Unveiled almost a year ago at the Los Angeles International Auto Show, the 2019 Subaru Ascent is the biggest and most versatile SUV in the Subaru lineup. It replaces the unfortunate Tribeca and takes on a host of redesigned models in the crowded and competitive mid-size SUV segment.
The Ascent has to deal with the likes of the new Kia Sorento, Mazda CX-9 and Hyundai Santa Fe, fan favorites like the Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Highlander, and notable additions to the segment like the Volkswagen Atlas. In other words, the 2019 Subaru Ascent has to be near-perfect to stand a chance.
The 2019 Subaru Ascent may not be a game-changer, but it’s certainly worth a test drive if you’re in the market for a new mid-size SUV.
What the 2019 Subaru Ascent does well
1. It really has this versatility thing nailed down. There are a ton of USB ports at every row, room for 7 or 8 passengers depending on the version, 19 cupholders just because, and 2,345 liters of cargo space. There’s almost 500 liters with all seats in place which isn’t the most space you can get in this segment, but it’s close.
2. Subaru built a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine specifically for the Ascent. With 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque, it has all the power you need, with decent fuel economy to boot. Moreover, the Ascent’s turbo doesn’t require premium unleaded, regular will do just fine.
3. There are a ton of versions in the Ascent lineup, but the entry-level models still provide good value. The EyeSight suite of active safety technologies is standard as are heated seats, automatic three-zone climate controls, power seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
4. The comfort level is quite impressive. The 2019 Ascent is quiet and refined on the road, and is among the best in its class at putting your mind at ease as you sit behind the wheel.
What the 2019 Subaru Ascent doesn’t do so well
1. The Ascent’s interior is basically a top-of-the-line Subaru Impreza, only bigger. Quality-wise it’s fine, but visually it’s bland. Compared to a CX-9, Honda Pilot, Volkswagen Atlas or Toyota Highlander, the 2019 Ascent simply doesn’t look as modern as it should inside.
2. Steering is light. Very light in fact. Some won’t have a problem with this, but for buyers who like to feel connected to the road, the Ascent’s steering is not the way to go.
3. The turbocharged engine can be a bit twitchy at times. A nudge of the right pedal can cause the nervous throttle to leap the vehicle forward. It takes a bit of getting used to.
What we tell our friends
The 2019 Subaru Ascent is a typical Subaru. It’s spacious, versatile and provides a ton of value with its only fault being a bland interior. There’s also that steering issue, but again many buyers won’t care or notice. Will the Ascent dominate the mid-size SUV segment? No. Can it meet the needs of your family? Absolutely.