After more than a year of concepts and teasers this is it: The all-new 2019 Subaru Ascent three-row SUV. The largest vehicle Subaru has ever made is built right here in America and is jam packed with the practical features and all-weather capability fans have come to expect from the brand.
Styled like a bigger Outback, the Ascent makes room inside for up to eight seats, or a 7-foot-long flat load area. Yes, future dirtbags, you’ll be able to comfortably live in the back of this thing when your mom hands it down to you in 10 years.
As you’d expect from the brand, all-wheel drive is standard, and the Ascent features the same generous 8.7 inches of ground clearance shared by the Outback, Forester, and Crosstrek. New are both the 2.4-liter turbocharged flat-four and its Continuously Variable Transmission. That engine is a much needed update, bringing 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque in a compact design that allows Subaru to keep the center of gravity and hood line low. The new CVT is beefed up to handle the extra power, and will operate across eight preset gear ratios. As on the brand’s other models, an “X-Mode” button adapts transmission programming for dirt driving, mimicking a limited low-range gear capability. The Ascent is also equipped with hill descent control.
Probably more important to most buyers will be the 19 cupholders, eight USB power ports, 4G LTE-powered WiFi, and the wide-opening rear doors which will allow easy access to the back row of seats. There’s also a neat rearview mirror arrangement, which allows the driver to switch between a convex glass mirror featuring a good view of all the Ascent’s occupants, and a display for the rear-facing camera, allowing an unobstructed view of what’s behind the car. This works in normal driving, not just while reversing.
Families will also appreciate the long list of standard safety features, including Subaru’s EyeSight driver assist system. That brings automatic pre-collision braking, lane keeping, adaptive cruise control, and other semi-autonomous features to all trim levels. Safety information will be projected on the windscreen through a heads-up display.
The Ascent is built on the same (but enlarged) Subaru Global Platform as the brand’s other models. Those are already the safest vehicles in their respective classes, and with EyeSight standard, we expect no different from the Ascent.
Unveiled this morning at the Los Angeles Auto Show, details like price, and fuel economy haven’t been released yet. Look for more information as the Ascent reaches showrooms in early summer 2018.