Nearly half a decade after the demise of Subaru’s Tribeca SUV, the Japanese brand will jump back into the three-row crossover game with the 2019 Subaru Ascent. Built on the scalable Subaru Global Platform that also underpins the latest Impreza, the Ascent rides on a 113.8-inch wheelbase and contains a formidable 152 cubic feet of passenger space in its boxy body, comparable to the Honda Pilot (152 cubic feet) and the Volkswagen Atlas (153 cubic feet) but falling short of the massive Chevrolet Traverse by five cubes.
The Ascent offers standard seating for eight, thanks to three-across benches in both the second and third rows. A pair of second-row captain’s chairs, a no-cost option on all but the base Ascent, limits seating to seven. Regardless, the three-row Subaru provides 20 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third row and 73 cubes with both the second and third rows folded
Powering the Ascent is a new turbocharged 2.4-liter flat-four engine making 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque, the latter at a low 2000 rpm—that’s 10 more ponies than the turbo four in the Mazda CX-9 but 33 lb-ft less torque. The Ascent’s turbo four, however, is torquier than the V-6s offered in the Traverse, Pilot, and Atlas and significantly more than Subaru’s own 3.6-liter flat-six powerplant.
As in every Subaru not named BRZ, the Ascent comes standard with all-wheel drive. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) serves as the middleman between the engine and the axles, and a set of steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters accesses eight preset ratios for simulated stepped gearchanges. Subaru claims the Ascent can tow up to 5000 pounds when properly equipped, a figure that betters the Mazda by 1500 pounds and matches the maximum towing capacities of the Chevy, Honda, and Volkswagen.
Safe and Sound
Standard on every Ascent is Subaru’s EyeSight suite of safety features, which includes automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-departure warning. Additionally, all Ascent trims feature a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The display measures 6.5 inches in the base Ascent but grows to 8.0 inches in the Premium, Limited, and Touring models. Ascending the trim-level ladder adds comfort and convenience items such as a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, heated seats for the first two rows, and a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert. A reverse automated braking system, a power liftgate, and a proximity key with push-button start are optional on the Premium but come standard on Limited and Touring trims.
Additionally, the Limited model features leather upholstery, LED headlights, and retractable second-row sunshades, while the top-of-the-line Touring adds ventilated front seats, rain-sensing wipers, a camera-based rearview mirror, navigation, and a panoramic sunroof. Both the navigation system and the sunroof also are available as options on Premium and Limited models.
Would this come to Singapore? It certainly looks better than the Tribeca.