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Way: Family SUV comparison test of Traverse, Ascent, Atlas(5)

Time:2018-10-16 07:04Turbochargers information Click:

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Styling has sold few Subarus. Historically, the beauty of a Subaru resides in the functionality and utility, not the looks or lines. With the new Ascent, the company’s long-awaited replacement for the old Tribeca model, Subaru aims to inject some visual excitement into its SUVs.

The result, to my eye, is moderately successful. Sculpted doors and swollen fenders add presence, and the bold front styling looks rugged. Proportions remain a little wonky, though, especially with regard to all of the visual weight over the Ascent’s front wheels. Speaking of those, Subaru offers 20-inch aluminum wheels on all versions except for the base trim.


Inside, the Ascent’s cabin is more upscale and appealing than any Subaru in memory. This is particularly true of Touring trim, which has an exclusive Java Brown leather and trim, but this version’s cabin is visually busy. Stepping down in price calms the mood, and it doesn’t mean you settle for less, either, because all Ascent interior choices feature rich contrast either in terms of colors or textures.

Furthermore, Subaru allows you to upgrade the cloth-only Premium trim level with lots of equipment, and allows you to get 8-passenger seats with the leather-only Limited trim level. In other words, depending on what you need and want in a family size SUV, Subaru’s got you covered.

Quality strikes me as better than what’s in the Traverse and Atlas, but the rather clunky shifter action dings that impression each and every time you drive the Ascent.


In the Ascent, Subaru provides plenty of places in which to stash stuff, along with a robust menu of Starlink infotainment features and functions. (Speedy Daddy Media, Inc.)


Form and function peacefully coexist within the Subaru Ascent, where buttons and knobs rule. Storage is everywhere, too, and this SUV comes standard with a robust roof rack ready to accept tie-downs. There is no doubt that the Ascent is ready for adventure.

The SUV’s display screens – instrumentation, dashtop, and infotainment – leave something to be desired, though. Each one is assigned specific roles and responsibilities, but it’s easy for the driver to forget which screen correlates to which desired data point. Subaru could easily ditch the one on the top of the dashboard, which looks like a tacked-on afterthought anyway. Note, too, that on bright sunny days the infotainment system screen suffers from significant glare.

Subaru’s Starlink infotainment technology is standard, with a 6.5-inch screen in base trim. Every Ascent has Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Starlink Apps providing connected navigation, access to internet radio, and applications such as Yelp and Best Parking. Upgrade to Premium trim for an 8-inch display, 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity, text messaging support, and available embedded navigation. A terrific 14-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system is optional with Limited trim and standard with Touring trim.

Wisely, Subaru provides power/volume and tuning knobs, along with main screen menu shortcut buttons, and keeps the standard triple-zone climate controls separate from the Starlink screen. Starlink Services are also included for all but the base trim, providing a lengthy free trial period to various features. A Starlink Entertainment Anywhere Package is also available, bundling two 32GB iPads and two sets of wireless Harman Kardon headphones that can be used with the onboard Wi-Fi and rear seat USB ports.

While Subaru could benefit from further simplification of the Ascent’s displays, this SUV’s interior is clearly designed for daily driving…and living. If you’re the outdoorsy type, you can even leave your key fob inside the SUV to run or bike or hike, using a PIN code to re-enter the SUV.


Subaru provides numerous seating combinations for the Ascent, catering to almost any possible customer requirement. (Speedy Daddy Media, Inc.)


Subaru knows its customer, providing lots of ways to mix-and-match the Ascent’s interior.

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