We do our best to keep it honest and unbiased here at the Engine Block, but you may have noticed our undying love for Subaru. Stylish and practical vehicles that are capable, durable, reliable, safe, and fairly priced? Is it any wonder we love them so much?! Enter the 2019 Subaru Ascent, our latest crush. A model with many personalities and trims, and yet consistent in its own small confidences. For many, it’s one that could easily be mistakenly categorized as vanilla. But we say, don’t be so quick to judge. (Also, is vanilla still not delicious?)
Now, Subaru’s entrance into the three-row SUV game may come with a bit of an eye roll. It seems everyone is jumping into the segment these days with their own version of a bigger and bolder model. But the numbers don’t lie, and whether it’s for spacious luxury or soccer game kid-toting, the big SUV is back in favor. The 2019 Subaru Ascent is poised to compete with the likes of the Mazda CX-9, Chevy Traverse, Toyota Highlander, and VW Atlas, among others. And while it may seem strange that a company long celebrated for its quirky individuality is so quick to jump on the three-row bandwagon, Subaru’s contribution to the over-saturation is a little more pleasing for one big reason: It’s a Subie, guys.
Space: The Final Frontier
If you’re going to insist folks casually pack eight people into a vehicle, then you better be able to back it up. Luckily, the Ascent does this in a big way. With 153.5 cubic feet of space and an exceptionally adaptable interior, most passengers can sit comfortably anywhere in the cabin. This space also outmatches (albeit narrowly) the space of the 2018 Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, and the 2019 Honda Pilot. AND rumor has it that the 2019 Ascent has an appropriate 19 cup holders on board. Wait what? Why? Who cares! Quit asking questions and pass me another Capri Sun, dude.
Not only does it stack up against the competition, but the 2019 Subaru Ascent is the automaker’s largest vehicle by far. There are, however, disparate details between that of the standard and the Touring trim. While the standard has a pretty decent layout inside with mostly unassuming, cloth-trimmed seats, the Touring has brown leather that feels like a reach, and to be honest, defeats the purposes for which people will buy this vehicle. The Premium trim, however, meets somewhere in the middle of these with spill-resistant upholstery, a bigger touchscreen, and an elegant but simple tone.
Under the Hood & Other Gadgets
The Premium and Touring trims also have very similar rigs with the 2.4-liter turbo four that generates 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. However, because of all the extra, bougie gunk on the Touring, it weighs 108 lbs more, and therefore performed worse in Motor Trend’s drive test. The Touring trim is by no means a bad vehicle, but the thematic thread here is that less is more. (A concept that should resonate with Subaru’s usual target audience.)
Now lets get down to it because the 2019 Subaru Ascent, despite its fresh face within the lineup, is still a Subie after all. People expect it to perform. It has a towing capacity of 5,000 lbs (more than its actual curb weight) and has 8.7 inches of ground clearance. That means it will have no issues hauling and climbing to wherever the road takes you on those impromptu weekend getaways. You can thank the front strut suspension paired with the double wishbone in the back for this, too. Additionally, the model comes standard with Subaru X-Mode, optimizing its overall performance.
The Ascent’s base model runs around $33,000 and the Touring around $45,000. Given the value of the base model and the essential seating and “off-roading” features it possesses, that trim emerges as a solid choice in the year’s offerings. Once a Subie, always a Subie. And we stress always, as this engine could very well last long enough to eventually pass down to one of the seven kids you’ll be hauling around with it. Or dogs. All seven dogs. Chase your dreams.