Yup, Americans are going to go for this.
It's right about now that any automaker without an SUV in its lineup is beginning to panic and scramble for a stopgap. Volkswagen did just that when it took a spare MBQ platform and built the seven-seat Atlas SUV and even Alfa Romeo changed its US plan of entry at the last minute by canning the 4C and focusing its efforts on the Stelvio SUV. On the other hand, Subaru has been relatively quiet on the SUV front, choosing instead to stick to its guns and build more jacked-up wagons with all-wheel drive.
"No more," said the bean counters. To stay in line with its Prominence 2020 plan, which outlines a goal to sell 1.1 million vehicles annually by 2020, Subaru needed an SUV to gain traction and this four-wheeled answer to the demand has just had its shroud pulled off at the LA Auto Show. Dubbed the VIZIV, short for Vision for Innovation, Subaru's new SUV is a seven-seater intended for the active family that wants to tote the kids and the dog from Whole Foods to the forrest campsite. While the concept is far from production ready, it at least shows fans and stockholders that the automaker is thinking about an SUV because it cares about continuing its business into the future.
"The concept expresses our core brand values, safety, dependability, capability for outdoor activities and a forward looking attitude," said Takeshi Tachimori, FHI's Corporate Executive Vice President. "We know customers in this segment want a full-sized vehicle and the next 3-row from Subaru will be the biggest Subaru vehicle ever." For reference, this is no typical midsized Subie. While its wheelbase is almost exactly the same as the new Volkswagen Atlas, the VIZIV is longer, taller, and wider than its German counterpart. Speaking of the Germans, the grille of the VIZIV speaks Audi fluently but the rest of the vehicle has styling straight from Japan, resembling the Toyota Highlander from the rear quarter angle.
As good as it looks, it's tough to gauge how much of the concept's design will make its way to production, but we need only to wait until the beginning of 2018 to see the VIZIV hit the market intent on spearheading North American buyers right in the heart. Our active imaginations would love little more than to see this jump start an SUV frenzy at Subaru. Fingers crossed that these hypothetical smaller SUVs get the STI treatment.