L.A. Auto Show 2017: Subaru unveils 2019 Ascent, its largest SUV

Subaru, known for its smaller Outback and Forester SUVs, now wants to challenge the likes of Toyota and Honda in the market for larger vehicles. Above, the 2019 Ascent.
(Subaru of America)

Subaru is betting that big things come in big packages.

What is it?

This is the 2019 Subaru Ascent, an all-new sport utility vehicle and the largest Subaru has ever built. The Ascent, which replaces the Subaru Tribeca that ended production three years ago, will be manufactured at Subaru’s plant in Lafayette, Ind., and arrive on dealers’ lots early next summer.

Why it matters

Subaru is known for its smaller Outback and Forester SUVs but now it wants to challenge Toyota, Honda and others in the market for larger, mid-size crossover SUVs.

The Ascent features three rows of seating, for up to eight passengers, on a 113.8-inch wheelbase. The company says it’s designed “for active families on the go.” And it effectively fills in a gap in Subaru’s product line left open by the Tribeca’s demise.

What's new?

The all-wheel-drive Ascent is powered by an all-new 2.4-liter, 260-horsepower turbocharged engine, and the SUV’s powertrain enables a towing capacity as much as 5,000 pounds, the most of any Subaru vehicle.

The interior features Subaru’s Starlink multimedia system, with a high-resolution touch screen display and available in-car Wi-Fi, along with eight USB charging ports throughout the cabin.

There are four trim levels ranging from the base model to the top-of-the-line Touring model with chrome door handles, leather seats and panoramic moon roof.

Standard safety features include driver-assist technology such as automatic pre-collision braking, lane-departure and sway warnings, pre-collision throttle management and a new EyeSight Assist Monitor that provides a display of system warnings and other data on the windshield.

The competition

The Ascent will compete with several other mid-size SUVs, including the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot and Ford Explorer. Subaru said it will not announce Ascent prices until next year, but that it will be “competitively priced” with its rivals, whose costs range from $30,000 to $40,000 depending on the trim.

The details

The Ascent “makes a bold visual statement” that includes a massive grille that’s reminiscent of the Volkswagen Atlas, Car and Driver said, adding that while the Atlas’ arrow-straight character lines emphasize that vehicle’s boxiness, “the Ascent wears more flowing lines that imbue it with somewhat more grace.”

The L.A. Auto Show runs Dec. 1-10 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Times coverage begins Nov. 25 at