2020 Subaru Ascent review: Winter-weather warrior

It’s not the most fetching face in the segment, but type belies purpose. 

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The Subaru Ascent’s sole update for 2020 is the addition of a rear-seat reminder system. Otherwise, this a few-row SUV enters its 2nd product calendar year unchanged. We’ve currently given this thing a comprehensive examination around the class of a calendar year with our long-expression tester, and just after each individual trip we walked absent amazed. But you will find often some thing new to glean from more time powering the wheel, and driving via majorly schizophrenic February weather conditions has given me more rationale to appreciate the Ascent.


  • Common all-wheel push
  • Comfortable and roomy
  • Loads of fantastic features

Don’t Like

  • Hyper-delicate throttle
  • Mediocre all-time tires
  • Anxious lane-maintain guide

Straightforward on the each day commute

Most of the time, the Ascent is about as inoffensive as a manila envelope. Its physical appearance is just not everybody’s cup of tea, but I consider it operates well with the relaxation of the latest Subaru lineup, and with my Touring-trim tester riding on 20-inch wheels, it seems a little more cohesive than lesser styles.

The interior is a little more expressive, and this Ascent is positively loaded with comfortable enhances. The brown leather is soft, and it performs well with the matte-wood trim scattered across the cabin in compact bits. Storage positively abounds, with substantial cubbies in the doorways, a purse-sized opening in the middle armrest, more pockets on the dashboard and still another hidey-gap just below the local weather controls. Throw 19 cup holders into the mix, and the complete family members will have no dilemma creating sure stuff receives saved at the very least to some degree securely. Visibility is the tops, way too, with loads of glass making it possible for me to verify blind places with simplicity. The 3rd row is also super straightforward to fold up or down, requiring a one cord pull via the trunk, and it’s just as simple to slide into, many thanks to a useless-straightforward tilt-and-slide mechanism.

The Ascent may well not direct the pack in capacities, but it’s appropriately competitive. Even though the 2nd row’s room is competitive from autos these as the Hyundai Palisade and Chevy Traverse, the 3rd row is a little tight for more substantial people and its room falls powering the level of competition. Cargo room is respectable, giving 17.eight cubic toes powering the 3rd row or forty seven.5 cubes with people seats folded down.

The Substantial Adult Subaru’s dry-street demeanor is equally vanilla, which need to be excellent for most households shopping in this segment. Less than the hood of each individual Ascent is a 2.4-liter turbocharged flat-4 producing 260 horsepower and 277 pound-toes of torque. The motor is more than content to shove the Ascent close to with outstanding haste, improved in no compact component by a (a bit annoying) throttle that likes to blast in advance with even the slightest hint of engagement. It’ll get you up to speed on the freeway, and then some, in no time flat for a mass-marketplace family members car.

Linked to that 4-pot is a continuously variable transmission, the sole cog-swapper offered on most Subaru styles these times. It’s a completely great thing, knocking off the occasional simulated gear change underneath heavier throttle purposes, doing the job its way up and down the tachometer smoothly in less spirited circumstances. It’s a wonderful blend, while I consider a Snow mode with muted throttle inputs would go a long way to strengthening the foul-weather conditions drivability (more on that in a minute).

Gas financial state is a combined bag. Even though the EPA rates the 2020 Ascent Touring at 20 miles for every gallon metropolis and 26 mpg freeway, I was under no circumstances equipped to achieve people figures. Some of it’s most likely because of to my nearby highways’ 70-mph speed restrictions (and eighty-mph stream of traffic), but most Roadshow staff members had the exact same struggles with our outdated long-expression Ascent.

In the snow

I’m the male who reads the weather conditions stories and memorizes the radar map before environment out on a long journey, but almost nothing could have ready me for what I hit on my way dwelling from the 2020 Chicago Vehicle Exhibit before this thirty day period.

Somewhere in between Jackson and Ann Arbor, Michigan, about two hours from dwelling, the snow came. This wasn’t some namby-pamby dusting, possibly. Full-on whiteout conditions appeared out of nowhere, catching dozens of motorists off guard as everyone slowed and crammed into a one line for safety’s sake.

The Ascent’s driver’s seat is a really comfortable put to invest a snowstorm — at the very least when your sofa is just not also an possibility.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Regardless of all the momentum it carries, the Ascent is sure-footed in the snow. The automobile held its class effortlessly, under no circumstances wavering even as the snow started to accumulate on the street, obscuring strains and curves. My tester’s standard LED headlights created an dreadful ton of shiny reflections on the incoming snow, obscuring my visibility, but I question it would have been any improved with halogens. I saved the very seriously powerful entrance and rear defrosters on entire and used intermittent blasts of wiper fluid to maintain salt residue from more obscuring the street in advance. I under no circumstances seasoned icy buildup on the corners of the windshield, which has transpired in other autos and can promptly turn out to be a safety problem.

Even though the Ascent dealt with the whiteout like it wasn’t even there, later submit-snowfall driving highlighted the SUV’s common all-time tires. The inventory established of Falken Ziex all-seasons are self-assured sufficient at better speeds, but at decreased speeds they incorporate with the touchy throttle to give more wheelspin than I would like. The Ascent’s stability-handle system allows you commit to a astonishing amount of money of yaw, so I hope you figured out how to countersteer. Any buyer who has not currently stretched their price range on the Ascent need to commit in a established of correct wintertime tires or at the very least exchange the Falkens with improved all-weather conditions rubber from Continental or Michelin. Be ready to pony up, though — 20-inch tires do not occur low-cost.

Look at the tech

The Subaru Ascent packs a powerful technological punch, hitting buyers with equally safety and creature-ease and comfort features that hold speed with the level of competition.

Even though foundation Ascents make do with a 6.5-inch infotainment monitor, my Touring tester packs the upgraded eight-inch monitor. The Starlink infotainment system does not have the most current graphics, but it’s however a great deal capable, with equally Apple CarPlay and Android Vehicle coming standard across the board. Navigation is offered on better trims, but I want smartphone mirroring to Subaru’s constructed-in stuff. Wi-Fi connectivity is sin right here, way too.

Starlink may perhaps not have the flashiest graphics, but it’s rapidly sufficient and packs just about each individual aspect a family members will need.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Subaru has long touted its safety file, and its standard complement of butt-preserving tech only highlights that more. Every single one Ascent comes with Vision, which addresses computerized unexpected emergency braking, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, lane-maintain guide and adaptive cruise handle. This arms-on system operates wonderful, preserving the severe actions to a minimum, but the lane-maintain guide does attempt a little way too challenging to maintain you in the complete center of the lane, which can get spooky when passing a truck that proceeds to drift at any time nearer to the dashed white strains. Luckily, the devices are simple to flip off if you want to go it on your own.

New for the 2020 product calendar year is a rear-seat reminder system. It’s a straightforward a single, remembering whether or not or not the rear doorways ended up opened prior to beginning a journey, and giving up a reminder to verify the rear seat at the end of a vacation. It’s annoying for me, because I’m of the “How could you at any time forget about a dwelling thing in the again seat?” mentality. But you know what? If it aids conserve even a single lifestyle, it’s worthy of the chime that comes when the ignition is turned off.

How I would spec it

The 2020 Subaru Ascent Touring has almost everything I could maybe want in a a few-row family members SUV, but all that kit comes at a price tag — this leading-trim tourer has a window sticker of $forty six,055 just after accounting for the $1,010 desired destination demand.

Individually, I would decide for the penultimate Ascent Limited trim, which commences at a much more palatable $39,345. If you want the more substantial monitor and some more creature comforts, a $2,950 Tech Package provides the eight-inch show, in addition to improved audio and a panoramic moonroof. That brings the price tag down to $43,305 just after desired destination — a little improved, in particular if you can reside with out the ventilated seats and wood trim.

Down to brass tacks

The Ascent is really evenly priced from its most important competition. The Chevy Traverse presents more room, but its interior high-quality is the pits (a GM problem in normal). The Honda Pilot is most likely a little bit more fashionable, and it presents rear-seat leisure while the Ascent does not, nor does the Pilot mandate a CVT. The Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride are scorching new contenders that ramp things up in the fashion office, but equally of people new a few-rows can get high-priced in a hurry. Suffice it to say, comparison shopping in this segment may well consider some time.

But if you do decide for the Ascent, I will not consider you’ll be permit down. It drives well in all way of weather conditions conditions, you will find a great deal of room for households to retail store stuff and its standard safety tech need to offer a full ton of peace of head.

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