I finally got behind the wheel of the all-new Ascent, Subaru’s new mid-size SUV and Tribeca replacement that hit the market earlier this year. Matt had the chance to review the Ascent back in June and found it to be a very worthy entry in the 3-row sport utility vehicle segment. His only real issue was with the steering and its rather vague feel.
My test drive was considerably shorter but on the other hand I was able to compare it directly to the new Hyundai Santa Fe, Mazda CX-9 and Kia Sorento on the same roads and in the same conditions. Needless to say, I came away with some valuable info.
With that in mind, here are five things to know about the brand-new 2019 Subaru Ascent.
It’s quite luxurious inside
The first thing you will notice about the Ascent is how luxurious the interior is compared to its competition. It feels more upscale and the materials found inside are both refined and elegant. This is especially true in the Premier top-of-the-line model which features all the tech and convenience features you could want, and a brown leather that looks really good.
The engine is great, the CVT gearbox not so much
The 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine found under the hood was specially built for this model. It features 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque which is more than enough. The problem here, however, is the CVT transmission. It simply doesn’t like to be pushed too hard and will hesitate more than I’d like it too anytime you floor the accelerator. On the other hand, the Kia Sorento, Mazda CX-9 and Hyundai Santa Fe are all quicker to react and more dynamic overall.
All the cupholders you could ever possibly need
The Ascent is built for families. There is a ton of space inside, especially the second row and you can accommodate 8 passengers in most versions. The trunk is also quite spacious, more so than the three rivals named above. There are also plenty of USB ports at every row and 19 cupholders in total. Think about that for a second.
Pricey, but AWD comes standard
When looking at mid-size SUVs, you can’t just look at price. There is a lot of variation in what each model offers as standard equipment. The Ascent is one of the more expensive options with a starting price of $35,995, but it comes with more standard features than average including the most effective all-wheel drive system of any model in this segment.
Safety is standard
Every 2019 Subaru Ascent comes with Subaru’s Eyesight active safety package which includes lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, automatic braking both front and rear (to avoid backing into an object that you didn’t see), and lane departure mitigation. The system works well, isn’t too intrusive, and isn’t as affected by weather conditions as other similar technologies.
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