2020 Subaru Ascent review: Winter-weather warrior

Victoria D. Doty

It truly is not the most fetching deal with in the phase, but form belies perform.  Andrew Krok/Roadshow The Subaru Ascent’s sole update for 2020 is the addition of a rear-seat reminder program. Normally, this a few-row SUV enters its 2nd product yr unchanged. We have by now provided this […]

It truly is not the most fetching deal with in the phase, but form belies perform. 

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The Subaru Ascent’s sole update for 2020 is the addition of a rear-seat reminder program. Normally, this a few-row SUV enters its 2nd product yr unchanged. We have by now provided this thing a thorough evaluation around the study course of a yr with our extensive-expression tester, and following every trip we walked absent amazed. But there is certainly always some thing new to glean from a lot more time at the rear of the wheel, and driving by means of majorly schizophrenic February climate has provided me a lot more rationale to enjoy the Ascent.


  • Common all-wheel drive
  • Snug and spacious
  • Masses of good capabilities

Will not Like

  • Hyper-sensitive throttle
  • Mediocre all-year tires
  • Anxious lane-hold assist

Uncomplicated on the daily commute

Most of the time, the Ascent is about as inoffensive as a manila envelope. Its physical appearance just isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but I consider it is effective perfectly with the relaxation of the recent Subaru lineup, and with my Touring-trim tester riding on 20-inch wheels, it seems to be a little a lot more cohesive than lesser types.

The interior is a little a lot more expressive, and this Ascent is positively loaded with soft enhances. The brown leather is gentle, and it plays perfectly with the matte-wood trim scattered across the cabin in smaller bits. Storage positively abounds, with substantial cubbies in the doorways, a purse-sized opening in the middle armrest, supplemental pockets on the dashboard and but another hidey-hole just below the local climate controls. Throw 19 cup holders into the mix, and the overall family members will have no problem making guaranteed things will get stored at the very least fairly securely. Visibility is the tops, also, with loads of glass making it possible for me to check blind spots with ease. The third row is also tremendous basic to fold up or down, requiring a single twine pull by means of the trunk, and it’s just as easy to slide into, many thanks to a useless-basic tilt-and-slide mechanism.

The Ascent may possibly not guide the pack in capacities, but it’s correctly competitive. Although the 2nd row’s room is competitive versus vehicles these as the Hyundai Palisade and Chevy Traverse, the third row is a little limited for greater people and its room falls at the rear of the opposition. Cargo room is first rate, supplying seventeen.8 cubic toes at the rear of the third row or forty seven.five cubes with those people seats folded down.

The Significant Adult Subaru’s dry-highway demeanor is equally vanilla, which really should be excellent for most family members purchasing in this phase. Below the hood of every Ascent is a 2.four-liter turbocharged flat-four generating 260 horsepower and 277 pound-toes of torque. The engine is a lot more than delighted to shove the Ascent all-around with remarkable haste, increased in no smaller portion by a (somewhat irritating) throttle that likes to blast ahead with even the slightest hint of engagement. It’s going to get you up to speed on the freeway, and then some, in no time flat for a mass-market place family members car.

Connected to that four-pot is a consistently variable transmission, the sole cog-swapper obtainable on most Subaru types these times. It truly is a wholly fine thing, knocking off the occasional simulated equipment change under heavier throttle programs, functioning its way up and down the tachometer effortlessly in much less spirited conditions. It truly is a terrific mixture, despite the fact that I consider a Snow mode with muted throttle inputs would go a extensive way to improving the foul-climate drivability (a lot more on that in a moment).

Gasoline economy is a mixed bag. Although the EPA fees the 2020 Ascent Touring at 20 miles for each gallon town and 26 mpg freeway, I was by no means ready to reach those people figures. Some of it’s very likely due to my community highways’ 70-mph speed boundaries (and eighty-mph move of site visitors), but most Roadshow staff experienced the identical struggles with our outdated extensive-expression Ascent.

In the snow

I’m the male who reads the climate reviews and memorizes the radar map in advance of placing out on a extensive journey, but nothing could have organized me for what I strike on my way house from the 2020 Chicago Vehicle Exhibit previously this month.

Someplace in between Jackson and Ann Arbor, Michigan, about two several hours from house, the snow arrived. This wasn’t some namby-pamby dusting, either. Entire-on whiteout conditions appeared out of nowhere, catching dozens of motorists off guard as all people slowed and crammed into a single line for safety’s sake.

The Ascent’s driver’s seat is a pretty soft place to shell out a snowstorm — at the very least when your couch just isn’t also an choice.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Despite all the momentum it carries, the Ascent is guaranteed-footed in the snow. The car held its study course simply, by no means wavering even as the snow commenced to accumulate on the highway, obscuring lines and curves. My tester’s conventional LED headlights developed an dreadful great deal of bright reflections on the incoming snow, obscuring my visibility, but I doubt it would have been any much better with halogens. I kept the severely impressive front and rear defrosters on comprehensive and utilized intermittent blasts of wiper fluid to hold salt residue from more obscuring the highway ahead. I by no means seasoned icy buildup on the corners of the windshield, which has occurred in other vehicles and can swiftly turn out to be a basic safety issue.

Although the Ascent managed the whiteout like it wasn’t even there, later on article-snowfall driving highlighted the SUV’s normal all-year tires. The stock established of Falken Ziex all-seasons are confident adequate at better speeds, but at reduced speeds they combine with the sensitive throttle to deliver a lot more wheelspin than I would like. The Ascent’s stability-manage program lets you commit to a astonishing volume of yaw, so I hope you figured out how to countersteer. Any consumer who hasn’t by now stretched their spending budget on the Ascent really should commit in a established of appropriate wintertime tires or at the very least swap the Falkens with much better all-climate rubber from Continental or Michelin. Be organized to pony up, while — 20-inch tires do not come affordable.

Verify the tech

The Subaru Ascent packs a impressive technological punch, hitting consumers with both basic safety and creature-comfort and ease capabilities that maintain rate with the opposition.

Although base Ascents make do with a 6.five-inch infotainment display screen, my Touring tester packs the upgraded 8-inch display screen. The Starlink infotainment program won’t have the latest graphics, but it’s nevertheless a good deal able, with both Apple CarPlay and Android Vehicle coming conventional across the board. Navigation is obtainable on better trims, but I prefer smartphone mirroring to Subaru’s created-in things. Wi-Fi connectivity is sin right here, also.

Starlink may well not have the flashiest graphics, but it’s fast adequate and packs just about every aspect a family members will require.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Subaru has extensive touted its basic safety report, and its conventional enhance of butt-preserving tech only highlights that more. Each and every single Ascent comes with Eyesight, which handles computerized emergency braking, ahead-collision warning, lane-departure warning, lane-hold assist and adaptive cruise manage. This palms-on program is effective terrific, trying to keep the harsh actions to a bare minimum, but the lane-hold assist does test a little also tough to hold you in the complete middle of the lane, which can get spooky when passing a truck that continues to drift at any time closer to the dashed white lines. Fortunately, the programs are easy to switch off if you prefer to go it by yourself.

New for the 2020 product yr is a rear-seat reminder program. It truly is a basic just one, remembering no matter whether or not the rear doorways were opened prior to setting up a journey, and supplying up a reminder to check the rear seat at the stop of a excursion. It truly is irritating for me, because I’m of the “How could you at any time forget about a dwelling thing in the back seat?” mentality. But you know what? If it can help help save even just one life, it’s worth the chime that comes when the ignition is turned off.

How I would spec it

The 2020 Subaru Ascent Touring has every little thing I could maybe want in a a few-row family members SUV, but all that kit comes at a rate — this top-trim tourer has a window sticker of $46,055 following accounting for the $1,010 vacation spot demand.

Individually, I would decide for the penultimate Ascent Constrained trim, which begins at a considerably a lot more palatable $39,345. If you want the greater display screen and some further creature comforts, a $2,950 Tech Deal provides the 8-inch exhibit, in addition to much better audio and a panoramic moonroof. That delivers the rate down to $43,305 following vacation spot — a little much better, in particular if you can live without the need of the ventilated seats and wood trim.

Down to brass tacks

The Ascent is pretty evenly priced versus its most important competitors. The Chevy Traverse features a lot more room, but its interior good quality is the pits (a GM issue in common). The Honda Pilot is probably a bit a lot more stylish, and it features rear-seat entertainment whilst the Ascent does not, nor does the Pilot mandate a CVT. The Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride are warm new contenders that ramp points up in the model department, but both of those people new a few-rows can get costly in a hurry. Suffice it to say, comparison purchasing in this phase may possibly get some time.

But if you do decide for the Ascent, I will not consider you can expect to be permit down. It drives perfectly in all fashion of climate conditions, there is certainly a good deal of room for family members to store things and its conventional basic safety tech really should supply a entire great deal of peace of brain.

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