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19th of January 2018


Oversized offspring, Nissan hints and un-PC utes: What people are saying about the '19 Subaru Ascent

Photo credit: SUBARU

"The 2019 Subaru Ascent treads familiar ground, looking like the oversized offspring of a Forester and an Outback. As is expected of a Subaru, there is awkwardness here, but it is subtle rather than bold, largely relegated to visual disparity between the swollen fenders and the Nike-esque swoosh stamped into the upper part of the doors.

"Otherwise, Subaru plays it safe, inside and out. Given the poor reception of the original B9 Tribeca, this is not surprising. And the result is appealing enough to attract more than just existing Subaru fans to the largest vehicle the company has ever built."

-- Christian Wardlaw, New York Daily News

"Certainly, the styling is less, um, adventurous than that of the Tribeca (which I never thought was really all that bad looking, but I digress). Of course, the Ascent is positioned as a volume vehicle, so it's not shocking that its looks lean towards the generic.

"Not to mention that the plain-but-handsome formula already works for the brand's other crossovers/tall wagons. Not everything has to be sexy, man. ...

"Looking at the Ascent up close, I saw hints of the Nissan Rogue/Pathfinder in the side profile and perhaps a little Toyota Highlander up front. I also saw what appears to be a much better-looking infotainment system and an interior that's class competitive, if not particularly remarkable."

-- Tim Healey, The Truth About Cars


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"A year after dropping the extra-extra-large Viziv-7 concept on the LA show, Subaru is back with the real thing. The eight-passenger Ascent is the all-wheel drive second shot at the three-row market (after the late, failed Tribeca), and this one should stick. That's assuming Subie buyers can stomach an un-PC supersized ute. They'll feel better about its sippy, CVT-driven turbo-4 — though I hope it's not too underpowered for the big fella."

-- Henry Payne, The Detroit News

"Although the Ascent is new for Subaru, its styling is instantly recognizable. It borrows much of its outward looks from the Subaru Outback, including its wagon proportions and window kink closer to the rear roof pillar. The nose of the Ascent is decidedly bigger and taller, with a larger and more upright grille opening than the Outback."

-- Aaron Cole, The Car Connection

"Subaru's new three-row family SUV faced two questions:

"Is it big? Does it look like a Subaru?

"The answer to both is 'yes,' and that likely spells success for the Ascent, and for Subaru's uninterrupted string of monthly sales increase, now at 71.

"The Ascent's interior has plenty of room and upscale materials, but the mechanism for returning the rear seat to upright when it's been folded into the floor is a bit cumbersome.

"Other than that, it's hard to find any downside to the Ascent."

-- Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press

"A slightly bigger Outback is not what I'd expected from a new three-row Subaru crossover. The third row is extremely tight and, like the new RX 350L, won't see much duty as a place for adults. The Ascent will keep Outback owners who want a third row from leaving Subaru showrooms, but it's not likely to draw in new customers — and it strikes me as quite likely to cannibalize Outback sales."

-- Aaron Bragman,

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