Revealed Thursday at the Los Angeles Auto Show, this Viziv-7 is a lightly disguised version of Subaru’s forthcoming seven-seat family crossover. Expected to be called the 2018 Subaru Ascent, that production model will go on sale in roughly a year.
What we see here is an Outback-style glasshouse sitting atop a larger, more macho body, with headlights that ape the smaller AWD wagon. Hold your thumb over some of the Visiv-7’s more outrageous elements—the wheel arches won’t glow blue in production—and this is probably 95 percent of what you can expect from the Ascent.
The concept’s similarity to the Outback is no bad thing. Not only does that distinctive glasshouse offer unrivaled outward vision, but it surrounds a surprisingly spacious interior—the Outback’s rear seats have two-inches more leg room than the supposedly larger, more luxurious Mercedes E-Class.
We expect the Ascent to feature three full-size rows of seating, along with a generous trunk. That’s backed up by the only details Subaru has released: exterior dimensions that measure 79.9 inches in width, 72 inches in height (sans roof rails), and a positively gargantuan 204.7 inches in length. To put those specs in perspective, this Subaru is a half-inch longer than a Chevy Tahoe.
Subaru’s active driver safety aid system (dubbed “Eyesight”) will also be present, denoted by the two distinctive twin forward-looking cameras located on either side of the rearview mirror. The Outback is already one of the safest vehicles on the road today. Expect the larger Ascent to be even safer.
I’d wager that Subaru’s 256 horsepower, 247 pound-feet, 3.6-liter H6 will send power to all four wheels via a Continuously Variable Transmission. That motor’s horizontally opposed cylinders will help keep the center of gravity low for such a large crossover, while the CVT will maximize both fuel economy and performance and stimulate low-range gear ratios for off-road driving.
Subaru looks to be ticking all the boxes with the Ascent. When it goes on sale, it’ll be four years since Subaru’s last seven-seater was discontinued. Where that vehicle was awkwardly styled and cramped, the Viziv-7 is positively handsome and it will be one of the largest vehicles in its class.