Everybody agrees the 2019 Ascent is a better-executed three-row crossover than Subaru’s first try, the B9 Tribeca. However to ensure that the Ascent to, um, ascend to the highest of the trendy midsize CUV class, it must be greater than only a higher model of its forebear.

Fortunately, there’s a complete lot to love concerning the new Ascent. This is not only a higher Tribeca; the Ascent is a nice and sensible bundle, and a extra interesting three-row SUV than a lot of its key rivals.

Large time

Regardless of sharing its structure with the compact Impreza, the Ascent is Subaru’s largest automobile up to now. It has a giant presence on the street, with its giant headlamps, distinguished grille, expansive glass space and chunky roof rails. The Ascent is not precisely fairly (what Subaru is?) however the puffed-up-Forester aesthetic works right here. It appears like what you may think should you closed your eyes and visualized “three-row Subaru.”

Base Ascents experience on smaller 18-inch wheels, however 20-inch rollers can be found on the Premium trim, and commonplace on the Restricted (pictured) and Touring fashions. Steering-responsive LED headlights, in addition to foglights, are additionally reserved completely for Restricted and Touring trims.

Common lodging

Step inside, and the Ascent greets you with an open, ethereal cabin, trimmed in leather-based right here on my Restricted take a look at automotive. The general inside design is not something to put in writing dwelling about, with its comparatively easy placement of car controls and a middle stack devoid of extra buttonry. However that additionally means it is supereasy to make use of — get within the Ascent for the primary time and you will not must hunt for numerous automobile features. And remember: 19 cup holders.

Second- and third-row lodging are about par for the course. Second-row head- and legroom measures out to 40 and 38.6 inches respectively; these numbers are almost similar to these of rivals just like the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot. Third-row numbers, in the meantime, are on the smaller aspect of the pack. The Ascent presents 36.three inches of rearmost headroom and 31.7 inches legroom, in contrast with 37.eight/33.three within the Explorer and 38.2/33.5 within the Traverse.

The good-looking, frill-free cabin is as quiet as it’s comfy.

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That mentioned, the third row is supereasy to entry. A distinguished lever tilts and slides the second-row seats ahead, and a barely raised portion of the aspect sill acts as a step for simpler ingress. Second-row captain’s chairs can be found on Premium and Restricted fashions as commonplace on the Touring, with a pass-through between the seats for minivan-style third-row entry, should you want seating for seven as a substitute of eight.

As for cargo area, the Ascent is definitely capacious, however as soon as once more falls midpack. You have bought 17.eight cubic toes behind the third row, 47.5 behind the second row and 86.5 with all seats folded. The Ascent has higher most capability than the Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander, however falls wanting the bigger Chevy Traverse and Honda Pilot, the latter of which presents 109 cubic toes.

The Ascent may not be the most important in anyone regard, however at no level throughout per week of people-carrying had been there complaints about lack of area. The entrance and second rows supply comfy, supportive seats, and the third row is not so cramped that kids would think about it a penalty field. Restricted and Touring fashions even supply a pair of USB shops for way-back riders.

Premium, Restricted and Touring fashions get an upgraded, eight.Zero-inch Starlink infotainment show, however fortunately, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are commonplace, even on the bottom mannequin.

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Intuitive infotainment

Subaru’s Starlink system handles onboard infotainment duties; base fashions use a 6.5-inch touchscreen whereas Premium, Restricted and Touring trims get a bigger eight.Zero-inch show with in-built Wi-Fi connectivity. Manufacturing unit navigation is just commonplace on the top-level Touring, although it is optionally available on any Ascent mannequin outfitted with the bigger display.

The interface itself is fairly easy. Giant, colourful icons are neatly organized on the house display, with redundant bodily buttons for these key features housed slightly below the show on the middle stack. Navigating the varied menus and submenus can also be simple, although I observed occasional lag in response occasions.

When you’d want to let your smartphone do the infotainment heavy lifting, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are commonplace on each single Ascent, no matter display dimension. Nonetheless, should you require attention-grabbing rear-seat leisure to maintain your brood busy, you may must look elsewhere.

Subaru presents a brand-new engine within the Ascent: A 2.Four-liter turbocharged flat-Four with 260 horsepower.

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Straightforward to drive

The Ascent introduces a brand-new 2.Four-liter turbocharged flat-Four engine to the Subaru secure. With 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque, this engine’s output is corresponding to the turbo-Four and naturally aspirated V6 choices in aggressive autos, as are its gas financial system rankings of 21 miles per gallon metropolis, 27 mpg freeway and 23 mpg mixed. That is with all-wheel drive, after all, which in typical Subaru trend, is commonplace throughout the board.

A repeatedly variable transmission retains the engine planted in its energy band, enjoyable to decrease revs whereas cruising for max effectivity. Constructed-in “shift factors” will be operated by way of steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, however actually, do not trouble. The transmission’s “shift” motions are sometimes abrupt throughout laborious acceleration, however more often than not, it is easy and refined. Quiet, too — the Ascent has a number of the lowest ranges of powertrain noise, vibration and harshness I’ve skilled in any Subaru, ever.

Whereas the Ascent could also be competently common in many of the aforementioned areas, it is truly one of many better-driving autos on this section. It is not the fanatic’s alternative, thoughts you — that crown nonetheless goes to the Mazda CX-9 — however on the canyon roads main as much as my normal picture shoot location, the Ascent exhibited much less physique roll and extra responsive steering than a lot of its classmates.

Each Ascent comes commonplace with all-wheel drive, in addition to Subaru’s EyeSight suite of lively driving aids.

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None of that comes on the expense of normal experience consolation for metropolis and freeway commuting, both. The Ascent is a crossover you may fortunately and effortlessly drive for lots of of miles at a time, with a compliant suspension that does not crash over damaged pavement, even on upmarket 20-inch wheels. Nice outward visibility and a commanding seating place go a good distance towards making the Ascent simple to drive everyday, too.

Subaru’s EyeSight suite of lively driving aids presents extra peace of thoughts on the street. EyeSight bundles adaptive cruise management, precollision braking, lane departure warning and lane-keep help, and is commonplace on each single Ascent. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, in the meantime, are commonplace on all however the base mannequin. If you need a 180-degree front-view digital camera along with the backup show, you may have to go for the Touring.

These 20-inch wheels are commonplace on Restricted and Touring fashions.

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How I would spec it

Ascent pricing ranges anyplace from $31,995 for the bottom mannequin to $44,695 for the Touring. The quantity Premium and Restricted fashions begin at $34,195 and $38,995, respectively. None of those costs consists of Subaru’s $975 vacation spot cost.

The Restricted appears to be the candy spot for me, principally due to its commonplace LED lights, 20-inch wheels, energy seats, heated entrance and second-row leather-based seats, heated steering wheel, energy liftgate and eight.Zero-inch touchscreen infotainment system. From there I would add seven-passenger seating (a no-cost possibility), and I would think about including the $2,950 know-how bundle, principally for its upgraded Harman Kardon audio system and panoramic sunroof. In that case, I am taking a look at $42,920 out the door.

For comparability, a equally outfitted 2018 Honda Pilot Touring with all-wheel drive is available in at $44,865, nevertheless it additionally includes a rear-seat leisure system. Ascent pricing is fairly evenly matched with different three-row rivals, as properly.

The Ascent is a well-rounded, easy-to-like newcomer to the midsize SUV section.

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What makes a Subaru a Subaru

Competent because it could be, arguably the Ascent’s greatest promoting level has nothing to do with any of its particular attributes. Somewhat, it is that it says “Subaru” on the again.

Subaru prospects are fiercely loyal, and largely glad with their purchases. Kelley Blue E book has named the automaker its most trusted model for 4 years operating, and Subaru has loved 79 straight months of gross sales progress. For people seeking to dimension up from a Forester or an Outback, the Ascent is a pure development. And for consumers who’ve all the time coveted the Subaru model however want three-row, midsize SUV utility, the Ascent is as aggressive as some other automobile in its class.

Both manner, the Ascent is the precise automobile on the proper time — a properly outfitted SUV that is pleasing to drive and presents loads of area. For Subaru loyalists and midsize SUV customers alike, the Ascent presents a really well-rounded bundle. 

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