All- New Sub­aru As­cent Adds 7- Seat Op­tion to Lineup

Chicago Sun-Times - - TO DRIVE - BY JOHN STEIN

Due out later this year, one of the big­gest news items to come out of the Auto Show cir­cuit has been the in­tro­duc­tion of the all- new Sub­aru As­cent. Rest­ing atop the new Sub­aru global plat­form cur­rently used by Crosstrek and Im­preza, the 2019 As­cent will be the first large ve­hi­cle to use the new ar­chi­tec­ture.

At first glance, there’s im­me­di­ate Sub­aru sig­na­ture de­sign cues in both the ex­te­rior grille and in­te­rior treat­ments. The big­gest thing about the As­cent is it sheer size – it feels odd to see such a large Sub­aru body. But it is at­trac­tive, re­flect­ing subtle so­phis­ti­ca­tion with a ca­pa­ble ath­letic stance.

North Amer­i­can Pop­u­lar­ity

As ded­i­cated as the Sub­aru loyal seem to be to the boom­ing all- wheeldrive brand, even their en­thu­si­asm could not save the pre­vi­ously avail­able big SUV, called the Tribeca, which went away in 2014. The Tribeca SUV was strange look­ing and never had the sales im­pact the brand needed it to have – pro­vid­ing a step- up ve­hi­cle for grow­ing fam­i­lies who started with Out­backs and Foresters.

Built in Lafayette, IN, the As­cent is exclusive to the North Amer­i­can mar­ket as it of­fers Sub­aru’s no­table re­li­a­bil­ity, leg­endary en­durance, eight- pas­sen­ger ca­pac­ity, and all­wheel- drive sure­foot­ed­ness.

Three- Row Talk

The big news dis­tinc­tion re­gard­ing the As­cent is the po­ten­tial three- row eight- pas­sen­ger ca­pac­ity. En­try and exit from row three, which can be chal­leng­ing for any SUV de­sign, is no­table for its big space, pro­vid­ing sim­ple ac­cess via a slid­ing row two and grab han­dles for ex­tra ease. Ac­cord­ing to Sub­aru, the grab han­dles on the row- two seats were in­spired by Ja­pan’s fa­mously well- thought- out bul­let train in­te­rior de­signs.

Both the Pre­mium and Limited trim lev­els will of­fer a choice of cabin con­fig­u­ra­tion for rows two and three. At no ad­di­tional ex­pense, As­cent own­ers may pick from a tra­di­tional sec­ond row bench or cap­tain’s chairs ( one pro­vides 7- pas­sen­ger seat­ing, the other 8).

Per­for­mance

Aside from the ob­vi­ous Im­preza per­for­mance ex­cep­tions, Sub­aru does not nec­es­sar­ily hang its hat on high- speed per­for­mance be­ing a re­quire­ment for its ve­hi­cles. A new 2.4- liter tur­bocharged flat- four en­gine will be paired to a CVT trans­mis­sion. Sub­aru has had great suc­cess with these pair­ings and the big As­cent should ben­e­fit from that suc­cess. Sub­aru’s sym­met­ri­cal all- wheel- drive sys­tem is stan­dard equip­ment, and Sub­aru own­ers can rel­ish the abil­ity to stay on the pave­ment dur­ing even the worst weather en­vi­ron­ments.

Equip­ment Im­pres­sions

In­side, the 2019 As­cent will fea­ture in­te­gra­tion of An­droid Auto and Ap­ple CarPlay, while also de­liv­er­ing a big 8- inch touch­screen as an in­ter­face for the lat­est ver­sion of the Star­link in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem. From a safety stand­point, Sub­aru gets high marks and the Eye­Sight ac­tive safety suite, which in­cludes adap­tive cruise con­trol, an au­to­matic brak­ing sys­tem, lane keeping as­sist, high beam as­sist, and sway warn­ing, will be at the cen­ter of the pro­tec­tive equip­ment.

Com­pet­i­tive Pric­ing

When the As­cent hits the mar­ket in the sum­mer, base prices will be slightly above $ 30,000, with Subaru­type op­tion pack­ages avail­able to out­fit your SUV to your heart’s con­tent. When you look at the others in the seg­ment – as well as rec­og­niz­ing Sub­aru’s suc­cess in right- pric­ing all their ve­hi­cles with re­gard to com­peti­tors’ pric­ing – ex­pect to see an As­cent that has value over the long haul.

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