June 10, 2021
Review and photos by Glen Konorowski
Most SUVs drive about equal but the Subaru Ascent is just that little bit different or quirky making it just that more fun and interesting to drive.
The four trim-level Ascent line on a whole, are well equipped; it is the top model in Subaru SUV lineup. The Ascent I tested was the Limited edition with the second row captain’s chairs, which is optional on this model.
A 2.4L boxer flat four cylinder Double Overhead Cam (DOHC) turbo charged engine powers all Ascents. Contrary to the belief that DOHC engines have no torque, well think again. This powerful little beast pushes out 277ft.lb. of torque and 260hp. This torque comes in low starting at 2000rpm. Great for that extra tug when you have your boat on the trailer. In fact the Ascent will tow up to 5000 lb., which is not bad for a low displacement 4-cylinder engine. I was impressed by the power and acceleration that came on fast as I accelerated on to the highway. All this power is nice when you have 4-passengers, luggage and towing your boat.
As you might suspect from Subaru, the Ascent is All-Wheel-Drive connected to a CVT (Continuous Variable Transmission) which Subaru has used successfully for years. This system lends itself to all kinds of safety features like hill decent control, all kinds of anti-slip control and for those who tow, Trailer Stability Assist which detects trailer yaw and applies the brakes accordingly. (Nothing scarier than seeing your boat and trailer moving side to side at higher speeds.) And a great extra, the Limited model is also pre-wired for a trailer, which is nice as the trailer hitch is all that needs to be installed.
At the top of Ascent line the Limited’s wheels are bigger 20-inch variety on an attractive alloy wheel. Tires are a hefty 245/50R20 both front and rear. Like most new cars the Ascent included, it has very good 4-wheel disc brakes which I had the pleasure of using in a panic stop due to an accident a couple of vehicles ahead of me.
Inside the Ascent was a very comfortable place to be. The front driver and passenger leather seats were some of the best I have encountered in a while. My test Limited model Ascent had the optional very comfortable rear bucket seats which that are great for long distance driving for taking a crew up to the boat. The 3rd. row seats are for children or adults on very short trips. One item I did like on the Limited Ascent was the panoramic roof which the front half opened for a nice open-air feeling. All the controls were easy to use and find, without having to have a degree in computer science.
The seats folded down in the back the Ascent providing plenty of room for much of your gear. Most of the time I had the vehicle I had the 3rd. row seats fold down which for everyday driving was more than enough space for your everyday needs.
My overall driving experience with the Ascent was pleasurable. The vehicle handled well in the dry and in the wet. I loved the seats and how well the adjusted to my body which is a big plus for me (8-way adjustable for driver). For what you get in the Ascent Limited at $50,500 it is an attractive value.
Glen Konorowski is a life long automotive enthusiast and automotive journalist for 35-years. He also claims to be former Commodore of the Monty Carlo Yacht Club!