Subaru weighing Outback vs Forester approach for seven-seater

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Subaru is gearing up for a return to the seven-seat crossover segment, and it's focusing the new model on the US market, but just which approach it will take has yet to be decided.

One possibility, according to Automotive News, would be to position it as a larger counterpart to the Outback wagon, with rugged off-road styling. The other would be to sell it as a big brother to the Forester, with cleaner styling.

One thing Subaru most definitely does not want to repeat is the Tribeca fiasco, so we wouldn't expect the new model to carry that same nameplate. Introduced in 2006, the Tribeca's divisive front-end styling kept it from being a serious player, and it underwent a facelift only two years later. It was withdrawn from the market altogether after 2014. The company had targeted moving 36,000 units of the Tribeca each year, but sold fewer than 2,800 in America in 2011, barely over 2,000 in 2012, less than 1,600 in 2013 and just a few hundred in 2014.

The new seven-seat crossover will go after the likes of the Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder and new Honda Pilot among three-row Japanese crossovers. Like those rivals, it will be built in the US for the US market – namely at Subaru's assembly plant in Indiana, the same state where the Highlander is produced. The new crossover's arrival will, according to reports, mean that the Levorg wagon offered in Japan and Europe won't be offered Stateside.

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