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Subaru ready to climb to new SUV heights with Ascent

Large 3-row, 7-seat sport utility will be exclusive to North America

Subaru Ascent concept

Subaru is climbing back into the mid-sized 3-row, 7-passenger SUV segment with Ascent, a concept of which was shown at the New York International Auto Show.

The last Subaru to wear that mantle was the awkwardly-named Tribeca (originally B9 Tribeca, which was even more awkward), presumably after that rugged, outdoorsy wilderness of “TRIangle BElow CAnal street” on Manhattan. Its last year was 2014.

Using a version of Subaru’s Global Platform, Ascent improves on Tribeca’s overall presence with an overall length just over five metres (5,049 mm), riding on a 2,971-mm wheelbase, and a height of 1,839 mm (just over six feet). A width of 1,989 mm makes it feasible to sit three abreast both in middle and rear seating rows.

It is due to receive power from a new turbocharged direct injection boxer engine — a 2.4-cylinder 4-cylinder that will likely make some 250 hp. The final production version of the North American exclusive Ascent will be unveiled at this fall’s Los Angeles Auto Show, before the large SUV enters production in Indiana.

The theme of design inside and out is “flowing,” following Subaru’s “Dynamic x Solid” direction that was first seen on the VIZIV concept. It is exemplified by muscular fenders and a large, upright grille. Theatre seating makes room for three in the rear row with two captain’s chairs in the middle row (which reportedly can be swapped out for a 3-position bench to turn it into an 8-seater).

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