Subaru goes big with all-new 2019 Ascent midsize SUV
To get to the heart of the all-new 2019 Subaru Ascent midsize SUV in a few words, it's got 19 cup holders. Yes, it really has space for 19 drinks. Plan your restroom breaks before you leave home. But there's a lot more to the Ascent than that. It's the largest Subaru ever made. It was designed especially for American families, and it's made in Indiana.
The next thing to know is that the Ascent is a grand slam home run. This SUV is exactly what a midsize SUV should be. Subaru chose McMinnville for the national media launch, and we drove the new SUV through the coast range to the beach and around wine country. The 2.4-liter turbo engine has 260 horsepower on tap and a well-tuned continuously variable transmission that delivers the power when you need it.
You've also got comfort. There's plenty of room in the second and third rows, and you can get the Ascent with individual seats or a bench seat in the second row. With the bench seat configuration, the Ascent will carry up to eight passengers. There are four trim levels, and the Ascent Limited that I drove was second from the top. It had power front seats, perforated leather upholstery, heated first and second row seats, and a heated steering wheel. There's also a power liftgate, rear window sunshades, and separate climate control for the second row passengers.
Safety is paramount in midsize SUVs, and the Ascent has it all. In the Limited trim, you get blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, reverse automatic braking, and steering-responsive headlights. All Ascent trims including the base model come with a rear-view camera and Subaru's great EyeSight driver assistance system. This gives you adaptive cruise control, forward emergency braking, and lane keep assist.
Of course, every Ascent will also come equipped with Subaru's legendary Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system, including X-Mode which allows the Ascent to traverse much more challenging terrain than you'll ever actually try to cross. One more thing: the Ascent will tow up to 5,000 pounds.
Our test vehicle had the optional upgrade Starlink 8-inch multimedia navigation system, which was very handy. The option package also included the Harman Kardon 14-speaker premium audio system, which sounds great. It costs $2,950 to add those goodies.
On the road, the Ascent is nothing short of amazing. If you've ever had an Outback, the Ascent drives like that, only better. If you haven't driven an Outback, the Ascent offers power, sure-handling grip, and all the benefits that come with a latest-technology design. If you're shopping for a family SUV this year, put the Subaru Ascent at the top of your test-drive list. Subaru dealers are taking orders now, but Ascent will arrive at showrooms in June.
2019 Subaru Ascent Limited
Base price: $39,970
Price as tested: $42,920
Type: Midsize crossover SUV
Engine: 2.4-liter turbocharged horizontal 4 (260 hp, 277 lbs-ft)
Transmission: Continuously Variable Transmission
EPA estimated mileage: 20/26
Overall length: 196.8 inches
Curb weight: 4,592 pounds
Final assembly: Lafayette, Indiana