Chicago Auto Show Blog

The Biggest Subaru Yet

Posted by: Jennifer Morand

Subaru is satisfying consumer demand with its all-new three-row SUV called the Ascent, the biggest U.S. Subaru to date. As the vehicle is now available in the Midwest, Peter Tenn, Subaru’s car line planning manager, explained how Subaru is using its brand strength to conquest new customers in an already crowded segment. 
 
Ascent_Rear
 
Described as “family-sized, versatile and capable,” the Ascent has a bold, edgy and strong presence with sweeping lines. Tenn says comfort, styling, reliability, quality, space and safety are the main reasons for purchase in this segment, and he’s confident the Ascent delivers in each of these categories. Inside, the vehicle is spacious, elegant and functional.  
 
The Ascent is designed for Americans – it easily accommodates large baby strollers, child seats, sports equipment, big luggage and enlarged coolers. One of Subaru’s main focuses when designing the Ascent was cargo capacity, and Tenn believes the vehicle is very competitive dimensionally. It offers seven-passenger seating with second-row captain's chairs or eight-passenger seating with a bench replacing the captain's chairs. With the eight-passenger bench seating three child car seats can fit next to each other in the middle row. The door openings are extra wide to fit large child seats. 
 
Ascent-1
 
Subaru also focused heavily on holistic safety when designing the Ascent. All-wheel-drive and Subaru’s EyeSight system (which provides forward collision warning and emergency braking) come standard on the Ascent. Also available is lane keep assist, lane away (which, essentially, is lane departure warning with a beep warning), lead vehicle alert, EyeSight HUD (which alerts the driver when the car in front of them moves from a stationary position), reverse automatic braking, blind spot and rear traffic alert and overall excellent visibility. 
 
In regards to fuel economy, the Ascent achieves 27 mpg (26 mpg for the more fully-loaded models) and doesn’t need premium gas to hit these numbers, unlike some of Ascent’s competitors. Subaru built the Ascent on its new Global Platform and the new 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine sits under the hood producing 260 hp and 277 lb.-ft. of torque. 
 
Plus, the Ascent has some serious off-road cred with 8.7 ground clearance – which, surprisingly, is the same as the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk. Additionally, it has a 5,000 lb. towing capability – which is competitive for this segment – that includes trailer stability assist. 
 
Ascent-2
 
Technology abounds in the new the Ascent and features Subaru’s Starlink infotainment system including an eight-inch touchscreen with physical knobs (that come in handy for owners in the snowbelt states who consistently wear gloves), standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as available WiFi (the Ascent is the first Subaru vehicle to offer a WiFi hotspot). The “Entertainment Anywhere” package is also available which allows people to connect their own devices into the vehicle (i.e. two WiFi iPads or two Harman Kardon headphone sets). 
 
Additional notable features include a panoramic moonroof with 100 percent UV blocking; ventilated and heated seats; rain sensing wipers; heated mirrors and windshield wipers; roof rails that can accommodate roof tents; 180-degree front-view camera; a new smart rear view mirror (mitigating the issue when the vehicle is loaded to its gills); eight USB ports; and 19 in-vehicle cup holders. 
 
The Ascent is now available at area dealerships with a starting price of $31,995 (though the price ranges upward through $45,000 for premium models). Tenn eluded to forthcoming hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Ascent; that announcement will likely come later this year. 
 
For more on the biggest Subaru yet, check out last week’s WLS-AM’s “Drive Chicago” radio show’s podcast where we caught up with Subaru’s Director of Corporate Communications Dominick Infante. The radio show runs every Saturday morning at 8 a.m. 
 
Questions or feedback? Comment below or tweet us @ChiAutoShow or @DriveChicago
 
 
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