SUV looking for new customers
Mimicry no longer pays. No one will buy a model from the same brand if they don’t like it. Ascension confirms. Designed to appeal to Subaru owners, the Ascent not only faces some challenges in convincing them to upgrade, but also convincing other audiences.
As well as being honest and direct: the brand flag with a star is a transparent vehicle. No one competes for ownership of this SUV that can carry up to eight people on board. Nor does the competition resent his presence.
The Ascent isn’t the first Subaru to put down. The previous model, the Tribeca, was similar. In fact, it is not for all that the car was pulled badly or that would have sinned with the complexity of its style which is, today, the salt of the mark, according to its owners. For such a high-end car, it’s surprising that Subaru goes to great lengths to stay out of sight and, in fact, manage to do it well.
The silhouette is smooth, without ambitions. No shops, eye-catching differences. It is neither round nor square, neither good nor bad. Eyes closed, it is difficult to mentally recreate the floating shapes of this model, the constellation, placed above the grille, tells us that it is a Subaru.
Fortunately, ascension cannot be reduced to its sad form. Inside is better than outside. The interior, where there are plenty of storage spaces and cup holders (there are 19), is not soft, it’s more modern too. Especially in Onyx – with its chairs connected with a green thread – and Premier, which combines textures and materials – wooden beaches, for example – to create a rich environment. In contrast, other cells dominated by black plastic and dark fabrics lack warmth and warmth.
Don’t worry, regardless of personal choice, all Rays now benefit from an 11.6-inch light-emitting slate. Vertically positioned and sensitive to external reflections due to the sun-drenched panoramic glass roof, it has enabled Subaru to reduce the number of buttons installed around the cockpit. A welcome reservation, but one that needs to be navigated – simply, it must be recognized – more often on the trees of this touchpad.
The front seats ensure good support and a semi-high driving position that is very popular with many drivers. It is arranged like a small school classroom – without desks, however – mounting bolts, in the middle part, two armchairs or a bench. The space allocated to “hard” in the last row – access is not very easy, but does not require many collisions – is not at all generous. In any case, it is best to reserve them for people of small stature, and for short trips. Otherwise, they will have to start a skillful discussion with the occupants of the previous row to make a change in the seat allocation.
Once all the seats are occupied, the luggage rack is quickly accessed.
So you have to sacrifice the foundations under or over the car and the roof box, practical, but rather taxing in terms of energy efficiency.
In terms of safety, the manufacturer announces version 4.0 of its EyeSight device responsible for managing your behavior on the road and correcting your mistakes. It’s encouraging in theory, but annoying in practice, because it sometimes interferes or lacks insight. It flashes, “beeps” and is annoying. As soon as the system considers that there is a risk, it intervenes. It is suitable for those drivers who would benefit from being driven. For those, we recommend you choose the Limited and Premier versions, which come with additional equipment to avoid any inconvenience at the wheel.
The doubts end here: technically, there is no progress. Almost, except for the upgraded brake booster. This doesn’t change the dynamics of this car, whose weight and variable suspension components (we’ll come back to this) mean we don’t have much fun behind the wheel.
The muffler is among the best in the segment, even if some ambient noise or aerodynamic whistles are noticeable.
It is on the fast tracks that this Japanese seems to be the most comfortable. Its round radius punishes it a bit in the city. On a hilly road, its behavior is encouraging, but not very exciting. A suspension that has gentle body movements and hates rapid changes in power. This characteristic of the subject is enhanced by the tendency to gently float in the open. Voluntarily, we adopt a flowing attitude. This one suits him best and is completely relaxing.
Weighing more than two metric tons and considering its welcoming nature (up to eight people can ride inside), it needs muscle under the hood. A supercharged flat-4 engine sees it. Known with great respect, this 2.4 L fulfills its role with precision, but it does not however shine in terms of energy efficiency. The Hyundai Palisade with its big V6 (3.8 L) does the same. With nearly the same displacement, the Ford Explorer with the 2.3L four-cylinder uses 1 L/100 km less according to the EPA.
Additionally, the Ascent is now one of the few in its segment to offer an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT). If its performance does not cause problems at all, except that it strangles the engine’s 260 hp when it is taken, one wonders about the real savings it brings. And the limits build on the ability to pull this car. In its basic configuration (Empty), this Subaru reduces the towing weight from 908 kg to 2270 kg.
For all these reasons, the Ascent is not the kind of car you buy in a hurry. It is beyond guilt.
The rise of Subaru
From $40,995 to $53,995
12.1 L/100 km (winter mode)
The ratio of the volume to the volume of the interior
We like a little
Less fun to drive
Narrow third row of seats
Subaru enthusiasts’ faith may be unwavering, but their conscience will be with the Ascension.
- H4 2.4L turbocharged
- 260 hp at 5600 rpm
- 277 lb-ft of torque between 2000 and 4800 rpm
- Empty weight: from 2005 to 2082 kg
- Ground clearance: 220mm
- Towing capacity: from 908 kg to 2270 kg
- Standard: Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
- Optional: no
- Driving mode: all-wheel drive
- 245/60R18 (Convenience and Touring)
- 245/50R20 (Onyx, Limited, Premier)
Tank capacity and recommended gasoline
- Wheel base: 2890 mm
- Length : 4998 mm
- height: 1819 mm1
- width : 1956 mm2
1 Including roof rails; 2 If you remove the exterior mirrors
It had a trapezoidal grille topped with two small mustaches that the B9 Tribeca made its debut in 2005. For the Canadian management of Subaru, this model, the largest in its history, was seen as a logical evolution of the Outback. Naturally, it adopted the main virtues of the Japanese manufacturer, namely the flat engine and the constant all-wheel drive. The list included five stations, three of which can accommodate seven people and add a third row of seats. The B9 Tribeca was offered for $41,995, which was $1000 more than the current Ascent.
When will there be an Ascension with hybrid mechanics? It is for next year, suggest several sources. A drive that can marry a (naturally aspirated) 1.8-liter engine to a rechargeable electric power unit. This dual-head system would also be offered on the Forester and Outback. If this is confirmed, this mechanic will probably not get the benefit of the ongoing upgrade. Indeed, Subaru halted all development of the hybrid mechanics last month to focus more on all-electricity, according to Japanese media agency Nikkei.
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Media will soon publish a test of the following cars: Honda Pilot, Kia Niro, Porsche Macan and Toyota Sequoia. If you own one of these vehicles or are considering purchasing one, we’d love to hear from you.