2019 Subaru Ascent Long-Term Review: A Loving Farewell to Our Full-Size Adult Subaru

Which car.

Nick Miotke / Roadshow

Our intrepid editor-in-chief Tim Stevens gave our 2019 Subaru Ascension the nickname Large Adult Subaru, and it is perhaps the truest name that one can give to this vehicle. As a three-row SUV, it’s definitely tall – taller than any other Subie from afar. Given its layout, it’s perfect for adult activities involving kids, pets, or the little time in between for hobbies.

Over the past year or so, we’ve swept this thing across the entire half-acre of Hell (the idiom, not the actual location), and left with a new appreciation for a car that’s been stormed before. lots from Subaru dealers. Here’s how our year went and what we learned.


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Hard adult

Being an adult means doing a lot of things not just for yourself, but for everyone around you. For the three main drivers of this longtime player – Tim Stevens, myself and video producer Nick Miotke – it meant a lot of time spent transporting people, young people and dogs of all ages.

When it came to carry our furry friends, this Ascension was worth its weight in gold. Our Limited trim comes with individual captain’s chairs, giving my two dogs the personal space they so craved on road trips. My small dog can get motion sickness without proper ventilation so having three-zone automatic air conditioning meant the dogs could receive cooler air which kept me from having to devour a other long-term dog. In case they wanted to snuggle up, the third row bench was always available.

OK, the third row bench wasn’t always available, because part of adulthood means carrying a bunch of garbage. Fortunately, the Ascent seat folding process was about as easy as it gets. Of course, the visible pull straps weren’t exactly an expensive touch, but having those straps in plain sight meant folding rows took a few seconds at most. And, unlike previous long-lasting power seats, there are fewer parts to eventually repair. With an electronic tailgate and a low enough cargo floor, filling the Ascent to the brim was easy. My only concern was with the hard plastic trim on the third row, which seemed prone to scratches.

The Ascent’s 2.4-liter flat-four produces 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque, more than enough to get down the freeway with appreciable commotion. The accelerator was in fact too much susceptible; without really relaxing, it was not difficult to send races rolling when leaving a red light. The standard continuously variable transmission did a good job, shifting gears without getting in the way – probably the highest praise one can give a CVT. Ride quality was not my favorite, perhaps feeling a bit stiffer than I would like, but with smaller wheels on cheaper trims, this issue shouldn’t be so obvious.

Our fuel economy was all over the place. Tim Stevens had the lightest foot of the group, depleting a few Ascent tanks with economy north of 25 mpg, a solid boost from the EPA’s estimated value of 22 mpg combined. Nick and I weren’t so lucky, having gained numbers between 20 and 22 mpg. Part of this can be attributed to her use as a video production mule, where she sat still with the engine idling for long periods of time. But, if you make a concerted effort to be efficient, the powertrain will reward you. Over 15,828 total miles, we averaged 22.3 mpg.

The Ascent’s on-board technology was sort of a mixed bag, too. While Star link has improved dramatically over time, the inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto meant that most of our time was spent using mirroring in smartphones and all the great apps that come with them (e.g. , Google Maps, Waze, Spotify).

We loved EyeSight, the automaker’s suite of active and passive safety systems, which only required a transparent windshield to function, saving us the frustration of having to defrost a low-profile radar sensor before setting off. The lane keeping assist was a little overbearing at times, so I mostly drove with it turned off, but adaptive cruise control helped reduce the boredom of long freeways.

Nick also used the Ascent for family purposes, taking his son to sporting events, school, etc. He praised the child seat locks in the Ascent for their ease of access and use. He was also very impressed that in addition to the two locking points on the second row captain’s seats, there were two more in the third row.

You will also be delighted to learn, I am sure, that a person in a rather “extra” wedding dress can and will be able to take a seat in the front seat of the Ascent. It’s not entirely comfortable, but it works, with enough room to buckle the seat belt.

If at some point you need to fit an entire wedding’s worth of fragile dried flowers into a Subaru Ascent, you can be assured that it will work.

Andrew Krok / Roadshow

Manufacturing means

While our long-term Ascent performed admirably as a road warrior, his main focus in Detroit was video production. Shoot those beautiful videos that you watch on Roadshow – you are watch our videos, right? – requires a small army of videographers carrying the equipment of a large army. Luckily, lowering the third row gave us all the space we needed to play Tetris with soft and hard shell bags filled with lenses, lights, microphones, and possibly a kitchen sink.

But the Ascent wasn’t just a passive member of the team – it was actually an integral component of video production. Using a complicated series of clamps, suction cups, and a single massive gimbal, we were able to shoot car-to-car photos. Ascent’s extensive use of flat surfaces in its design made this part a cinch.

This long-haul has even seen a bit of time on a racetrack. We took a Nissan GT-R Nismo to GingerMan Raceway on the west side of Michigan, and although we had some initial concerns about its potential, the Ascent was able to keep up and helped us create some great clips of the Nismo at high speed. The rigid springs might not be the most comfortable on the highway, but they gave us the confidence we needed to pick up the pace on the track.

Fold down the third row, which isn’t very comfortable for adults, and you can carry all the camera gear you need for a day of shooting.

Nick Miotke / Roadshow

Bumps and bumps

Year-round driving in the upper half of the United States should qualify someone for a master’s degree in driving – and vehicle repair. While we were fortunate enough to avoid all sorts of serious fender-bender situations, the long-term Ascent didn’t go through the year completely unscathed.

The first problem came with the windshield, which developed a small crack after contacting a stray rock on the highway. A glass company was called in, and for about $ 100 we fixed it all. Then a few months later it happened again, and then it was fixed again. We were lucky that a complete replacement was not necessary as EyeSight would require recalibration in this case.

The only other problem with the Ascent came, again, from the ground. At one point, one of the tires developed a small leak. Including parts and labor, it was a $ 200 cure at my local Subaru dealership. The Limited’s honkin ‘wheels mean bigger, more expensive tires, so buyers of lower trims should be able to walk out of the dealership with smaller holes in their wallets.

Servicing new cars in 2019 is ridiculously straightforward, at least for the Ascent. During our time with the car, we only needed one trip to the dealership for maintenance, and the combined oil change and tire rotations were free as part of the plan. integrated car maintenance. Tim also changed the oil once on his own, that you can read in its latest update; having a top mounted oil filter made things a lot less complicated.

Up to the brass tacks

Over the past year, our long-range 2019 Subaru Ascent has been licked and has continued to perform. While not particularly easy, we saw decent fuel economy and a vehicle that never had a maintenance issue attributed to anything other than basic bad luck. So our time with the car should hopefully give potential buyers the peace of mind that if the Ascent can handle Roadshow, it can handle whatever the general population wants to throw at it.

We will miss you, big boy.

Nick Miotke / Roadshow


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