Subaru Ascent

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.

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Editors' First Take

Welcome to another update of what it's like to live with our 2019 Subaru Ascent Limited. After Andrew Krok welcomed it to the family at the tail end of 2018 and took it cruising down to Chicago, I drove the thing 10 hours from Detroit, Michigan to my home up the wilds of New York State. I didn't really have much in the way of expectations prior to bringing the Ascent home, but suffice to say it's fitting in the family well. 

Another month on, we've now covered just under 4,500 miles in the Ascent. While I managed to meet the 26 miles-per-gallon figure on my initial, extended highway jaunt, I'm nowhere near that now. With mostly day-to-day driving in the country and city, I'm seeing an average of 19 mpg, just one tick below the EPA's official 20 mpg city rating.

That's not bad considering this is a big rig, Subaru's biggest car ever. Since the last update I spent a little time getting comfortable in that third row, or trying to anyway, and it should come as no surprise that I didn't find it a very welcoming space. My six-foot frame meant significant slouching was required to not make a literal impression in the headliner. Shorter adults and more youthful souls should have little problem, however. 

The second row is far more comfortable. There, thanks in part to the panoramic glass roof, I have no shortage of headroom. We opted for the pair of captains chairs here instead of the bench seat, which make access to that third row a lot easier. However, I'm not convinced it's the optimal configuration for my use. Our two dogs aren't happy trying to perch on those two seats, and so instead we put them in the way back, with the third row folded down.

The Ascent is a good dog hauler, as our most recent Roadshow on CBSN episode demonstrated, but the rear cargo area is a bit tall for my pups, both of whom are of larger breeds and advanced years. Even with a ramp they're struggling to climb in the hatch, so they have to come in via the side door and find their way around those two chairs in the middle row. 

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