Future Cars: Subaru’s 2018 Ascent Into 3-Row SUV Territory

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Remember the original Subaru Tribeca SUV? Gosh, it was an odd-looking thing with front-end styling that resembled a flying urinal on wheels. It was a design miss-step from a largely conservative company.

Fast-forward to 2017, and the Japanese automaker is reimagining their large SUV, albeit with none of the polarizing styling of old. Based on the Ascent Concept recently revealed in New York, it’s looking like a promising cash-cow for Subaru. So let’s take an illustrated preview based on the study and prototype models.

Dynamic X Solid Design

Our spy-shot based illustration reveals the production variant will be faithful to the Concept (oh, there’s a Subaru first!). Front-end styling is dominated by a bold, trapezoidal chrome grille, hawk-eye LED headlamps and a chiseled hood.

Some of the side surfacing, like the chunky fender flares have been softened, but the general theme from the concept car is still here. There’s more than a hint of Honda CRV around the upper haunches, but overall it’s an typically safe, Subaru design.

Under The Skin

Being based on Subaru’s new global platform, tangible benefits will come in the form of safety, fuel economy and spacious seven-seat packaging. Close in size to Ford’s Explorer, it will appeal to those who found the old Tribeca a tad on the snug side, not to mention too minivan-esque in looks. Expect interior styling to be toned down for production.

Boxer Turbo Performance

One of the talking points at the New York auto show, was Subaru’s new 2.4-litre, direct-injected and turbocharged H4 engine. Following Mazda’s lead with their boosted, four-pot CX-9, the Ascent will eschew the traditional SUV six-cylinder motor in the name of efficiency.

Whilst tipped to pump out some 300 horses, the new mill will be tuned in the name of torque, rather than neck-snapping performance. This will ensure linear power delivery to all four wheels with the availability of X-mode for rough terrain, although what transmission it will use is up for guesswork.

School-run Rivals

There’s probably too many to list in this crowded segment, however main competition will come in form of the Mazda CX-9, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, The Simpsons Canyonero (we kid you), Dodge Durango, GMC Acadia, Volkswagen Atlas and Hyundai Santa Fe - just to name a few.

Unfortunately, those living outside of North America are unlikely to see the Ascent, as it is primary a USA-developed offering. However, an official reveal and further information will surface in the coming months. Expect sales starting later in the year.

What are your views on Subaru’s Tribeca replacement and more importantly, who would love to see that new 2.4 DiT Boxer engine in the WRX, XV and Legacy?

By Josh Byrnes

Photo Renderings Copyright Carscoops / Josh Byrnes

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Subaru Ascent Concept