No surprise that the new Subaru Impreza WRX is to be unveiled at next week’s Los Angeles motor show – but what wasn’t expected is a new Legacy concept.
That and further confirmation that Subaru will replace the Tribeca SUV with an altogether new seven-seater.
But it won’t be a seamless introduction – the new seven-up model isn’t expected to appear for at least a year or two after Subaru kills off the Tribeca next year.
The Tribeca – named after a neighbourhood in New York – has dragged the chain on Subaru’s sales charts since it first appeared in 2005.
The look of the front end was the reason – it was frightening. Subaru’s plans for a facelift were made in almost indecent haste. The second-generation Tribeca was what the first-generation should have looked like. Too late – the Tribeca was doomed.
Yasuyuki Yoshinaga, president of Subaru parent Fuji Heavy Industries, said in Japan this week that the new seven-seater would fill a need – in the United States especially – for a big people-mover to take the place of Tribeca.
“The seven-passenger vehicle project is completely different,” he said of the new vehicle,” he said.
“You won’t see the new vehicle coming out immediately when Tribeca production ends.”
The Legacy sedan concept hints at what the production car will look like when it breaks cover in 2015.
It marks the 25th anniversary of the Legacy nameplate and its coupe-like silhouette is similar to that of the Volkswagen CC and Mercedes-Benz CLS.
It gets a new hexagonal grille and what Subaru calls a “hawk-eye” headlight design. The rear has a short overhang, sharper edges and a sportier look than today’s production car.
Meanwhile, the new Legacy station wagon has been spied testing in Europe, wearing substantial camouflage.
But despite the disguise, the styling has clearly been borrowed from the Impreza WRX concept unveiled last April at the New York motor show.
Key elements include a rectangular grille, coupe-like profile with sloping roof, C-shaped lights at the rear, and dual exhaust pipes.
Spy agency Automedia says Subaru is planning a hybrid variant of Legacy as part of its strategy to reduce fuel consumption and C02 emissions across its fleet by 30 per cent.
Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist system has topped a new Front Crash Prevention (FCP) test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the United States.
The Subaru Legacy sedan and Outback were the only vehicles to receive the highest possible score of six points.
Legacy and Outback were also two of just seven models from 74 tested to receive an overall “Superior” rating.