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L.A. Auto Show 2016: Subaru VIZIV-7

L.A. Auto Show 2016: Subaru VIZIV-7
Subaru's VIXIV-7 concept car. It's large. (Subaru)
What is it?

It’s a concept car. The concept? Big. “Subaru is demonstrating its thinking about how big a future Subaru SUV can be,” the company said. At 204.7 x 79.9 x 72 inches, it’s larger than a Ford Flex, and almost as big as Ford’s Expedition monster-mobile. It’s got three rows of seats.

Why it matters

Sales for most carmakers are sucking wind this year, but Subaru is one of few boasting sales growth, mostly on the strength of is bread-and-butter all-wheel-drive station wagon, the Outback.

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Currently, Subaru offers just one sport utility vehicle, the Forester, and it fits in the small SUV category at a time when most SUV customers are buying bigger stuff. If something with the VIZIV-7's dimensions is ever produced, Subaru could become a player in the popular mid-size SUV sector; nearly 1.5 million have been sold so far this year. It could grab customers from the jumbo category too, home of the Expedition and the even larger Chevy Suburban.

Subaru "has one of the best brand-loyalty ratings out there," said Karl Brauer of Kelley Blue Book. "But they don't have any three-row vehicles. This way they'll at least maintain the family buyers who are already loyal to the brand who'd otherwise go shopping elsewhere."

What’s new

It's big. It's got three rows of seats. That's it. The company has nothing to say about the powertrain, towing capacity, not even cargo space.

Rear end: large.
Rear end: large. (Subaru)
The competition

The Toyota Highlander is killing it in mid-size SUVs, with unit sales up more than 11% through October. The Buick Enclave and the Dodge Dakota are selling well too. Not so much the Honda Pilot and Nissan Pathfinder, with lower sales than last year. The Mazda CX-9 is proving a major disappointment, off 29% so far. Sales of the Expedition and Suburban, however, are huge.

The details

Subaru isn't saying much. The car is 204.7 inches long, 79.9 inches wide and 72 inches tall. Its wheelbase is 117.7 inches.

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