will likely be replaced with more traditional equipment.
Both the concept and production Subaru Ascent ride on a modified version of the Subaru Global Platform, with power coming from an all-new turbocharged, direct-injected engine in Subaru’s favored horizontally opposed layout. Its dimensions — 198.8 inches long, 78.3 inches wide and 72.4 inches tall — put the Ascent directly in line with competitors like the Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse and Mazda CX-9.
We don’t expect complete details until the Los Angeles auto show late this year when we see Ascent in its final form. Until then, try to forget the Tribeca — there will soon be a new three-row SUV in Subaru’s stable.