2020 Subaru Ascent review: Winter-weather warrior

It can be not the most fetching facial area in the section, but sort belies operate. 

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The Subaru Ascent’s sole update for 2020 is the addition of a rear-seat reminder procedure. In any other case, this a few-row SUV enters its 2nd model year unchanged. We’ve by now specified this point a comprehensive assessment over the program of a year with our long-term tester, and following just about every trip we walked away impressed. But there’s often a thing new to glean from additional time powering the wheel, and driving as a result of majorly schizophrenic February temperature has specified me additional rationale to take pleasure in the Ascent.


  • Typical all-wheel generate
  • Comfortable and roomy
  • Masses of excellent characteristics

Really don’t Like

  • Hyper-delicate throttle
  • Mediocre all-time tires
  • Nervous lane-keep support

Simple on the each day commute

Most of the time, the Ascent is about as inoffensive as a manila envelope. Its overall look is not everybody’s cup of tea, but I feel it functions effectively with the relaxation of the current Subaru lineup, and with my Touring-trim tester riding on 20-inch wheels, it appears a small additional cohesive than lesser models.

The inside is a small additional expressive, and this Ascent is positively loaded with soft complements. The brown leather-based is delicate, and it plays effectively with the matte-wood trim scattered throughout the cabin in little bits. Storage positively abounds, with significant cubbies in the doorways, a purse-sized opening in the middle armrest, added pockets on the dashboard and however one more hidey-hole just under the climate controls. Toss 19 cup holders into the mix, and the overall relatives will have no issue producing sure stuff will get stored at minimum somewhat securely. Visibility is the tops, also, with loads of glass enabling me to look at blind places with relieve. The third row is also tremendous basic to fold up or down, demanding a one cord pull as a result of the trunk, and it is really just as simple to slide into, many thanks to a dead-basic tilt-and-slide system.

The Ascent may not guide the pack in capacities, but it is really adequately competitive. Whilst the 2nd row’s place is competitive towards vehicles this sort of as the Hyundai Palisade and Chevy Traverse, the third row is a small limited for larger humans and its place falls powering the level of competition. Cargo place is respectable, featuring seventeen.8 cubic toes powering the third row or 47.five cubes with all those seats folded down.

The Massive Adult Subaru’s dry-street demeanor is similarly vanilla, which should be great for most households shopping in this section. Under the hood of just about every Ascent is a 2.4-liter turbocharged flat-four creating 260 horsepower and 277 pound-toes of torque. The motor is additional than joyful to shove the Ascent about with remarkable haste, increased in no little component by a (marginally annoying) throttle that likes to blast in advance with even the slightest trace of engagement. It will get you up to speed on the freeway, and then some, in no time flat for a mass-market relatives auto.

Linked to that four-pot is a consistently variable transmission, the sole cog-swapper readily available on most Subaru models these times. It can be a entirely great point, knocking off the occasional simulated gear change underneath heavier throttle applications, operating its way up and down the tachometer easily in considerably less spirited situations. It can be a wonderful combination, even though I feel a Snow mode with muted throttle inputs would go a long way to increasing the foul-temperature drivability (additional on that in a minute).

Gas overall economy is a mixed bag. Whilst the EPA charges the 2020 Ascent Touring at 20 miles per gallon city and 26 mpg freeway, I was never ever equipped to accomplish all those figures. Some of it is really likely owing to my regional highways’ 70-mph speed limitations (and eighty-mph move of targeted traffic), but most Roadshow employees had the identical struggles with our previous long-term Ascent.

In the snow

I am the dude who reads the temperature reviews and memorizes the radar map in advance of environment out on a long journey, but nothing at all could have geared up me for what I hit on my way home from the 2020 Chicago Vehicle Show earlier this month.

Someplace in between Jackson and Ann Arbor, Michigan, about two hrs from home, the snow arrived. This wasn’t some namby-pamby dusting, either. Whole-on whiteout circumstances appeared out of nowhere, catching dozens of drivers off guard as everybody slowed and crammed into a one line for safety’s sake.

The Ascent’s driver’s seat is a really soft position to shell out a snowstorm — at minimum when your sofa is not also an choice.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Inspite of all the momentum it carries, the Ascent is sure-footed in the snow. The car or truck held its program quickly, never ever wavering even as the snow commenced to accumulate on the street, obscuring strains and curves. My tester’s standard LED headlights established an terrible good deal of vivid reflections on the incoming snow, obscuring my visibility, but I doubt it would have been any improved with halogens. I retained the seriously strong entrance and rear defrosters on comprehensive and used intermittent blasts of wiper fluid to keep salt residue from more obscuring the street in advance. I never ever expert icy buildup on the corners of the windshield, which has occurred in other vehicles and can promptly develop into a security concern.

Whilst the Ascent dealt with the whiteout like it wasn’t even there, later article-snowfall driving highlighted the SUV’s regular all-time tires. The inventory set of Falken Ziex all-seasons are confident sufficient at higher speeds, but at decreased speeds they blend with the sensitive throttle to present additional wheelspin than I’d like. The Ascent’s steadiness-regulate procedure allows you commit to a stunning sum of yaw, so I hope you learned how to countersteer. Any shopper who has not by now stretched their price range on the Ascent should spend in a set of good winter season tires or at minimum swap the Falkens with improved all-temperature rubber from Continental or Michelin. Be geared up to pony up, though — 20-inch tires do not come low-priced.

Examine the tech

The Subaru Ascent packs a strong technological punch, hitting purchasers with the two security and creature-comfort and ease characteristics that keep speed with the level of competition.

Whilst foundation Ascents make do with a six.five-inch infotainment display, my Touring tester packs the upgraded 8-inch display. The Starlink infotainment procedure isn’t going to have the hottest graphics, but it is really still lots capable, with the two Apple CarPlay and Android Vehicle coming standard throughout the board. Navigation is readily available on higher trims, but I prefer smartphone mirroring to Subaru’s constructed-in stuff. Wi-Fi connectivity is sin below, also.

Starlink could not have the flashiest graphics, but it is really quickly sufficient and packs just about just about every function a relatives will need to have.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Subaru has long touted its security record, and its standard enhance of butt-conserving tech only highlights that more. Every one Ascent will come with Vision, which addresses automated emergency braking, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, lane-keep support and adaptive cruise regulate. This palms-on procedure functions wonderful, trying to keep the harsh actions to a minimum amount, but the lane-keep support does try out a small also hard to keep you in the complete center of the lane, which can get spooky when passing a truck that continues to drift ever closer to the dashed white strains. Luckily, the programs are simple to transform off if you prefer to go it on your own.

New for the 2020 model year is a rear-seat reminder procedure. It can be a basic a single, remembering whether or not the rear doorways have been opened prior to starting off a journey, and featuring up a reminder to look at the rear seat at the conclusion of a excursion. It can be annoying for me, because I am of the “How could you ever ignore about a dwelling point in the back again seat?” mentality. But you know what? If it will help conserve even a single existence, it is really value the chime that will come when the ignition is turned off.

How I’d spec it

The 2020 Subaru Ascent Touring has almost everything I could quite possibly want in a a few-row relatives SUV, but all that kit will come at a price — this prime-trim tourer has a window sticker of $forty six,055 following accounting for the $one,010 place cost.

Personally, I’d opt for the penultimate Ascent Restricted trim, which starts at a significantly additional palatable $39,345. If you want the larger display and some added creature comforts, a $2,950 Tech Bundle provides the 8-inch display screen, in addition to improved audio and a panoramic moonroof. That brings the price down to $43,305 following place — a small improved, specially if you can stay without the need of the ventilated seats and wood trim.

Down to brass tacks

The Ascent is really evenly priced towards its largest rivals. The Chevy Traverse offers additional place, but its inside quality is the pits (a GM concern in normal). The Honda Pilot is most likely a bit additional stylish, and it offers rear-seat enjoyment whilst the Ascent does not, nor does the Pilot mandate a CVT. The Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride are sizzling new contenders that ramp items up in the type department, but the two of all those new a few-rows can get high priced in a hurry. Suffice it to say, comparison shopping in this section may consider some time.

But if you do opt for the Ascent, I you should not feel you are going to be permit down. It drives effectively in all manner of temperature circumstances, there’s lots of place for households to retailer stuff and its standard security tech should supply a full good deal of peace of head.