It’s good to be Subaru right now. The Japanese automaker claims it just posted its 64th consecutive month of record-breaking sales, and the numbers only continue to climb. To keep the party going and spread its message of love to larger families, Subaru is looking to expand its lineup. The Tokyo-based automaker is starting with a follow-up for the Tribeca, its first attempt at a three-row SUV, which is previewed by the Subaru Ascent SUV Concept shown at the 2017 New York auto show.
If you’ve followed recent auto show coverage, the Ascent should wear a familiar face. Subaru’s teased the Ascent for quite a while now, starting back in 2015 with the stylistically similar Viziv concept. We got our next peek at the 2016 Los Angeles show with the Viziv-7 concept. The Viziv-7 was big, bulky, and very much a concept. The “Ascent” name is also new, and Subaru confirms this is the badge we can expect to see on the showroom version.
Aside from a few conceptual flourishes here and there, the Ascent looks ready for production. The flared, muscular proportions from the Viziv are still there, but it’s toned down. The Ascent concept is smaller in nearly every external capacity, cutting 5.9 inches off the length (198.8 inches), 1.6 inches off the width (78.3 inches), and 0.7 inches from the wheelbase. However, it is a little taller following a 0.4-inch vertical growth spurt.
Underneath the new bodywork beats an all-new 2.4-liter turbocharged flat-four engine. Subaru is keeping power figures and fuel economy close to its chest, but it’s safe to assume it packs more power and torque than the 256-hp 3.6-liter flat-six currently offered in the Legacy and Outback, the automaker’s largest vehicles at the moment.
Inside, things get a little flamboyant and more conceptual. The curved dash features exhaust tip-shaped vents with a blue glow and is populated with a large touchscreen with four knobs that controls the Ascent’s functions. Touchpads replace the common window and mirror controls on the doors as well, a detail unlikely to make it to production. Additionally, the gauge cluster appears to be entirely digital. We’re also given a neat side-view of the three seating rows, including the middle two captain’s chairs.
Subaru claims the Ascent makes its market debut in 2018, so expect the production model to make its auto show debut in the fall at Tokyo or Los Angeles or in early winter at Detroit.