The 2019 Subaru Ascent has made its official debut in Los Angeles, marking the arrival of the largest Subaru-badged vehicle to date.
The Ascent is aimed at young, growing families and is intended to help Subaru retain the customers that once had to leave the brand in order to get themselves into a larger vehicle. It rides on a lengthened version of the Subaru Global Platform (SGP) that also underpins the Impreza and Crosstrek. It will have three rows of seating, with the second row available with either a three-seat bench or two captain’s chairs at no extra cost. All versions but the base model will be available with the captain’s chairs, which are typically reserved for more premium trim levels in competing products.
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Under the hood will be a turbocharged 2.4-liter boxer engine that makes 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque, which will be linked to a CVT automatic transmission and Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel drive system. The powertrain allows for a max tow rating of 5,000 lb – more than any Subaru in history. Official fuel economy figures are still a long way out, but Subaru claims it will be able to travel more than 500 miles on a full tank. There’s also some respectable capability figures such as 8.7 inches of ground clearance, a 17.6-inch approach angle and a 21.8-inch departure angle.
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Subaru aimed to make its three-row mid-size SUV well suited to families. As such, it features eight USB ports, 19 cupholders, a 120-volt outlet and on-board Wi-Fi capability. A 6.5-inch Starlink infotainment system is standard on base models, while jumping to the Premium, Limited and range-topping Touring trims adds an 8.0-inch screen. Both of the systems come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other available tech features include a 14-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system, a panoramic power sunroof and rain-sensing wipers.
Like all Subarus, the Ascent places a particular emphasis on safety. The automaker’s EyeSight driver warning system is standard and is joined by a myriad of safety features including Automatic Pre-Collision Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure and Sway Warning and Pre-Collision Throttle Management. Also available is Blind Spot Detection with Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and a 180-degree frontal view camera (standard on range-topping Touring models). Towing safety was also taken into consideration, with Subaru including a trailer stability control system that subtly straightens the vehicle using the ABS system.
The Subaru Ascent will be built at the automaker’s Indiana plant alongside the Impreza, Outback and Legacy. The automaker says it should be priced from the low $30,000 range and is predicting sales of around 68,000 units annually. Look for it to go on sale in early Summer 2018.