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Why Subaru Could Axe 6-cylinder in New 3-Row SUV

Subaru could axe the 6-cylinder in their new 3-Row SUV. Will it get the next-generation 2.0-liter turbo?

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It’s still two years away, but the new Subaru 3-Row Crossover gets closer with the plant expansion in Indiana underway. The new-generation 2017 Impreza is coming late this year and the new Subaru 3-Row crossover arrives in 2018. Both will be built at the plant in Indiana, and both will ride on Subaru’s new Global Platform. What about the new SUV’s engine?

What engine will power the new 7-seat SUV?

According to a source close to Subaru, the new Subaru 3-Row crossover will not be offered with a 6-cylinder powerplant. The 3-Row crossover will get the updated 2.0-liter turbocharged DIT (Direct Injection Turbo) Boxer gasoline four-cylinder engine. Subaru will likely axe the 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine used in the discontinued Tribeca, and go with the more fuel-efficient boxer four.

It won’t be anything like Tribeca

The 2014 Subaru Tribeca used the 3.6-liter 6-cylinder power plant that produced 256 horsepower. The new 2017 Subaru WRX 2.0-liter turbo engine produces 268 hp and gets 20/27 city/highway mpg. Tribeca had EPA estimated fuel mileage ratings of 16/21 city/highway mpg. Subaru will need to bump up those fuel mileage numbers considerably in the new 3-Row crossover that could be called Ascent 7. The new-generation boxer engines are coming.

The new-generation Subaru boxer engines

Subaru is going to upgrade all their boxer gasoline engines to direct injection starting with next year’s models. The technology will be standard in the next-generation boxer engine Subaru will roll out. Subaru will also add cylinder deactivation and lean combustion cycles in these engines by 2020.

Look for the new 2018 Subaru (Ascent 7) 3-Row crossover to have a new-generation 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder DIT engine. It has not been announced or confirmed by Subaru, but they will likely not offer the 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine in the new 7-seat SUV. Stay tuned.

Source: Subaru

Image source: Subaru Global

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gbeck1234 (not verified)    July 18, 2016 - 11:19AM

My only vice with this is that if the new 2.0L turbo four requires premium gasoline (91-93 octane) here in the states it wont sell as well as its rivals. Keeping the n/a 3.6L boxer six would be a smart choice as its rivals offer similar power plants that take regular grade (89 octane) gasoline. They could update the boxer six with direct injection, cylinder deactivation, and possible some sort of start/stop tech like it's rivals have. The 3.6L also needs a bump in power to stay competitive.

Gregory Derian (not verified)    July 20, 2016 - 1:23PM

Now that the old 6 cylinder is on it way out, Subaru can now build a new one from the ground up. Give it direct injection, forced induction and showcase it in the next generation STi.

Derp (not verified)    July 29, 2016 - 10:46AM

In reply to by Gregory Derian (not verified)

Never going to happen, with the next redesign they wont be fitting a giant v6 into the new impreza body and since it is their competition car for Rally/Rally Cross, they would probably be aiming for compatibility there as well.

Gregory Derian (not verified)    July 29, 2016 - 2:03PM

In reply to by Derp (not verified)

Not looking for a debate here... But calling it a "giant v6 into the new impreza" is a little exaggerated. First off, its a flat 6 not a V-6. Secondly it wont be any wider between the frame rails than the 4cyl boxer, and if the cylinders have a 86mm bore, the flat 6 will only be about 4" longer (towards the radiator).

Your right about Rally/Rally Cross, but the Impreza is already to big to compete in WRC, and it would be nice to see Subaru compete against the big boys like Porsche.

Derp (not verified)    July 29, 2016 - 2:49PM

In reply to by Gregory Derian (not verified)

In my head I was thinking weight. On such a small car the added weight would ruin its nimble drive-ability. I have heard from several sources and my own experience with the V6 2011 outback. It is almost a 200ibs difference from the 2.5L, and more from the 2.0L.
You are right that it wouldnt really affect the nose of the car being so long already.

Dana (not verified)    July 29, 2016 - 10:44AM

They need to figure out how to safely run the 2.0 DIT with regular fuel. I believe it was a hyundai tucson we test drove that has a turbo but can run regular.. great on trips when you care most about cost over performance. Subaru wont "need" a V6 then.

Jasonn (not verified)    October 6, 2016 - 7:12PM

I thought it was confirmed that Subaru has a new 2.4L turbo for this new 3 row suv. They just announced it at one of their annual dealer meetings.

Adam (not verified)    April 15, 2017 - 11:31AM

This very large SUV will need a 300HP 6 cylinder to be competitive. It could also use a 7 speed DCT instead of the CVT that serious buyers hate. No regenerative brakes (too grabby). Adjustable suspension would be a big selling point. (tenneco)

Lydia (not verified)    May 8, 2017 - 10:45PM

Why do SUV's have to shrink the back windows? I would like to see the third row windows be boxy like the Honda pilot and Toyota Highlander once were. Those back frames are huge blindspots. I know it'll have cameras, but it doesn't replace your eyes. I think visibility would be key if they're comparing this to be like a van, as I've read in a couple articles. I also am concerned about the 2.0 engine and being able to handle well even if you have the car itself completely weighed down. With this vehicle size I would expect to be able to pull a small trailer or boat. The V6 would get the job done, but maybe they could look into the 8-10 speed engine as well. I'm eager to learn more about the interior as more details come out.

VF30 (not verified)    July 21, 2017 - 8:26PM

I am glad subaru is making efforts to be more fuel efficient. With that being said my 2 favorite engines from them for the street is there H6 and sti 2.5 . If they made those Direct Injection that would be all I want for Christmas. I would pre order the new SUV if it had either of those, and buy a new Sti if it had either of those.

John Noullet (not verified)    January 17, 2018 - 2:30PM

2 concerns: Will it offer 10-way power seats (for wife) and will it have AEB Automatic Emergency Braking??