At this year’s New York Auto Show, Subaru debuted the Ascent, a new three-row crossover what will likely hit showrooms sometime next year. But this isn’t the first time the brand has offered a three-row family vehicle.
Subaru fans may remember the Tribeca, a crossover that was launched back in 2005, but wasn’t well received by the buying public. By the time it was axed in 2014, the sales had dwindled even more and the hook came as no surprise.
But now, with a new vehicle set to fill the role of the old Tribeca, it’s interesting to look back on the lessons the company learned from that model and how the new Ascent will be a whole new experience in comparison.
“The market has changed significantly over the past few years,” said Ted Lalka, from Subaru Canada’s Product Planning and Marketing team. “When we were making the Tribeca, it must have been well over 15 years ago, while this car is much more relatable to what consumers today want.”
The styling, for example is a major point of emphasis with the new car. Subaru acknowledged that the Tribeca was a polarizing design, while this new Ascent looks a bit more like an evolution from Subaru’s current lineup, a grown up Forester.
A part of that has to do with the new global platform the Ascent is riding on. Shared with the new Impreza and Crosstrek, the platform is modified and stretched to a wheelbase of 117 inches (just under 3 meters), which is four inches (about 10 centimeters) longer than the Ford Explorer.
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Other issues that the new Ascent solved from the old Tribeca include packaging and size. “Size matters, the Tribeca was too small,” said Anton Pawczuk, VP of Product Planning and Marketing. “It was also too expensive.”
The Subaru team agrees that the Ascent doesn’t make any assumptions about the potential buyer, and is going to be marketed to Subaru’s already loyal fanbase. It’s a destination for current owners as their families get bigger.
Subaru’s brand identity is more concrete this time around, with an emphasis on safety, the boxer engine, and symmetrical all-wheel drive. Subaru reassures us that the production Ascent will feature all of these elements, but we’ll have to wait a few more months to get all these extra details.
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