Subaru is readying a new seven-seat crossover – dubbed the Ascent – which could serve as a replacement for its discontinued Tribeca large SUV, but the new model is off the table for the Australian market.
Subaru Australia PR boss David Rowley confirmed that the new Ascent would be an American market offering and would be produced exclusively in left-hand-drive configuration.
"As far as we're aware there is no intention of making it in right-hand-drive form," he said. "There is certainly no likelihood in the foreseeable future of that coming here when it is eventually unveiled in the States."
Caught in heavy camouflage testing in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the photos reveal an imposing SUV with familiar Subaru front-end styling with a prominent trapezoid grille, angular headlights and wide, lower air intake flanked by bumper-integrated foglights.
Protruding roof rails, a sunroof, large doors, silver side view mirrors and covered third-row windows can be glimpsed from the side, while the pictures of the rear reveal a roof-mounted spoiler, expansive tailgate, wraparound tail-lights and dual exhaust outlets.
Subaru's new Ascent large SUV will take the fight to other seven-seat crossovers including the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento and Nissan Pathfinder.
Although not much is known about Subaru's new model, rumour has it the Ascent is built on the same modular Subaru Global Platform as the new-generation Impreza small car and XV crossover, making it the first large SUV with the new underpinnings.
Engine options are yet to be revealed, but suggestions are pointing to Subaru's 3.6-litre flat-six as a potential powerplant, which makes 191kW/350Nm in the brand's rugged Outback wagon.
This would make performance comparable to the 170kW/420Nm 2.5-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder found in the CX-9 and the 218kW/350Nm 3.5-litre petrol V6 in the Kluger.
However, thanks to the Subaru Global Platform, the Japanese car-maker could also make use of other powerplants, including the possibility of a smaller turbocharged four-cylinder donk or even electric and hybrid engines.
As well as the CX-9 and Kluger, Subaru's new Ascent large SUV will take the fight to other seven-seat crossovers including the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento and Nissan Pathfinder.
The new Ascent will be built stateside in Indiana, which also produces US-spec Outback and fifth-generation Impreza models.
If it were built in right-hand-drive configuration and considered for the Australian market, Subaru would have to consider a new moniker as Toyota uses the Ascent badge Down Under for Corolla variants.
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