The 2019 Ascent is Subaru's largest vehicle to date. Though it rides on a stretched version of the global architecture that underpins the new Impreza and Crosstrek, the Ascent offers three rows of seats, with space for up to eight passengers. Oh, and it comes with 19 -- yes, 19 -- cupholders.
Every Ascent is powered by a brand-new 2.4-liter turbocharged boxer four-cylinder engine, rated at 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque, paired with a continuously variable transmission. Like most Subarus, the Ascent comes standard with all-wheel drive, and features an "X-Mode" off-road setting. When properly equipped, the Ascent can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
Subaru's Starlink infotainment system handles onboard tech duties, with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as an available 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. The Ascent also comes standard with Subaru's EyeSight driver assistance tech, which bundles adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and automatic pre-collision braking. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert are available as options.
The 2019 Subaru Ascent starts at $31,995, not including $975 for destination. The Premium trim starts at $34,195, the Limited comes in at $38,995 and the top-level Touring commands $44,695.
The Subaru Ascent's sole update for 2020 is the addition of a rear-seat reminder system. Otherwise, this three-row SUV enters its second model year unchanged. We've already given this thing a thorough examination over the course of a year with our long-term tester, and after every ride we walked away impressed. But there's always something new to glean from more time behind the wheel, and driving through majorly schizophrenic February weather has given me more reason to appreciate the Ascent.
Most of the time, the Ascent is about as inoffensive as a manila envelope. Its appearance isn't everybody's cup of tea, but I think it works well with the rest of the current Subaru lineup, and with my Touring-trim tester riding on 20-inch wheels, it looks a little more cohesive than lesser models.
The interior is a little more expressive, and this Ascent is positively loaded with cushy complements. The brown leather is soft, and it plays well with the matte-wood trim scattered across the cabin in small bits. Storage positively abounds, with large cubbies in the doors, a purse-sized opening in the center armrest, additional pockets on the dashboard and yet another hidey-hole just below the climate controls. Throw 19 cup holders into the mix, and the entire family will have no problem making sure stuff gets stored at least somewhat securely. Visibility is the tops, too, with lots of glass allowing me to check blind spots with ease. The third row is also super simple to fold up or down, requiring a single cord pull through the trunk, and it's just as easy to slide into, thanks to a dead-simple tilt-and-slide mechanism.
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