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Subaru confirms new three-row crossover for 2018

Subaru has long pitched its all-wheel drive cars as alternatives to traditional SUVs and crossovers, but the utility-vehicle segment is too lucrative for the company to ignore. So the company plans to launch a belated sequel to the discontinued Tribeca midsize crossover.

The Japanese carmaker says it will introduce a new three-row crossover in 2018, which will be built at its factory in Lafayette, Indiana. The new vehicle will be larger than the Tribeca with “full third-row capability.” The Tribeca had seating for seven. It was launched in 2006 as the B9 Tribeca, and discontinued in 2014.

Subaru has not named its new crossover yet, but says it will “carry a name synonymous with outdoor adventure,” in the vein of the Outback, Forester, and XV Crosstrek. That fits the crossover paradigm better than the Tribeca name, which references a trendy Manhattan neighborhood known for hosting a highly regarded film festival. That’s probably a more honest indication of where vehicles like this are typically driven, though.

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The Tribeca was never especially well liked, and stayed on the market for a fairly long period by industry standards, so a replacement has been anticipated for some time. Subaru has also hinted at this with the recent series of Viziv crossover concepts. The production model may adopt some of their styling, possibly a version of one of their multiple hybrid powertrains, as Subaru looks to meet stricter fuel-economy standards.

The crossover will be preceded by a redesigned Impreza compact, which should show up sometime next year. A concept Impreza hatchback was shown recently at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, and an accompanying sedan concept will debut at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show next week. The new Impreza will form the basis for the next Crosstrek, which Subaru insists is a crossover but is in reality an Impreza hatchback on stilts.

Subaru has always tried to go its own way, and the old Tribeca was about as conformist a product as the company has made in recent memory. Maybe that’s why it wasn’t much of a success, and maybe Subaru will try something more different with this new model.