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2019 Ascent

New for the latest model year, the Ascent is Subaru's entry into the three-row crossover segment. It's the years-in-the-making replacement for the B9 Tribeca.


Though it's classified as a mid-size SUV, the Ascent is closer in size to a full-size utility vehicle. It stretches 196.8 inches from bumper to bumper, a figure that places it right in the middle of the family utility segment. Its jumbo sheet metal surprisingly hides the same basic architecture that underpins the Impreza.

Visually, the Ascent borrows a large number of styling cues from other members of the Subaru line-up. That familiar styling makes it look like a much smaller vehicle. When you see an Ascent in person, your brain subconsciously categorizes it as a vehicle closer in size to the Outback or the Forester.

Life aboard

The Ascent's cabin is classic Subaru: style is on the conservative side but all controls are easy to use and logically arranged.

The vast majority of buyers will order the Ascent with an eight-inch touch screen. It runs the native infotainment system but it's also compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It offers a good resolution and it's quick to respond to inputs. But, best of all, Subaru has included hard buttons in the middle of the center stack. The climate controls are just below and consist of big buttons and chunky dials; these are the kind of controls you'll be able to use on a cold winter day when you're wearing gloves.

The Ascent offers space for seven or eight passengers depending on how it's configured. The first and second rows offer an ample amount of room. Space for the passengers in the third row is just okay, so we'd recommend reserving those seats for smaller children. On the bright side, well-equipped models come with USB ports in all three rows. The cabin also has 19 cupholders -- seriously.

Trunk space checks in at 17.8 cubic feet with all of the seats up, 47.5 with the third row folded flat, or 86.5 cubes with just two occupants.

Technical specifications

Power comes from a 2.4-liter flat-four engine that provides 260 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 277 pound-feet of torque between 2,000 and 4,800 rpm. It's exclusively offered with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and all-wheel drive.

Fuel economy checks in at 20 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 22 in a combined cycle with 20-inch wheels. Selecting 18-inch wheels bumps all three figures by one mpg.

Standard and optional features

The Ascent comes in four trim levels named base, Premium, Limited, and Touring, respectively.

Base models come standard with a 6.5-inch screen for the infotainment system, four USB ports, EyeSight (detailed below), three-zone automatic climate control, power doors and locks, roof rails, a second-row bench seat, 18-inch alloy wheels, and a convex cabin-view mirror that lets the driver keep an eye on the second and third rows.

Buyers can choose from several option packages. Highlights include the 14 package which bundles a power tailgate, an auto-dimming mirror, reverse automatic braking, 20-inch wheels, a panoramic moonroof, navigation, and a cargo area cover.

Occupant safety

Every Ascent comes with dual front, side, and curtain airbags in addition to a knee airbag for the driver. Subaru also includes its EyeSight technology, which bundles a number of electronic driving aids including pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure and sway warning, and pre-collision throttle management.

Key competitors

The Subaru Ascent competes in the same segment as the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, the Toyota Highlander, and the Volkswagen Atlas.