By on May 21, 2018

2019 Subaru Ascent

The three-row crossover field is a crowded arena. Gearheads like us can rhyme off verbatim the critical differences between models. But the Average Joe or Josephine who’s simply trying to buy a machine that’ll ferry the brood? For many of them, it’s like trying to pick their favorite trumpeter out of a college brass band with 50 players.

Subaru’s killer app is, natch, the standard inclusion of all-wheel drive. Will mountain goat levels of traction, a quirky ad campaign, and 19 cupholders be enough to let it play the loudest in a noisy segment?

Subaru was upfront about lessons they learned during its last foray into the three-row market, having binned the B9 Tribeca in 2014 (the B9 part was actually tossed years before that).

National Manager of Product Communications, the convivial Dominick Infante, said in the Thursday morning product brief, “We didn’t get it right the first time.” That’s about as direct a statement one can ever hope to hear from an OEM and it’s damned refreshing to hear such straight talk. Subie showrooms have been without a seven-passenger option for five long model years, at the height of consumer demand for such machines, no less.

2019 Subaru Ascent

The brand knows this. When crafting the Ascent, they targeted two distinct – but similar – set of customers. One target is current Subaru owners who have nowhere to go when their clan outgrows an Outback or Forester. Many of these people are growing out of the brand and going elsewhere, explained Infante, and Ascent is intended to prevent the child-raising generation from leaving the Subaru family, capturing existing customers who are exiting for other three-row crossovers and SUVs. Conquest buyers are the other target.

Looking at the trucklet, it’s every inch a Subaru. Nearly 197 of them, in fact, making it over a foot longer than the Forester and the longest Scooby ever to roll out of the factory. Its exterior style is familiar and shares a great deal of language with the rest of its showroom cousins. Black cladding resides over the wheel arches to give Ascent the appearance of having more height than it actually does.

2019 Subaru Ascent

Not that it needs it. Ground clearance is measured at 8.7-inches, 1.7 more than a Pathfinder and 0.4 more than an Explorer. This is the third machine to be built on the Subaru Global Platform, following the 2017 Impreza and 2018 Crosstrek. Said to increase structural rigidity by 70-100 percent, the SGP is designed to lower the center of gravity. The all-wheel drive, 4,600-pound Ascent didn’t complain while being threaded over twisty Oregon logging roads. If toddlers upchuck all over the interior, it likely won’t be because they’re carsick. The engine is mounted low for center-of-gravity and crash protection reasons, too.

Speaking of under the hood, customers peeking at the drivetrain will find a sole engine choice: a turbocharged 2.4-liter direct-injected boxer four.

*record scratch* Wait, what?

Despite targeting the Pilot, Pathfinder, Explorer, et al during development (all of which are available with a six – some only with a six), the company formerly known as Fuji Heavy Industries is imbuing the biggest passenger vehicle they’ve ever made with a four-cylinder engine. At first blush, this seems like a mistake, especially with a tasty 3.6-liter boxer six in the corporate cupboard.

2019 Subaru Ascent

That is, until you drive it. This engine, despite its lack of cylinders and displacement, actually makes more horsepower and torque than the 3.6-liter. Rated at 260 hp and 277 lb-ft, the four out-torques its larger stablemate by 30 lb-ft and out-twists all the above mentioned competitors save for the EcoBoosted Fords. The challenge for sales staff at Subaru dealers will be getting conquest buyers behind the wheel. If they can do that, the engine will speak for itself. While many boxers run on adrenaline, this one runs on regular unleaded. Bank on fuel economy in the mid-twenties.

The turbo’s intercooler sits atop the engine and is fed cold air via a large scoop that inhales atmosphere from the front grille. Ten minutes and a Sawzall would provide a natty functional hood scoop in the visage of old Outbacks or the previous Forester XT. I mentioned this to Kazuhito Ozora, Subaru’s Deputy GM of Total Vehicle Performance, who became extremely animated and carried on a great conversation with me, waxing about scoops on WRXs and STIs as we poked around the Ascent’s engine bay. Alas, no scoop is planned for Ascent, as it doesn’t fit the image it’s currently trying to project. I’ll hold out hope for the future.

2019 Subaru Ascent

2019 Subaru Ascent

Subaru had examples from three of the four model trims available to sample, ranging from the $34,195 Premium to the $44,695 Touring. That extra 10 grand buys a panoramic moonroof, leather chairs, front-view camera, and a few other goodies. Stepping back to the $31,995 base Ascent will further give up heated power seats and a power liftgate.

Still, the Ace of Base model acquits itself very well with tri-zone climate control, air vents for all three rows, and enough USB ports to keep all hands charged up including a brace of 2.1A quick-chargers up front. Subaru’s trick EyeSight suite of safety nannies is standard equipment on every Ascent and, in a typically practical Subaru manner, houses all its forward-facing cameras inside the car where they’re unlikely to be hampered by road debris. So mounted, a minor fender-bender won’t break the expensive driver-assist equipment, either.

2019 Subaru Ascent

It would be my pick of the litter, except popping for the Premium endows the Ascent with a 5,000 lb towing capacity courtesy of oil and transmission coolers that are absent on the base car. Hooked to a 4,200 lb Airstream camper, the Subaru rolled through a parking lot slalom at 25 mph without complaint. The receiver hitch is hidden behind a plastic panel on the rear bumper and has all the kit for burly safety chains like on my full-sized truck at home. No weight distribution bars were fitted.

2019 Subaru Ascent

One towing oddity was the trailer brake controller, a dealer-installed unit that’s tucked away under the dash and not accessible without removing the fusebox cover. Doing so is the only way to adjust the electric trailer brake gain and would quickly become a chore. A dash-mounted integrated controller would go a long way to helping Subaru further stand out in the crowded three-row segment.

In a nod to affordability, the leatherless Premium model is available with either a second-row bench or captain’s chairs, proving that Subaru doesn’t make you move too far up its food chain to find options generally reserved for top trims. Those middle captain’s chairs have a delicious function-over-form grab handle protruding from the inboard seatbacks, designed so little hands can easily haul the second-row chairs back into place after clambering astern. A power-fold feature for the third-row would be nice but is unfortunately AWOL.

2019 Subaru Ascent

Practical touches such as that second-row seat pull continue throughout the cabin, such as the door sills which have a wonderfully large ledge on which to rest an arm. A deep and functional dash pockets is carved vertically in front of the passenger, perfect for accepting a smartphone or bags of granola or whatever else it is that Subaru owners enjoy. The fuel door pops open with a push instead of using a traditional floor-mounted pull latch but then locks when the passenger doors are locked. Practicality, thy name is Subaru.

2019 Subaru Ascent

Subaru cars finished on the podium in no fewer than four categories this year in Kelly Blue Book’s Best Resale Value Awards, winning the Compact and Sporty Compact classes while earning silver in the compact crossover and mid-size sedan categories. Subaru buyers, a group notoriously long on pragmatism, will count this in their buying decisions. Smart conquest buyers will surely take note, too.

Suits in the corner office are targeting sales of 700,000 units this year, roughly 52k more than last year. Given successes with other models (Crosstrek is up 70 percent, year over year, at this point) and new volume from the three-row Ascent, I believe they will achieve this goal. Hold me to that statement at the end of the year.

If they pull it off, you’ll have no trouble picking out Subaru’s trumpet from the rest of the band.

2019 Subaru Ascent

[Images: Matthew Guy/The Truth About Cars, Subaru]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

110 Comments on “2019 Subaru Ascent First Drive – Can You Hear Me Now?...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Look, a Toyota Highlander.

  • avatar

    LOVE the tan/black interior but what’s up with that AWFUL yellow beige contrasting color on the instrument panel? Yuk.

    • 0 avatar
      mmreeses

      it’s car design choices like beige stripe that scratch my head.

      What’s wrong with just making the dash all black? Or if the dash is going to be two-toned, spend the extra $7 and put in colored pleather that matches the seats.

      • 0 avatar

        Agreed all black or tan would look great, and it probably cost them $7 to put the awful yellow beige in anyway. Bad decision.

        • 0 avatar
          IBx1

          All-black interiors are miserable. The beige tone is a poor choice with the saddle colored seats, but contrast is a good thing.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Agreed with IBx1. I’ll take even a weird and crappy beige or beige+black over all black. I’ll take a seafoam green or blue or nice chestnut brown over either one though!

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Really, the 4-cyl in their largest car? How about them ringlands, and I don’t mean Audi dealers.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      What about ringlands? The folks who had ringland problems were flogging their WRX/STI’s harder than this vehicle will be flogged even pulling a 5k# trailer with an entirely different engine no less. A more appropriate complaint would be those damned leaky head gaskets (whoops, not a problem on turbos and, again, a different engine). Okay, you’re gonna pay for it with horrible oil consumption – my bad, again a different engine and solved. That leaves us with cooked CV joints from an agricultural engine design as well as granola crumbs under the seats, Birkenstock’s stuck under the accelerator pedal, and dog hair clogging the cabin air filter…

      • 0 avatar
        IBx1

        Subaru made a decade’s worth of engines with bad head gaskets, then they made the next decade with cylinder wall issues, now they have to extend the warranty on every CVT they made a bad call on; who’s to say the next engines don’t have something fundamentally wrong?

        To be fair, hopefully they’ve learned from their past and have improved here and there, but a new generation H6 would be perfect and comfortable for this application.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      …and cracked windshields.

  • avatar
    Kalvin Knox

    I like the look of it, but it does look a bit like a highlander.

  • avatar
    make_light

    It looks like the first Subaru in ages to finally have thick, plush seats with appropriately long bottom cushions.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      The ’15+ Outbacks are actually fine in terms of seat bottom length, but have an incredibly awful plastic lumbar support that juts out strangely. People on the forums were actually taking the seats on their new cars apart to remove the offensive piece of plastic.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    I’m sure they are trying to grow the brand, but 4600 lbs and Subaru just don’t go together. Neither does 46000 lbs and 4 cylinders – why not offer a turbo flat-6 – don’t lesbian dog owners want some power?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Oh, now I’m triggered :D

      You and your flat six microagressions.

    • 0 avatar

      For comparison, the Highlander’s 3.5L V6 is rated for 296HP (way up at 6000rpm) and 263lb/ft of torque. So while this engine is down 35HP it’s up 14lb/ft and makes that torque at a far lower and more usable engine RPM range.

      Now for a rant about why I cannot get this engine in a Crosstrek with a manual 6spd.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        “So while this engine is down 35HP it’s up 14lb/ft and makes that torque at a far lower and more usable engine RPM range.”

        THERE’S MY TRIGGER!

        Why do I have to turbo to get some torque off the line? Today’s n/a passenger car 6s make their peak torque at some lofty number that the autobox will only visit on rare occasions.

        The malaise engines SUCKED but at least there was some torque at an RPM that would let me get away from a stoplight.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          Buy a V8.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @ajla – and pray tell good Sir, would you recommend the most affordable of V8 conveyances the Charger/Challenger or 300?

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            I would.

            Even with the list of problems I experienced I would recommend one. That’s how enticing the rest of the package is. There will literally never be anything like them ever again.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @ajla – Good to know.

            The local Chrysler/Dodge/Ram/Jeep doesn’t like to keep the V8 models in stock (except for a trophy Hellcat and a 392 that he’s delusional about asking price). The Albuquerque and Phoenix dealers are stacking them deep and selling them cheap however.

          • 0 avatar
            ernest

            Yes. A Durango in this particular case.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          “Today’s n/a passenger car 6s make their peak torque at some lofty number that the autobox will only visit on rare occasions.”

          THIS. I said the same thing when people said Northstar was excellent in 2004. I added this is why I dislike OHC, oh sure you can have your eleventy hundred horsepower, but it comes at 9000 rpm. Ad bullsh!t, come drive our 300bhp* Cadiwreck! *warning you will never ever use this amount of horsepower short of a straight-away.

          Do the world a favor, punch a marketeer in the face today.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @28-cars Some mechanic on a forum I visited who was commenting on the Northstar and carbon build-up (which he was fixing with carbon cleaner and an Italian tuneup) said: “The Northstar was a good concept except that Cadillac’s core customer was never going to utilize even 50% of the car’s ability.”

            That sounds about right.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Typical GM, sell the sizzle [of the motor broken down on the side of the road] and not the steak.

          • 0 avatar
            Fordson

            Where a given engine’s torque peak fall is a function of cam profiles – it has nothing to do with how the valves are activated.

            A new Corvette, with its pushrod engine, reaches peak horsepower at 6,000 rpm and peak torque at 4,600 rpm. A new Mustang GT’s peak hp is at 7,000, but that’s mostly because it’s got a wider powerband because it can rev higher – it’s making plenty at 6k. Most people tuning the newest small block Chevy know that the reason they rate them at a 6k hp peak is because the cylinder shutdown hardware in its pushrod valvetrain doesn’t play nice at engine speeds higher than 6,500…the fuel cutoff is very sudden…you can read that in any road test.

            The Mustang’s peak torque? Reached at the same 4,600 rpm as the pushrod Chevy’s. The Mustang’s redline now is 7,500 rpm, because the accessory drive has been hardened up to take the same revs the valvetrain can. An OHC engine of a given displacement revs higher because it can, not because it has to.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        The Acadia 3.6l is 300+ horsepower. I’d look at a GMC Acadia Denali at that size crossover. They are $32,000 On autotrader. The Twin Clutch AWD can 100% of torque to a single wheel and never shuts off like Suabru X-mode at 18 mph and no buttons to push.

    • 0 avatar
      "scarey"

      @Stingray65- It seems to me that a curb weight of 46,000 lbs ( ! ) deserves something like a Detroit Diesel semi-truck engine to move that much mass…Right ?

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      stingray65,
      I think Subaru should offer a flat 6 diesel. It would be good for 240hp and over 400ftlb of torque. That would suit such a heavy vehicle and offer effortless towing and cruising with good FE.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Cue the “Why isn’t this engine in the FT86?” complaints.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      It’s a legitimate complaint.

    • 0 avatar
      VW4motion

      Don’t think this new 2.4 will fit properly in the FT86.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        It’s the same architecture (FA family). I would be shocked if versions of this engine don’t make it into the BRZ/WRX. This engine sans turbo would solve every BRZ problem.

        • 0 avatar
          stuntmonkey

          I would have thought no, but it’s the same stroke length, so there’s hope for anybody brave enough to try an engine swap

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            I wonder how much bore the FA20 can take. Looking at the cylinder block, the cylinders are THICK, but it’s an open deck design. Darton makes sleeves that can go to 90mm and support 50 PSI (!!!), which would bring things up to 2.2L for a huge effort. Bleh, yea Subaru just needs to put the 2.4 in.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    “…tasty 3.6-liter boxer six…” guzzler that makes no power? That is a pretty low bar to use for comparison of this 2.4T that makes less power and torque than most 2.0T engines from other makers.

    I am SO sure that this engine in a 4,600 lb AWD (with AWD driveline loss) SUV is going to be used to tow a 4,200 lb Airstream…

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      “…tasty 3.6-liter boxer six…”

      Yeah I came here to say: “Said no one (but the Subaru faithful) ever.”

      • 0 avatar
        legacygt

        I’m not even sure the “the Subaru faithful” ever said this either. The H6 has always seemed like an afterthought, included as an option to satisfy those who absolutely must have a 6 cylinder. The true Subaru faithful are happy to putter around with an under-powered car or opt for some turbocharging. While Subaru has a long history of turbocharging, this seems to be their first car where the turbo is the only option and people who don’t care either way aren’t supposed to notice. Note that this is new for Subaru but not the market overall. Everyone from Ford to Honda to Volvo to BMW has been sneaking turbos into base cars without making much of a deal about it.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The H6 is down on power and economy but is one of the most reliable engines ever to come out of Japan. We’ll see if this version of the FA can match that record.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’m sorely disappointed that there was no reference to Farago’s original takedown of the Tribeca.

  • avatar
    gtem

    This thing will sell like crazy and keep the Lafayette factory humming. $34k for the Premium is really not a bad price for what all you’re getting. Will be taking a look at this for my wife’s first doctor car. She is usually entirely ambivalent on cars in general, but Highlander Hybrids and Subaru Outbacks are the two vehicles that cause her to pay attention.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      A discounted Acadia Denali is less and much better performer with Twin Clutch AWD that sends 100% torque to a single wheel unlike Acura SH-AWD that only sends 70% fore or aft and them 100% to either side. GM Twin Clutch requires no Subaru X-mode button to engage and doesn’t shut off at 18 mph.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        After seeing the sort of strange issues Lambdas can have after just a few years of casual use, no thanks.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          Acadia shares platform with XT5 called C1XX (?) Since 2016.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            I realize that, I just don’t trust late model GMs as far as I can throw them. Granted, Subies are not without their historic issues, and even my favorite Toyotas are leaving me cold in terms of quality as of late.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            GM (Guangzhou Motors) makes steaming piles of elephant dung, Acadia included. Good luck with those stretched timing chains and blown pistons that were manufactured by some lowest-cost bidder in Baobao Province.

        • 0 avatar
          RSF

          Right On! We owned an Acadia and will never own a GM product again. So bad it even had the engine out 3 times for various repairs. Ugh.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I’d shop this against a used Highlander Hybrid. This will have a nicer interior and better trail chops, but that 3.5/hybrid powertrain is a REALLY nice one.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        dal our frequent trips with 2 larger dogs to our in laws and longer road trips is quite frankly leading us down the minivan route once a little one + little one things are added in, either that or something like an Armada with a roof/hitch carrier if I was set on retaining some offroad chops. If it weren’t for their age, both the 1st gen Sequoia and 2nd gen Sienna are IMO as good as it gets for hitting the sweet spot of packaging and features for my needs.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      @gtem

      New or late model?

      I’d probably think ahead and spring for the late model Sienna now as opposed to something else and then needing the van later.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Probably late model and hunt around for a deal. Part of me wants to find a clean 2nd gen AWD Sienna, take it to my bro’s to make sure it’s bulletproof for the next 100k and just go that route. The problem is that clean low mileage 2007-2010 AWD Siennas are simply a poor value in that prices are awfully close to much newer 3rd gens (which I don’t like as much). I’d consider a higher mile unit but I’d have to make doubly sure the transmission had been maintained. My relatives in Siberia have a US-import ’04ish Sienna Limited AWD with like 180k miles, many of those now on Russian roads and it’s held up well. It’s a seemingly silly thing but the 2nd gen Siennas still had an older and more effective version of Toyota’s AWD, and had an extra inch of ground clearance (bringing it to 7.4 inches) versus the FWD models. The 3rd gens are all lower to the ground to begin with, and the AWD has the same low (5.5?) clearance as the FWDs. 2nd gens have much higher quality interiors as well.

        There’s another part of me that was incredibly impressed with my Pacifica rental last month (29mpg at sustained 78-80mph cruise), and they are a fantastic value as far as how much they are discounted and how much they depreciate.

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    Forester on steroids. One of my local dealers told me two weeks ago they have over 50 people on the waiting list for this new vehicle. Not sure if that means cash down. In any case that is pretty amazing.

    I’d like to see this new engine in the an upcoming Outback. Will probably have to wait for the next model around 2020.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “The engine is mounted low for center-of-gravity”

    That’s the old company line; I call BS.

    Once again, I’d consider a Subaru when it comes with an I-4 or V6.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      Still mounted in front of the front axle like Audi.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      Well, looking at the pics in the article, I see no sign of the engine itself in the bay. Must be mounted low, I guess. Who’da thunk it?

      Why anyone wants an inline four with its thrummy roar under power is beyond my ken, however.

      The engine in my old LGT is all below the wheel tops and is level. For some reason engines are mounted much higher in the current WRX and STI, and drop steeply towards the firewall – the engine pulley looks as high as the power-steering pump in mine. I have no idea why, and would agree with you in that instance.

      Anyway, perhaps they can put this new engine in a Legacy soon. Driving a school bus like this Ascent has never been a dream of mine. But having driven a new Accord 2.0t and Mazda6 turbo two weeks ago, plus drives in a C300 and BMW 430i prior, all of them have that inline 4 thrum. Luxury?

      The old LGT is far nicer to hear and isn’t exactly left behind either – nor does it exhibit the atrocious tire roar of the Honda, even on my Pilot Sport A/S 3. Thrum and tire roar are never on my wish list.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    My problem with many three row crossovers is that they are literally a foot shy of greatness. CX9, Infiniti QX60, Pathfinder, Pilot, Highlander. Just a bit more 3rd row room and it would be suitable for regular size humans on long trips. Was a bit disappointed to see that this article did not address the 3rd row’s suitability for occupancy in any regard. This is after all, a 3 row crossover first and foremost. So of course….. lets not talk about the 3rd row.

    My second gripe, is that so many of Subaru’s models look sooooo darn generic. Im sure some people love that, but not this guy. This will be mistaken for a Highlander ever day of the week and twice on Sunday. Why? Now you are asking me to pay $45k for well equipped melba toast. They are certainly not the only guilty party. The new Enclave is devoid of exterior character, the VW Atlas is a completely safe design. The Highlander and Pilot are literally lifeless blank slates on the outside.

    I will be interested to hear a review that actually reviews it as a 3 row crossover doing three row crossover stuff……like say…..carrying people in the 3rd row.

    • 0 avatar
      stuntmonkey

      > My second gripe, is that so many of Subaru’s models look sooooo darn generic.

      Same reason why a straight-tipped oxford shoe will never look in style but will always look good with slacks, and why an Omega Seamaster looks stodgy but matches nearly every work/casual occasion,

      • 0 avatar
        thegamper

        I don’t think any current Subaru has anywhere near the timeless design of any sort of men’s dress attire, certainly not an Oxford Shoe.

        I get what you are saying, that its inoffensive nature makes it stylish in its own sort of way. That may be true for men’s attire but this is just going to fade away into the junkyard of time, as will most auto design, however, nobody notices most Subaru’s, even when they are brand new designs.

        That is not the case with most auto design. Most cars, even those with questionable design, are eye catching to a certain degree or to certain people….at least for a time.

        Perhaps Subaru is once bitten, twice shy after the flying vag grill design debacle of the B9 Tribeca sort. “Never again will we dare to be different or stand out in any way”.

        • 0 avatar
          stuntmonkey

          I see it more as they took up residence in the space vacated by Honda and Toyota in the early 90’s. Those were conservative designs to a fault, but they were functional and just like Surbaru’s today, people IRL find them easy to look at.

          And I really do have to emphasize the disconnect between chat forums and what normal people perceive in real life, outside of the internet most people who have seen the new interiors on the Impreza/Crosstrek/Ascent really like it, but every single YT video starts off with the same knee-jerk “boring” comment.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            stuntmonkey I’m inclined to agree. Subaru is closer to the old Japanese model of offering a LOT of features and functionality/utility for the money, and I’d argue the interiors in their ’15+ Outbacks are closer to the good old days of Japanese mouse-fur velour than anything Toyota or Honda is making currently. Their continued focus on offering big windows also makes me associate them with the “good old days.” Yes Subaru has had more fairly significant pattern failures as mileage gets near 100k than the Hondas and Toyotas of yore, but aside from that I think the comparison is quite apt. For the $26k-ish that you pay for an Outback Premium with cloth or the $29k you pay for a leather+(fake but nice) wood Outback 2.5i Limited, the amount of features and utility and interior quality really stands out IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      …and no 360° parking cameras!

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    That wheel cladding is trick…it does look taller. But try to look past the trick and this thing has the proportions of a Chrysler Pacifica.

    Let me guess, this tiny turbo 4 will be awesome in this Subaru, cuz low end torque, while Mazda’s turbo in a similar crossover remains underpowered?

    I get the Subaru practicality thing. But sometimes I feel like its becoming pretentious because it feels like they might be trying too hard to not be pretentious.

    RE: H6 – decent engine but at this point so outdated it isn’t even funny. Yeah I wish they’d update it, but they’re not going to. I mean even the new Forester won’t get the turbo 4. This gets a turbo 4. The H6 has to be dead when the Legacy/Outback are redesigned.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “popping for the Premium endows the Ascent with a 5,000 lb towing capacity courtesy of oil and transmission coolers that are absent on the base car.”

    Sounds like the right choice even if you don’t tow. I’m always in favor of additional cooling capacity for longevity.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Subaru buyers who take delivery by July 1st will receive a free dog, L.L. Bean t-shirt, and a “coexist” bumper sticker. Supplies may be limited.

    • 0 avatar
      markmeup

      baahaha, excellent!

      but, bonus gifts and all, you may still have a tough sell on the lesbians next door. they and all their friends have converted to jeeps now. even the fake little fiat models, after all, the nameplates still say J E E P.

      interestingly, now they seem to really go for an older, DC’d model… the Commander. 2 of them bought them, and one has installed a very loud flowmaster system w/coffee can muffler and 24″ chrome rims. Honestly, I think they just love how it sounds & feels when you belt out, loudly & proudly> “JEEP COMMANDER! …yeah”.

      When I came home with the new 300, they said, “hey, nice car… but, why would you get rid of that Jeep? that was a nice fu^#@k’n Jeep!” lol

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Holy crammed engine bay Batman!

    You’d think they stuffed an LS or Mod motor in there…

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    NVH?

    (why do I need to login everytime on TTAC? the Remember Me function is useless)

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Finally, I believe that Subie has the 7 passenger figured out. At first glance it looks like an Outback. Look a little longer and you can see that it is longer, perhaps higher. Perfect.

    The car for me? No chance.

    The next car for the too many to count family of 4s in Colorado that want the extra row? Yup.

    If they could build enough of them, Subie would clear 1M units per year.

    As for the 4 mil under the hood. Ever sat behind a Forester or Outback at a stop light? If so, what pray tell leads you to believe the owner/buyer of this thing car a hoot about it having a 4 mil or 6 or an 8. The slowest drivers on the planet now have a reason to go slow, as their car is perhaps actually slow. Either way, the buyers of this thing could care less and the subie forum will clearly tell them to go easy on the throttle as if not the turbo will spool up and that causes heat and stuff plus it will use more gas. Go easy on the throttle and you will get great MPG.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack7G

      Slowest??? Owners of newer Subarus are a special combination of utterly stupid and insanely fearless, in my experience. They believe all the garbage hype from the commercials about traction and safety, and they truly are dumb enough to believe they are invincible.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    It’s ok, I guess. Another vanilla SUV. More choices = good. Subaru has great resale, so that’s good, too.

    But meh.

    Why do so few car companies take risks on interior design? Honda took some risks with the interior on the upcoming RDX and it looks great. Subaru has no lux division to worry about encroaching on, so no reason to hold back with bland design on this.

    Mazda took some risks by making the new Mazda 6 interior MUCH better than other midsize sedans. A shame Subaru kept it bland n boring with the Ascent.

    • 0 avatar
      stuntmonkey

      > Why do so few car companies take risks on interior design?

      Honda’s “risk” with the infotainment in the current-gen Civic was exactly one of many reasons that drove me into a Subaru.

  • avatar
    wintermutt

    Should have a 6 as an option. BTW we own a Subaru. Toyota reliability + 6 cylinder = Highlander smarter choice. Now if Subaru drops it’s price to WAY less than the Highlander they will sell a few. But as it stands, nope.

  • avatar
    StudeDude

    This is the Highlander for the Subaru faithful. They should buy it in droves. The non-availability of the 6 cylinder will matter to very few and was probably a good decision for an appliance of this type.

  • avatar
    FAHRVERGNUGEN

    At that road height I think I can squeeze (most of) my LGT under this critter.

    Now if SoA would just make a replacement so that by the time I can afford it after being leased to someone else for 36 mos, I can be happy.

  • avatar
    vehic1

    Subaru sales have only been creeping up recently, relative to their blockbuster 2012-2015 gains. The love + dogs ad campaign is no longer new; perhaps this big CUV will jazz sales for awhile.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I can’t imagine someone parking this next to a CX9 and choosing this. A comparison test will help, but for this kind of vehicle I think I’d just wait for the next (likely larger) new platform Highlander. That proven 3.5 v6 is a step above any turbo 4 in refinement and has the luscious off idle torque most SUV buyers are used to.

  • avatar
    jfk-usaf

    I have a 2017 Volvo XC90 with the Polestar upgrade (334hp / 325lb/ft) which is plenty for 5798lbs… I still would have gone for the straight 6 if it was still offered. Its a different level of refinement and a different type of power delivery. Subaru should have spent some R&D money on the 3.6 for this SUV. JMO…

  • avatar
    pdog_phatpat

    Oh look, a new minivan. Enjoy your minivan cleverly hidden to sooth your SUV’d(GOTTA HAVE ONE!) brain.

    • 0 avatar
      Cactuar

      A proper minivan has a V6. This thing doesn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      I keep arm-chair Auto-CEOing an actual Subaru minivan here in the comments of TTAC, I truly think it would do well. Sienna is the only AWD offering at the moment and has that niche all to themselves. Given the AWD=safe/love/whatever-else, seems like Subaru would take a big chunk from the traditional Odyssey/Sienna buyers.

  • avatar
    Carroll Prescott

    That is a very tepid redo of the Toyoduh Highlander – it is odd that when the Japanese badge engineer, they get away with it from the so-called Journalists – the hard points are so obviously Highlander. Reminds me of the new Honduh Oddity that says it is all new but the hard points are exactly the same as the prior model year.

  • avatar
    1998S90

    So, 5,000 lb. towing with a CVT?

  • avatar
    ernest

    I think Subaru will only be constrained by how many of these they can build. I know three families that have plunked down deposits for one. Two of them will share garage space with an Escalade… welcome to upscale Portland Suburbia. That being said, all expressed disappointment over just a 4 cyl being offered. Considering the premium the H6 commands on a retail level, I suspect Subaru may rethink this before it’s all over.

  • avatar
    AtoB

    “But the Average Joe or Josephine who’s simply trying to buy a machine that’ll ferry the brood?”

    How many kids is enough Joe? Its not the 11th century anymore.

    Stick with the Forester/Outback and get a vasectomy.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Whenever I hear this sort of anti-family nonsense I paint in my head what I imagine is a very true-to-form picture of someone like AtoB: insecure in his masculinity, probably can’t bench 150lb, probably owns multiple cats.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Good move by Subaru. Even with it’s generic soft roader (car) looks (it’s not a truck, nowhere’s near a truck ……… only in America) it’s inoffensive. I like the fact that the grille isn’t some Chinese inspired design like the direction Toyota/Lexus are moving in.

    The engine will more than suffice, with the power and torque it would tow 6 000lbs, not much different than a Grand Cherokee.

    Being Subaru it should give many years of service as well.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “The engine will more than suffice, with the power and torque it would tow 6 000lbs, not much different than a Grand Cherokee.

      Being Subaru it should give many years of service as well.”

      Not towing 6000lbs it won’t :p

      I’m as excited as anyone for this car, but man that CVT with 4500lb+lots of torque to pull around is not a long term bet I’d be willing to take. The ebautiful thing about Subies though is you can drive one for 5-6 years then sell it and not get killed in depreciation without dealing with any Subie issues, be it traditional weak points from a decade ago or whatever new pattern failure may emerge from these CVT/DI/turbo wonders.

  • avatar
    spyked

    I’m sure they will sell, but I wouldn’t count on it selling as well as people think. Subaru buyers are often people that LOVE the Outback precisely because it’s a “wagon” and not an SUV. To many, there is shame and stigma with SUVs.

    Anyway, if you are into SUVs and like a turbo 4 in a large SUV, why not go Mazda CX-9? Looks expensive, drives great. If you insist on blocky styling, why not cheaper NA 6 Atlas? Or just get the Highlander Hybrid? This Ascent is not offering anything more than what’s already out there, and I see some Subaru owners looking down at it. They’d be “sell-outs” if they bought this thing. Might as well get a Sienna AWD!

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “Subaru buyers are often people that LOVE the Outback precisely because it’s a “wagon” and not an SUV”

      Ehh that was the core fanatics that already moved on once the ’10 “CUV-ified” Outback came out. Subaru was getting killed by not providing something larger for families that outgrew their Outbacks to move into, Pilots and Highlanders were I’m guessing where many migrated to, either that or minivans (like the Sienna AWD you mention).

      I think you’re honed in on the vain subset of Subaru owners of which I’m sure there are some, but the brand is growing in leaps and bounds by drawing in truly pragmatic people that are buying for the value for money and utility of the brand. Said people want Subarus of all sizes, up to and including a three row crossover and as I’ve outlined below I think an argument could be made for a Subaru minivan.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Fordson: Some makes just should never produce SUVs…this is one of them. Look at the Maserati car in the group...
  • FreedMike: Toyota. Why do you think they haven’t invested in EVs?
  • redapple: Who will buy Tesla? GGM?
  • forward_look: Once I bought a ’74 (?) Colt/Mitsubishi for $100 that had the strut towers rusted out. I welded...
  • thelaine: Tick tock

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States