On Tuesday at the LA Auto Show, Subaru introduced the world to its newest offering, a super-sized crossover called the Ascent. Accompanied by a dog park worth of Retrievers, the automaker revealed its largest vehicle ever.
Available with seating for 7 or 8 passengers, the Ascent is clearly an attempt to capitalize on the explosive growth of the more upright utility market.
While rally fans may be left scratching their heads, this is not the first time that a niche brand has added in a line of utility vehicles in order to bolster its revenue stream. The most obvious example is Porsche, where the exceedingly popular Cayenne and Macan have funded the development of some of the most exciting toys ever to come out of Stuttgart. Jaguar, Maserati and others are all following suit, in hopes of grabbing a bit of a new to them market.
While I like the idea, I was also a Service Manager during era on Subaru’s previous foray into the crossover market. Intended to be a Murano competitor, the Subaru Tribeca was far too quirky for most and had a tendency to spend far too much time in the shop. One can only hope that the brand has done its due diligence this time around.
For size, think about a Mazda CX-9 or maybe a Nissan Pathfinder. Subaru is building heavily on the off-road culture that is being built by Crosstrek, Forester and Outback owners to promote the Ascent as a truly functional utility vehicle which is as comfortable on the trail or at a boat launch as it is dropping the kids off at school.
Subaru Canada press release
MISSISSAUGA, ON, Nov. 28, 2017 /CNW/ – Subaru Canada, Inc. (SCI) is pleased to announce that the all-new 2019 Ascent was unveiled today in Los Angeles.
Unveiled on the eve of the Los Angeles Auto Show, the 2019 Subaru Ascent ushers in a new era for the automaker as its first-ever three-row SUV with seating for up to eight passengers. Built on the Subaru Global Platform, Ascent offers the capability, versatility and driving enjoyment Subaru’s vehicles have become known for in a family-sized package.
“Subaru customers asked for a vehicle like Ascent and we listened,” said Yasushi Enami, chairman, president and CEO of Subaru Canada, Inc. “We understand the needs of Canadian families on the go, and our largest ever vehicle is perfectly suited to handle whatever our customers throw at it — or in it.”
Both the exterior and interior build on Subaru’s DYNAMIC x SOLID design philosophy to create an SUV with commanding presence, while remaining nimble enough to take on gridlock traffic and narrow trails with ease. Yet its interior offers an impressive amount of space for passengers or cargo — or both.
Emphasizing the functionality critical of a midsize SUV, the Ascent is available in seven- or eight-passenger configurations, with the choice of second-row captain’s chairs or bench seating, while offering enough room for a family’s worth of stuff.
Keeping whatever cargo that’s inside the Ascent safe is Subaru’s EyeSight advanced safety suite, which comes standard across the lineup and includes collision-avoidance, lane-departure warning and adaptive cruise control functionality.
“Subaru Canada takes safety seriously, and the inclusion of EyeSight across Ascent’s trim lineup reaffirms that,” Enami said. “EyeSight offers a whole new level of peace of mind that protects not only Subaru drivers and their families, but all road users.”
Powering the all-new 2019 Ascent is the latest evolution of Subaru’s famed BOXER engine technology that brings with it six-cylinder performance in a more efficient package. Output from the new turbocharged 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine is estimated at 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque running on regular gasoline, while its high-torque Lineartronic CVT allows Ascent to tow up to 2,270 kg (5,000 lbs.).
The all-new 2019 Ascent will be built at Subaru’s U.S. plant, Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc., and delivered to Subaru retailers in summer 2018.
To create an SUV with a commanding presence and exceptional functionality, the exterior and interior of Ascent build on Subaru’s DYNAMIC x SOLID design philosophy.
- Dynamic and sturdy SUV styling with a functional shape required of a three-row midsize SUV.
- Tough look befitting of an SUV as well as a rich and roomy cabin has been expressed by creating a central instrument panel with dynamic and spacious feel.
To meet the needs of young families that require both comfort and ease of use, Subaru has created an interior space allowing a comfortable experience in all seats, including the third row.
- Ascent offers enough room between passengers as well as ample cargo space.
- Wide rear door openings allow easy access for both second and third row passengers. Steps and grips are also positioned for ease of ingress and egress.
- Grips on second-row seats inspired by those found on Japanese bullet trains.
- The third-row seat achieves a comfortable seating position.
- For the first time in a Subaru model, Ascent adopts a new type of power rear gate with a built-in drive unit that contributes to achieve maximum cargo space.
- The driver’s seat features a cushion-length adjustment for the first time in a Subaru model.
- Ventilated front seats available for the first time ever in a Subaru vehicle.
- The seven-passenger configuration uses two captain seats in the second row for the first time in a Subaru model. Enough space between these seats allows easy access to the third row.
- A three-passenger second-row bench seat is standard in the eight-passenger configuration.
Intended to be enjoyed with peace of mind for the whole family, Ascent is designed to be safe and enjoyable not only in emergencies but in any driving situation. Reflecting Subaru’s comprehensive concept of safety, Ascent achieves top-of-class safety performance.
- Subaru’s unique EyeSight driver assist technology and the EyeSight Assist Monitor are standard equipment on all models.
- Reverse Automatic Braking reduces or entirely avoids collisions while reversing.
- Side/Rear Vehicle Detection System (SRVD) detects vehicles approaching from behind.
- Steering-responsive headlights offer a clear nighttime view.
- High Beam Assist improves visibility when driving at night.
- New front-view monitor reduces driver blind spots, helping to prevent front-end collisions.
- Smart rear-view mirror uses camera mounted inside at the top of the rear window to provide improved rear visibility, even in low-light conditions.
- By employing the Subaru Global Platform, Ascent offers excellent occupant protection, even for third-row passengers.
- All models are equipped with driver and front passenger SRS airbags, driver-side SRS knee airbags, and SRS side and side curtain airbags—a total of seven airbags as standard equipment—for class-leading occupant protection.
On-Road Agility Meets Off-Road Ability
Together with standard Symmetrical AWD and X-Mode for enhanced rough road performance, the newly developed 2.4-litre turbocharged direct-injection Boxer engine along with the Subaru Global Platform ensures SUV capability with peace of mind and an enjoyment for both drivers and families.
- Despite its smaller displacement, the newly developed 2.4-litre turbocharged direct-injection boxer engine achieves smooth acceleration equal to or better than that of competing vehicles with six-cylinder engines.
- The Subaru Global Platform improves body rigidity, enhancing dynamic quality feel such as smoothness and exhilaration.
- Ascent achieves both excellent straight-line stability at high speeds and smooth handling at low speeds.
- Active Torque Vectoring allows superior cornering performance and hazard avoidance capabilities.
- Paddle shifters allow drivers to enhancing the driving engagement.
- Subaru’s distinctive Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system offers stability in various circumstances, including challenging road conditions caused by snow, rain or mud, and on the highway.
- X-Mode improves performance on slippery and other difficult road surfaces through integrated optimal control of the engine, transmission and braking. Its Hill Descent Control setting gives drivers greater peace of mind by maintaining low speeds on downhill slopes.
- Along with the 220 millimetres of ground clearance, Ascent ensures enough road clearance, such as optimized approach and departure angles, when encountering a slope or returning to flat terrain from a slope, as well as ramp breakover angle at the peak of a rise, that broaden the range of activities families can enjoy.
- A maximum towing capacity of 2,270 kg, the most of any Subaru in history, allows Ascent to pull a camper or boat, supporting an active family lifestyle.