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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.