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Subaru Proves It Can Do Three-Row SUVs With New 2019 Ascent

Jerry Reynolds | June 12, 2018
Subaru Proves It Can Do Three-Row SUVs With New 2019 Ascent

This week, I bring you the largest Subaru ever made, the 3-row 2019 Subaru Ascent.  People have waited for a 3-row Subie since the Tribeca went away in 2014.

Although much bigger than the Outback, the Ascent has a lot of the same styling cues, like the bold front grill and the roof rails.  Ascent rides on 20” wheels, has dual exhaust, and an attractive strip of chrome between the front and rear wheels at the bottom of the SUV.

2019 Subaru Ascent

Under the hood, you have a 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine, putting out 260-horses and 277 pound-feet of torque.  It is hooked to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that you can simulate shifts from the paddles on the steering wheel, but it’s doubtful you’ll use them.

Before driving the Ascent, I was concerned it would be sluggish, but that is simply not the case.  In fact, it has a 5000-pound towing capacity and good acceleration.

As with all Subaru SUVs, the Ascent comes with the famous Subaru Symmetrical all-wheel drive system, one of the best on the road.  This system quickly pushes power to all the wheels that have traction.

Limited Trim 

My tester is the Limited trim, and from there you can go down to the base or Premium, or up to the Touring package, the top of the line.

Inside the Ascent, you find a nicely appointed and well-laid-out interior.  The stitched seats are very comfortable and if you look up, you’ll see a huge panoramic moonroof.  I wouldn’t call it a luxurious interior, but it is very nice.

Instrumentation is easy to read with a hooded visor to block the sun, and a color, configurable driver information center.  The Ascent has a busy, heated steering wheel with a lot of controls for the cruise control, sound system, and your phone.

2019 Subaru Ascent Limited.

Moving to the center console are two of the 19-cup holders in the Ascent, the gear shifter, and buttons for X-mode and automatic vehicle hold, so you can take your foot off the brake when stopped.  X-mode is Subaru’s off-road control system with hill descent.

In the middle of the center stack is an 8-inch high-definition touchscreen.  From there you operate your Bluetooth, navigation, My Subaru for making service appointments, apps, settings, and Subaru Starlink, which is similar to GMs OnStar.

You also get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, voice activation, Sirius and HD radio, CD player, Travel Link, and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Everything is simple to operate and is responsive and quick.  Up high on the dash is a secondary readout that gives you a lot of information so you don’t have to look down.

Third-Row Seat

Going to the back of the Ascent, the center row seat slides forward and backward to adjust the room for both the second and third-row occupants.  Third-row seat room is surprisingly good and would suffice for two adults that are not too tall, and it would be perfect for kids, even older ones.

2019 Subaru Ascent Touring.

Cargo area was a HUGE surprise.  There is 17.6 cubic feet behind the third-row seat and there is a nice storage area for the cargo cover to tuck it out of the way.  Fold all seats down and you have an amazing 86 cubic feet of cargo.  By comparison, a Chevy Tahoe only has 94 cubic feet of cargo.

Standard/Optional Features

Standard features include rear camera, pushbutton start, power tailgate, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, steering responsive LED headlights, and the EyeSight Safety System.

I talk about EyeSight on the air all the time.  This spectacular system has two cameras mounted high on the windshield that monitor traffic, optimizes cruise control, and warns you when you’re outside your lane. The Pre-Collision Braking feature can apply full braking force, bringing you to a complete stop in emergency situations. 

Total options cost $2950 and include the Starlink navigation system, a 14-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system, and the panoramic moonroof.

Fuel Economy and MSRP

Ascent handles great, is quiet inside, and with EyeSight, you and your family can be assured you are going to be as safe as possible.

Ascent is EPA rated at 20 City and 26 highway and is actually doing a little better.  Total MSRP is $42,920, an exceptional value based on the competition.

Ascent was a long time coming, but Subaru did this one right.  As they say on the ads, love is now bigger than ever.

2019 Subaru Ascent Limited

  • What I liked most:  The third-row seat, driving dynamics, and Eyesight.
  • What I would change: Really nothing.  It is a solid, safe, SUV. 
  • MSRP: Base price $39,995, as equipped $42,920.
  • Fuel Economy:  Rated at 20 city/26 highway/22 combined.
  • Official Color: Ice Silver Metallic.
  • Odometer reading when tested: 800 miles.
  • Weight: 4608 pounds.
  • Spare Tire:  Temporary compact mounted under the bumper.  
  • Length-Width-Height: 196.8” long/76” wide/72” high.
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 19.3 gallons with the filler on the passenger side. 
  • Towing Capacity:  5000 pounds.
  • 2018 Ascent in a few words:  The Ascent is destined to be a hit for Subaru!  Well worth the wait.
  • Warranty:  3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper, 5-year/60,000 miles on the power train.   
  • Final Assembly Location:  Lafayette, Indiana.                      
  • Manufacturers website: https://www.subaru.com/vehicles/ascent/index.html
Tags: 2019, subaru, Subaru Ascent, SUVs
Karl K.
Total MSRP is $42,920, an exceptional value based on the competition.

Mine arrives at the dealership this weekend, so excited!
The Car Pro
Ray, changing tire sizes will alter the speedometer, so I would not recommend that. You are probably better off going with the Premium if the step in is too great on the Touring.

Jerry Reynolds, President
Car Pro Radio Network
Your answer is not entirely correct. Ground clearance and therefore entry height remains the same for the 18" and 20" tires because the overall height remains the same for a 245/50r/20 tire as with a 245/60r/18 tire. The different aspect ratio therefore provides tires with the same circumference.

-- Hi Mikey! I spoke with Jerry, he agrees there may be little difference in entry height since larger wheels mean shorter tires. He suggested running boards might solve the problems instead of changing tires and wheels since it will affect the speedometer. - Amy
ray .
we are thinking about the Subaru assent but are concerned about the step in Hight between the touring or the premium touring has 20 inch tires premium has 18 inch tires was wondering if Subaru could put 18 inch tires on the touring
Jerry Reynolds
Hi Bob! In Jerry's review and YouTube video, he says "Third-row seat room is surprisingly good and would suffice for two adults that are not too tall, and it would be perfect for kids, even older ones."

Managing Editor
Bob M.
can full-size adults use the 3rd row?
Al W.
Too expensive .