2019 Subaru Ascent: First Drive — Cars.com

the Subaru Outback has a cult following
and I’m a fan too but like many parents I can’t fit my kids three car seats in
its back seat enter this Subaru ascent Subarus new three row SUV Subaru hasn’t
had a three row SUV in its lineup since the 2014 Tribeca Subarus Assent is the
biggest Subaru SUV but size isn’t just what families care about they care about
features too I got the chance to drive the ascent on the Oregon coast to see if
it delivers power comes from a new turbocharged 2.4 liter 4 cylinder engine
that might sound like a small engine for a vehicle this big but for the most part
it’s not low end power is strong and there’s no turbo lag where it starts to
feel underpowered is on the highway during passing and merging maneuvers or
hill climbs you feel in here it’s struggle the sole transmission is a
continuously variable automatic and it’s drone is loud and unrefined and it takes
a while to spool up power a v6 and any other transmission are unavailable in
terms of road manners the ascent feels predictably like a three row SUV it’s
composed in corners but doesn’t feel agile and its ride quality is good bumps
are well damped and overall it’s comfortable to drive but a touch loud in
terms of road and wind noise all-wheel drive is standard and it’s a capable
system I drove it on sand gravel and dirt and it handled it all well aided by
the X modes hill descent control which automatically moderates throttle on
descents very helpful system outside the ascent looks like a plumped
up version of the Outback inside it’s more Subaru all over the cabin you’ve
got this very straightforward clean looking setup which you see in a lot of
supers I don’t love this material but in higher grade trim levels it’s a little
bit classier a little bit nicer I really do like this multimedia system however a
6.5 inch screen is standard which is large enough and an 8 inch screen is
optional it’s an upgraded version of Subarus usual multimedia system and it’s
got tuning and volume knobs which are really handy and overall it’s very easy
to use apple carplay is standard Android auto is standard wireless hotspot
capability is optional another new option is a camera based
rear-view mirror system so if your car is loaded you can’t see behind you using
the mirror you flip a switch it becomes a camera based system and you have clear
visibility which can be a handy feature another new option is ventilated seats
another creature comfort that’s available just this year the ascent has
seating for seven or eight passengers depending on trim level this model seats
eight on a bench seat Subaru says there’s room enough for three car seats
across the back seat which we aren’t able to test but it feels very roomy it
also has two sets of latch anchors and an additional third latch anchor for a
little bit of car seat flexibility when installing the seats another
family-friendly feature that I like are these cloth seats they’re stain and
liquid resistant so if you spill anything on them the liquid will just
beat up and not soak into the fabric so you won’t have a stain and you won’t
have a smell which is less mess another feature that I really like are there’s
19 cupholders in this cabin standard which seems like a lot you don’t have to
put drinks in all of them but you can use them as personal storage cubbies
coming in handy when you have a lot of kids lastly there’s also a conversation
mirror so the front seat occupants can kind of check what’s going on in the
back seat which is another handy family-friendly feature what’s missing
back here is a rear entertainment system Subaru does not offer one on the ascent
but it does offer something called the entertainment anywhere package which is
a pair of iPads and some headphones so basically it’s it kind of functions as a
personal entertainment system for whoever is in the back using
dad’s getting back to the third row is actually pretty easy
thanks to this button on the side of the chair and the step in is pretty
manageable too so kids should have no problem getting back here by themselves
once back here room is pretty average for a three row SUV the seats are kind
of hard it’s not the most comfortable seat in the house but it’s pretty
comparable to others in the segment now one thing that I do like is this window
a lot of third rows can feel kind of dark in cave-like
and this really opens up visibility makes it feel a little airier another
thing are these cupholders there’s tons of them and then in higher trim levels
you also get USB ports back here lastly there’s also a set of lower latch
anchors back here and three top tether anchors so if you want to install a car
seat back here you can it makes the ascent more family-friendly
in back there’s 17.8 cubic feet of space which is a little less than the
Volkswagen Atlas but a little more than the Honda Pilot and the third row goes
down for more space there’s also a little bit of underfloor storage space
here for smaller items the ascent may not be the quietest or the most refined
vehicle but it’s good where it counts it’s practical capable and it has enough
goodies to keep families precious cargo safe and happy you