2019 Subaru Ascent Introduction

The largest Subaru yet makes it debut for 2019. With the Ascent, Subaru has joined the three-row crossover class. The new Ascent is clearly family-focused, able to seat up to either seven or eight passengers. Built in Indiana for North American drivers, the 2019 Ascent shares its global platform with Subaru’s Impreza and Crosstrek.

Base, Premium, Limited, and Touring trim levels are offered. A new turbocharged 2.4-liter 4-cylinder flat (horizontally-opposed) engine produces 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) mates with standard all-wheel drive. Ascents in Premium or higher trim level are rated to tow as much as 5,000 pounds.

Like other CVTs, Subaru’s transmission operates like a conventional automatic, but includes simulated “gears” that can be employed when accelerating. The CVT’s primary duty, though, is to maintain fuel efficiency. Helped by respectable low-end power, a fully independent suspension, and 8.7-inch ground clearance, the Ascent can handle gravel roads and mild off-roading adventures.

Subaru has a long history of emphasis on safety. Crash-test scores for the new Ascent have excelled. Standard advanced safety features, in a group that Subaru calls “EyeSight,” include forward-collision warnings, automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control. A new standard cabin-view mirror shows front occupants a view of the back seat.

Blind-spot monitors are included with Premium trim. Reverse automatic braking goes into Limited models. On Touring models, the standard rear-facing camera’s view is projected onto the inside rearview mirror. Touring models add a 180-degree forward-facing camera.

Crash-testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration resulted in five-star ratings overall and for frontal and side impacts. The sole four-star rating was for rollover resistance, a calculated score rather than one based upon actual testing.

The Ascent has been declared a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In addition to earning “Good” scores for all crash tests, it was rated “Superior” for collision-avoidance equipment.

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