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Subaru is hard at work on a range-topping seven-seater crossover

Subaru is developing a successor to the defunct Tribeca crossover in a bid to continue setting sales records in the United States.

Tentatively scheduled to go on sale late next year, the yet-unnamed crossover will be bigger in all directions than the unpopular Tribeca that was axed over a year ago. The extra sheet metal will allow it to offer ample space for up to seven passengers, positioning it against the Toyota Highlander, the all-new 2016 Honda Pilot and Volkswagen’s upcoming seven-seater model.

Subaru is currently debating what the crossover should look like. The company is split between giving it a design that borrows rugged, off-road-inspired styling cues from the popular Outback (pictured) or giving it a more conventional look that falls in line with the smaller Forester. Either way, the company promises that the crossover will not look as striking as the original Tribeca.

Related: Euro-spec Subaru Levorg wagon unveiled

Power will come from gasoline-burning flat-four and -six cylinder engines sourced from the Subaru parts bin, a move that will help the company benefit from economies of scale. It goes without saying that Subaru’s time-tested Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive technology will be on hand to help the crossover tackle adverse weather conditions with ease.

Interestingly, an earlier report finds that the crossover could eventually be offered with a diesel-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain, the first of its kind in the United States. If given the green light, the setup will consist of an evolution of the 2.0-liter turbo0diesel flat-four mill that equips a large number of the Subarus sold in Europe and a compact electric motor borrowed from partner Toyota.

Built in Indiana, Subaru’s range-topping crossover will be presented to the public at a major auto show next year. However, Australian media outlets are reporting that it could be previewed by a close-to-production concept that will bow next November at the Tokyo Motor Show.