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Thomas "Tom" Doll, president and chief operating officer of Subaru of America Inc., left, shakes hands with Takeshi Tachimori, executive vice president of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., while standing next to the Subaru VIZIV-7 concept sport utility vehicle (SUV) during Automobility LA ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)
Thomas "Tom" Doll, president and chief operating officer of Subaru of America Inc., left, shakes hands with Takeshi Tachimori, executive vice president of Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., while standing next to the Subaru VIZIV-7 concept sport utility vehicle (SUV) during Automobility LA ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

Los Angeles Auto Show

Quick spin: Subaru getting back into large, three-row SUV game with boxy concept Add to ...

The takeaway from Subaru’s L.A. Auto Show reveal is: please be patient. If you like our products but your life needs more size and more seats than anything we currently build , we have you covered. Just not yet.

It’s been more than 18 months since Subaru announced it was working on a new and larger three-row SUV to replace the somewhat less-than-successful 2006-2014 Tribeca. But the preview unwrapped in Los Angeles Thursday isn’t the final product. Subaru says it’s a concept that previews the “size and direction” of a future SUV, but not the final locked-in design. “Subaru is demonstrating its thinking about how big a future SUV from Subaru can be.”

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The Subaru Viziv-7 is unveiled at the L.A. Auto Show on Nov. 17, 2016.
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The Tribeca was 4.88 metres in length, somewhat smaller than rivals in the gotta-be-there midsize SUV category. It did offer third-row seating, but it was more notional than practical.

The new concept makes it clear that the new SUV coming in 2018 will be larger, even though it’s based on Subaru’s new Global Architecture that is seeing its first use on the 2017 Impreza. Well, Subaru does call its architecture “scalable.”

In fact the 5.2-metre length of the VIZIV-7 is almost identical to a Chevrolet Tahoe, a full-size truck. Nonetheless, Subaru is calling the concept a midsize SUV. In a segment that’s trending toward sleeker semi-fastback shapes, the VIZIV-7 looks relatively boxy, which should benefit space and practicality. Subaru officials say the concept doesn’t indicate how the production version will look, but we’re guessing they mean the detailing, such as the lights. The basic shape itself looks credible and do-able.

Some reports say the final product – which will be built at Subaru’s plant in Indiana -- will be called Ascent. Powertrain choices could include variations of the 2.5-litre turbo four-cylinder or 3.6-litre six-cylinder boxer engines that Subaru already has in its portfolio.

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