2019 Subaru Ascent Preview
- The all-new Ascent is Subaru’s second foray into the three-row crossover market
- Seating for eight, standard AWD
- Standard active safety features
- Pricing will start at just above $30,000
- Built in Lafayette, Indiana
- On sale summer of 2018
Subaru rather timidly dipped its toes into the three-row crossover market about 11 years ago with the oddly styled, too petite, and tepidly received B9 Tribeca. Now, Subaru is ready for a more confident foray into the white-hot crossover segment with the all-new Ascent. It rides on a stretched version of Subaru’s Global Platform that currently underpins the impressive Impreza and its Crosstrek variant, and will someday be the basis of all Subaru vehicles.
Subaru tends to have fairly loyal owners who love the brand; now, if they outgrow their current crossover vehicles, the Ascent will give them something that can accommodate a growing brood.
No doubt about it: the Subaru Ascent is big. It’s 196.8 inches in length, making it one of the longer CUVs in the segment. And it’s well-proportioned, with more than a passing resemblance to the shorter Outback but with beefier dimensions. Along the sides there are kinks and sculpturing that make the Ascent more extroverted than current Subaru cars.
The new Ascent will be available in four flavors: base, Premium, Limited, and Touring. It can seat up to eight passengers, except for the Touring, which comes with second row captain’s chairs; they can also be had cost-free for the Premium and Limited. Some features that will come with the base model includes triple-zone climate control and raised roof rails.
Curiously, while the Ascent is the biggest vehicle that Subaru has built, the cargo space behind the second row seats at 72.6 cu.-ft. is actually a bit less than that of the Outback, which gives you 73.3 cu.-ft. Overall passenger volume-wise, however, the Ascent handily competes with other three-row vehicles.
Moving up from the base Ascent, the Premium trim level will include a stain- and spill-resistant upholstery, blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, a power driver’s seat with heated front seats, heated side mirrors and a wiping de-icer, an 8-inch Starlink screen, and a 4G LTE Wi-Fi connection.
Some options with which to equip the Premium are a power tailgate, push button start, a panoramic sunroof, navigation system and 20-inch wheels.
Stepping up to the Limited trim level gets you some of those options, and provides leather upholstery, automatic swivel headlamps, reverse automatic braking, and extra USB ports.
The top-of-the-line Touring trim level gives you Java Brown leather, some jazzier interior trim pieces, ventilated front seats, an upgraded stereo system, and Front View Monitor and Smart Rear View Mirror systems.
Under the Hood
Motivating the Subaru Ascent will be a turbocharged 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that can make 260 horsepower. While that is not a terribly exciting number, Subaru says that it can tow up to 5,000-lbs.; towing will be facilitated by the standard Trailer Stability Assist feature. While no specific numbers were discussed, Subaru estimates that the Ascent can go about 500 miles on a single tank of gas. It’s matched to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) programmed to mimic 8-speeds.
As with all Subarus (except for the BRZ), the Ascent will come standard with an all-wheel drive system; for the Ascent, it includes X-mode traction technology, torque vectoring, and a hill descent control system. Ground clearance, at 8.7 inches, allows for travel over rougher roads than most other crossovers can handle.
One of Subaru’s main tenet is to build the safest car possible; thanks to Subaru’s ring-shaped reinforcement frame, most of its vehicles end up with stellar crash test ratings. The Ascent should be no exception; it’s built on a stretched version of its Global Platform, which has historically performed admirably.
But in order to avoid a collision, Subaru includes its EyeSight suite of active safety technology as standard equipment, which includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning with lane keeping assist.
Further, features like a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross traffic alert and reverse automatic braking are available on higher trim levels to keep you out of harm’s way.
Subaru assuages the charging needs of the device addled by providing up to eight USB charging ports. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone projection comes standard, and depending on which trim level is chosen, you can equip your Ascent with features like a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. The Touring trim level gives you goodies like the Smart Rear View Mirror that embeds a screen into the rearview mirror that shows you what’s going on behind you, while a Front View Monitor gives you the ability to peep around blind corners.
Subaru also offers a new concierge service that helps you with restaurant reservations and scheduling service appointments.
View the Subaru Ascent Photo Gallery From the 2017 LA Auto Show