The Car Connection Subaru Ascent Overview
The Subaru Ascent is the automaker's three-row family crossover SUV and the largest vehicle Subaru has ever produced.
It is new for the 2019 model year and will go on sale in summer 2018.
Among its rivals are some of the most popular vehicles sold today. With the Ascent, Subaru now competes for family buyers with the Toyota Highlander, Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Pilot, and Dodge Durango.
The Ascent is offered in base, Premium, Limited, and Touring trim levels.
For the 2020 model year, Subaru made only minor tweaks to the Ascent, including the addition of a rear-seat reminder and newly optional power-folding exterior mirrors.
MORE: Read our 2020 Subaru Ascent review
The Subaru Ascent is powered by a new 2.4-liter, turbocharged flat-4 that makes 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque and is rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds in certain configurations. It's teamed exclusively to a continuously variable transmission and all-wheel drive, a Subaru hallmark. The Ascent boasts 8.7 inches of ground clearance—the same as the famously rugged Outback—and rides atop Subaru's new global platform that will eventually underpin most of its cars and crossovers.
In the Ascent, the new platform's wheelbase is stretched to its limit. With 113.8 inches from wheel to wheel, the Ascent slots in a third row that should appeal to families who may feel that they've outgrown an Outback. The third row isn't as spacious as some of its competitors—Chevy Traverse and Buick Enclave—but it should comfortably fit children and small adults.
Despite being the largest vehicle Subaru has offered, the Ascent is instantly recognizable as part of the family. It borrows much of its styling from the Outback—especially along the sides—but it's nose is distinctly unique. The Ascent boasts a larger trapezoidal grille and pronounced shoulders that add to the vehicle's visual mass.
In addition to confines for up to eight passengers (the second-row bench can be swapped for captain's chairs in top trims at no cost), the Ascent boasts Subaru's suite of advanced safety tech that's near commonplace for three-row crossovers. The EyeSight system bundles forward collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and active lane control on all trim levels. Blind-spot monitors and a camera-based rearview mirror are optional.
The Ascent boasts several family-friendly features to entice buyers. Up to eight USB ports are available within the Ascent's cabin, and many, many, many cupholders are scattered throughout. The rear doors swing wide for easier access to the third row seating, and a touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is standard.