2019 Subaru Ascent debuts as the brand's largest SUV to date
Who needs minivans when an SUV offers eight seats and standard all-wheel drive?
Subaru has lifted the veils off the 2019 Ascent, the company's biggest model ever.
The family-oriented SUV offers a spacious interior available in seven- or eight-passenger configurations on three rows of seats, standard all-wheel drive, an all-new engine, as well as an array of safety and driver assist systems.
Previewed by the namesake concept unveiled earlier this year, the Ascent is based on a strengthened and extended version of the Subaru Global Platform, the Ascent has a 113.9-in wheelbase and offers 153.5 cubic feet of passenger volume, as well as up to 72.6 cubic feet of cargo volume.
The Ascent boasts up to nine seating configurations and two rows of 60/40 split flat-folding seats. It comes standard with a second-row bench seat and an 8-passenger configuration, while premium and above trim levels come with second-row captain's chairs as a no-cost option (7-passenger configuration).
Also related to practicality is the fact that the rear doors open 75 degrees to allow for easy access to the third row, and since this is an SUV built especially for the U.S. market it has no fewer than 19 standard cup and bottle holders.
Subaru says the 2019 Ascent offers a quiet interior and "excellent driving feel," thanks to a stiffer chassis that makes extensive use of high-strength steel, as well as comprehensive soundproofing measures that include an acoustic windshield and front door glass.
The big SUV is powered by an all-new 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine that makes 260 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 277 lb-ft of torque between 2,000 and 4,800 rpm. All models are linked to a Lineartronic CVT featuring an 8-speed manual mode function with steering wheel paddle shifters as well as X-Mode with Hill Descent Control.
Subaru's Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive is standard, as are Active Torque Vectoring and the four-wheel independent suspension that's said to combine SUV capability and car-like ride and handling. The Ascent comes fitted with 18-inch wheels and has 8.7 inches of ground clearance.
While the powertrain output and torque figures may not seem spectacular, they allow the 2019 Ascent to tow up to 5,000 lb — the most of any Subaru in history. Fuel economy ratings are not available yet, but the automaker claims the big SUV will cover more than 500 miles on a full tank.
On the tech front, the Ascent comes standard with the EyeSight Driver Assist Technology that bundles systems such as Automatic Pre-Collision Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure and Sway Warning, Pre-Collision Throttle Management, and new EyeSight Assist Monitor (EAM). A 6.5-inch Starlink Multimedia System is also standard.
The 2019 Subaru Ascent will be built in Indiana and will arrive in U.S. dealerships in early summer 2018. Customers will be able to choose between base, Premium, Limited, and Touring trim levels.