2019 Subaru Ascent review: Getting it right

    Everybody agrees the 2019 Ascent is a better-executed three-row crossover than Subaru’s first try, the B9 Tribeca. However to ensure that the Ascent to, um, ascend to the highest of the fashionable midsize CUV class, it must be greater than only a higher model of its forebear.

    Fortunately, there’s an entire lot to love concerning the new Ascent. This is not only a higher Tribeca; the Ascent is a pleasing and sensible package deal, and a extra interesting three-row SUV than lots of its key rivals.

    Large time

    Regardless of sharing its structure with the compact Impreza, the Ascent is Subaru’s largest automobile thus far. It has an enormous presence on the street, with its giant headlamps, outstanding grille, expansive glass space and chunky roof rails. The Ascent is not precisely fairly (what Subaru is?) however the puffed-up-Forester aesthetic works right here. It seems like what you may think in the event you closed your eyes and visualized “three-row Subaru.”

    Base Ascents experience on smaller 18-inch wheels, however 20-inch rollers can be found on the Premium trim, and normal on the Restricted (pictured) and Touring fashions. Steering-responsive LED headlights, in addition to foglights, are additionally reserved solely for Restricted and Touring trims.

    Common lodging

    Step inside, and the Ascent greets you with an open, ethereal cabin, trimmed in leather-based right here on my Restricted check automobile. The general inside design is not something to jot down residence about, with its comparatively simple placement of car controls and a middle stack devoid of extra buttonry. However that additionally means it is supereasy to make use of — get within the Ascent for the primary time and you will not should hunt for varied automobile capabilities. And remember: 19 cup holders.

    Second- and third-row lodging are about par for the course. Second-row head- and legroom measures out to 40 and 38.6 inches respectively; these numbers are practically equivalent to these of rivals just like the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot. Third-row numbers, in the meantime, are on the smaller facet of the pack. The Ascent presents 36.three inches of rearmost headroom and 31.7 inches legroom, in contrast with 37.eight/33.three within the Explorer and 38.2/33.5 within the Traverse.

    The good-looking, frill-free cabin is as quiet as it’s snug.

    Steven Ewing/Roadshow

    That mentioned, the third row is supereasy to entry. A outstanding lever tilts and slides the second-row seats ahead, and a barely raised portion of the facet sill acts as a step for simpler ingress. Second-row captain’s chairs can be found on Premium and Restricted fashions as normal on the Touring, with a pass-through between the seats for minivan-style third-row entry, in the event you want seating for seven as an alternative of eight.

    As for cargo area, the Ascent is definitely capacious, however as soon as once more falls midpack. You have bought 17.eight cubic toes behind the third row, 47.5 behind the second row and 86.5 with all seats folded. The Ascent has higher most capability than the Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander, however falls in need of the bigger Chevy Traverse and Honda Pilot, the latter of which presents 109 cubic toes.

    The Ascent won’t be the most important in anybody regard, however at no level throughout per week of people-carrying have been there complaints about lack of area. The entrance and second rows supply snug, supportive seats, and the third row is not so cramped that youngsters would contemplate it a penalty field. Restricted and Touring fashions even supply a pair of USB shops for way-back riders.

    Premium, Restricted and Touring fashions get an upgraded, eight.Zero-inch Starlink infotainment show, however fortunately, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are normal, even on the bottom mannequin.

    Steven Ewing/Roadshow

    Intuitive infotainment

    Subaru’s Starlink system handles onboard infotainment duties; base fashions use a 6.5-inch touchscreen whereas Premium, Restricted and Touring trims get a bigger eight.Zero-inch show with in-built Wi-Fi connectivity. Manufacturing unit navigation is barely normal on the top-level Touring, although it is non-obligatory on any Ascent mannequin geared up with the bigger display screen.

    The interface itself is fairly simple. Massive, colourful icons are neatly organized on the house display screen, with redundant bodily buttons for these key capabilities housed just under the show on the middle stack. Navigating the assorted menus and submenus can also be simple, although I seen occasional lag in response occasions.

    In the event you’d want to let your smartphone do the infotainment heavy lifting, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are normal on each single Ascent, no matter display screen measurement. Nonetheless, in the event you require attention-grabbing rear-seat leisure to maintain your brood busy, you may should look elsewhere.

    Subaru presents a brand-new engine within the Ascent: A 2.Four-liter turbocharged flat-Four with 260 horsepower.

    Steven Ewing/Roadshow

    Straightforward to drive

    The Ascent introduces a brand-new 2.Four-liter turbocharged flat-Four engine to the Subaru steady. With 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque, this engine’s output is akin to the turbo-Four and naturally aspirated V6 choices in aggressive automobiles, as are its gasoline financial system rankings of 21 miles per gallon metropolis, 27 mpg freeway and 23 mpg mixed. That is with all-wheel drive, after all, which in typical Subaru style, is normal throughout the board.

    A constantly variable transmission retains the engine planted in its energy band, stress-free to decrease revs whereas cruising for max effectivity. Constructed-in “shift factors” could be operated by way of steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, however actually, do not trouble. The transmission’s “shift” motions are often abrupt throughout laborious acceleration, however more often than not, it is easy and refined. Quiet, too — the Ascent has a few of the lowest ranges of powertrain noise, vibration and harshness I’ve skilled in any Subaru, ever.

    Whereas the Ascent could also be competently common in a lot of the aforementioned areas, it is really one of many better-driving automobiles on this section. It isn’t the fanatic’s alternative, thoughts you — that crown nonetheless goes to the Mazda CX-9 — however on the canyon roads main as much as my ordinary photograph shoot location, the Ascent exhibited much less physique roll and extra responsive steering than lots of its classmates.

    Each Ascent comes normal with all-wheel drive, in addition to Subaru’s EyeSight suite of energetic driving aids.

    Steven Ewing/Roadshow

    None of that comes on the expense of common experience consolation for metropolis and freeway commuting, both. The Ascent is a crossover you can fortunately and effortlessly drive for a whole lot of miles at a time, with a compliant suspension that does not crash over damaged pavement, even on upmarket 20-inch wheels. Nice outward visibility and a commanding seating place go a great distance towards making the Ascent simple to drive daily, too.

    Subaru’s EyeSight suite of energetic driving aids presents extra peace of thoughts on the street. EyeSight bundles adaptive cruise management, precollision braking, lane departure warning and lane-keep help, and is normal on each single Ascent. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, in the meantime, are normal on all however the base mannequin. If you’d like a 180-degree front-view digicam along with the backup show, you may must go for the Touring.

    These 20-inch wheels are normal on Restricted and Touring fashions.

    Steven Ewing/Roadshow

    How I might spec it

    Ascent pricing ranges anyplace from $31,995 for the bottom mannequin to $44,695 for the Touring. The quantity Premium and Restricted fashions begin at $34,195 and $38,995, respectively. None of those costs consists of Subaru’s $975 vacation spot cost.

    The Restricted seems to be the candy spot for me, largely due to its normal LED lights, 20-inch wheels, energy seats, heated entrance and second-row leather-based seats, heated steering wheel, energy liftgate and eight.Zero-inch touchscreen infotainment system. From there I might add seven-passenger seating (a no-cost possibility), and I would contemplate including the $2,950 know-how package deal, largely for its upgraded Harman Kardon audio system and panoramic sunroof. In that case, I am taking a look at $42,920 out the door.

    For comparability, a equally geared up 2018 Honda Pilot Touring with all-wheel drive is available in at $44,865, however it additionally includes a rear-seat leisure system. Ascent pricing is fairly evenly matched with different three-row rivals, as nicely.

    The Ascent is a well-rounded, easy-to-like newcomer to the midsize SUV section.

    Steven Ewing/Roadshow

    What makes a Subaru a Subaru

    Competent because it could be, arguably the Ascent’s largest promoting level has nothing to do with any of its particular attributes. Moderately, it is that it says “Subaru” on the again.

    Subaru clients are fiercely loyal, and largely glad with their purchases. Kelley Blue Book has named the automaker its most trusted model for 4 years working, and Subaru has loved 79 straight months of gross sales development. For folk seeking to measurement up from a Forester or an Outback, the Ascent is a pure development. And for consumers who’ve at all times coveted the Subaru model however want three-row, midsize SUV utility, the Ascent is as aggressive as another automobile in its class.

    Both manner, the Ascent is the correct automobile on the proper time — a properly geared up SUV that is fulfilling to drive and presents loads of area. For Subaru loyalists and midsize SUV buyers alike, the Ascent presents a really well-rounded package deal. 

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