Subaru Ascent Pricing: When You're Confident, You Don't Need to Undercut the Competition

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Subaru’s new range-topping crossover just dropped its pricing list, adding a new entry in the remarkably tight base MSRP battle waged among three-row Japanese midsizers.

The 2019 Ascent, a seven- or eight-passenger crossover with familiar styling and unsuspectingly large dimensions, doesn’t seem worried by the healthy sales enjoyed by its competitors, and certainly doesn’t feel the need to arrive at dealers this summer with a discount tag hanging from its sleeve.

In fact, its base price tops that of three well-established rivals.

The Ascent, which boasts a 113.8-inch wheelbase and 153.5 cubic feet of passenger volume, starts at $32,370 after delivery. This price gets you a base model with a standard second-row bench seat and the same continuously variable transmission and turbocharged 2.4-liter flat four (260 hp, 277 lb-ft) found in other trims. That’s nearly ten grand more than a base Forester.

Compared to its competitors, the Ascent is just a tad pricier than the Toyota Highlander ($32,025), Honda Pilot ($31,875), and Nissan Pathfinder ($32,015). Only the semi-upscale Mazda CX-9, which isn’t known for its third-row space, outflanks the Ascent in price, at $33,105. As we said, it’s a tight race.

Of course, Subaru has good reason to feel confident, even though its first midsize crossover — the B9 Tribeca — met with failure and, um, controversial quips over its appearance. As the U.S. new vehicle market continues its modest contraction, Subaru volume appears to know no ceiling. After selling 187,699 vehicles in the grim days of 2008, Subaru’s U.S. sales skyrocketed to 647,956 units last year — a 5.3-percent increase from 2016. Even January saw a year-over-year sales increase of 1.1 percent.

Subaru seems confident it knows what Americans want, and that they’ll find it in a vehicle offering full-time symmetrical all-wheel drive on all trims — something its competitors can’t boast. The Ascent’s Subaru Global Platform promises a stiff body and reduced road noise. Also standard is adaptive cruise control and emergency pre-collision braking, among other nannies, though you’ll need to shell extra cash for the full suite of safety aids.

Buyers can expect a familiar trim ladder, with Premium and Limited models offering both seating configurations. The top-spec Touring model is seven-passenger-only. Subaru claims its interior, when outfitted in seven-passenger guise, is the most adaptable in the segment.

The Premium range starts at $35,170 after delivery, adding blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert, plus an 8.0-inch multimedia screen (base models get a 6.5-inch screen). A host of extra standard or available features appears at this level. Moving up to Limited costs a minimum of $39,970. There, you’ll find standard leather, 20-inch wheels, lower body cladding, keyless entry, push-button ignition, and steering-responsive headlights.

At the Touring level, the Ascent offers extra chrome and interior furnishings, including enhanced audio, every connectivity feature in Subaru’s toolkit, and a 180-degree front camera. This model will set you back $45,670 after delivery.

The Indiana-built Ascent rolls into dealers this summer.

[Images: Subaru of America]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Gtem Gtem on Feb 17, 2018

    I predict that this will stem the bleeding of Subaru loyalists that begrudgingly upgrade to Highlanders and Pilots and such once they outgrow outbacks. These Ascents will print money for Subaru.

  • Amca Amca on Feb 18, 2018

    That thing's a rolling tragedy.

  • Scott So they are losing hundreds of millions of dollars and they are promising us a “Cheaper EV”? I wonder how that will look and feel? They killed the Fiesta because they claimed that they couldn’t make a profit on them and when I bought the first one in late 2010 they couldn’t deliver the accessories I wanted for it! Then I bought a 2016 Fiesta ST and again couldn’t get the accessories for it I wanted. They claimed that the components were going to be available, eventually. So they lost on that one as well! I don’t care about what they say anymore. I’ve moved on to another brand.
  • Michael S6 CX 70 or 90 will not be on my buying list. Drove a rental base CX 90 and it was noisy and the engine noise was not pleasant. Ride was rough for a family SUV. Mazda has to understand that what is good for Miata isn't what we expect in semi luxury SUV. My wife's 2012 Buick Enclave has much better Ride and noise level albeit at worse gas millage. Had difficulty pairing my phone with Apple CarPlay
  • Michael S6 What is the metric conversion between one million barrels and the number of votes he expects to buy.
  • NJRide This could give Infiniti dealers an extra product maybe make it a sub brand
  • Lou_BC Mr. Posky outraged over an old guy passing er releasing some gas. How are those sedan sales going?