Get everyone onboard the 2019 Subaru Ascent, a three-row, family-sized SUV with a multitude of seating options. The Ascent offers 7- or 8-passenger seating, all contained within a maximum passenger volume of 153.5 cubic feet, and features 60/40-split, fold-down second-and third-row seats to let you carry large items.
In addition to holding people and cargo, the vehicle has a 5,000-pound towing capability aided by a Trailer Stability Assist system to make driving while towing easier. This technology uses sensors to monitor trailer sway and can brake individual wheels to stabilize the vehicle and trailer.
The 2019 Ascent offers the basic trim along with three additional models: the Premium, Limited, and Touring. I drove the Limited.
In the Limited trim, the 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat has lumbar support and two-position memory, while the front passenger seat is four-way power-adjustable. However, the front seats were not as comfortable as I would have liked, as there was too much confinement and the back cushioning was stiff. The back seats, though, were quite comfortable.
The front and second-row seats are heated, as are the exterior mirrors, and there is also an easily accessible windshield-wiper de-icer. These features are all part of the All-Weather Package in my Ascent Limited.
The cabin temperature is cosy thanks to the tri-zone automatic, digital climate control system. As you are ready to get in, friendly lighting greets you and the Multi-Function Display (MFD) on top of the dash goes to work immediately, showing a welcome screen after engaging the remote-control entry.
Much of the car can be commanded through the steering wheel, which has audio, cruise, and Bluetooth controls.
Subaru’s highly acclaimed EyeSight driver-assist system, standard on all trims of the Ascent, uses a pair of cameras to “see” and support the driver. This technology is used to implement adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure and sway warning, and lane-keep assist. Coupled with blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert, it makes driving more fun, and certainly safer.
The Ascent is powered by Subaru’s 2.4-liter turbocharged, horizontally opposed “boxer” engine, which cranks out 260 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 227 lb.-ft. of torque in the band of 2,000–4,000 rpm. Coupled to a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) with Subaru’s symmetrical full-time AWD, the Ascent has a fuel economy rating of 20 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. I achieved up to 27 mpg on the highway.
The most impressive complimentary feature is Subaru’s StarLink connected services, which offers remote engine start, concierge service, and anti-theft vehicle immobilizer with flashing vehicle security lights. The child-safety functions includes geofencing, speed alert and curfew. It even has firmware updates over the air.
The StarLink 8.0-inch multimedia navigation system with voice commands and a high-resolution LCD multi-gesture touchscreen, is easily understood and comfortable to use. Smartphone integration through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and audio streaming, are standard, keeping you fully connected through your phone while on the road.
For a more traditional source, there is always SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Voice-activated navigation is powered by TomTom. Finally, the Harman Kardon premium audio system with 14 speakers will provide all the music experience you can handle.
Whatever your destination is, you can count on the Subaru Ascent. It’s large, tipping the scale at 4,608 pounds, but versatile and packed with technologies. Subaru is noted for quality, durability, reliability, and safety. The Ascent is an exemplar of that reputation.
The Ascent Limited sits high, carrying you on 20-by-7.5-inch aluminum alloy wheels in dark gray with silver finish. This gives the vehicle a substantial 8.7 inches of ground clearance.
Of the Subaru’s sold over the last 10 years, 97 percent are still on the road today. Because of their durability, increased rigidity, and high-strength steel, the Subaru you purchase today can be handed down from generation to generation.
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Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this newspaper or at firstname.lastname@example.org
The interior of the 2019 Ascent. (Courtesy of Subaru)