The 2020 Ascent dropped right into the heart of the midsize crossover market and became an instant success.
By Isaac Bouchard
It has good power, rides smoothly and has a roomy interior that offers excellent visibility to all passengers. Based on Subaru’s Global Platform, it also handles decently and has accurate steering. The Limited model can be configured in six or seven passenger form and has 19 (!) cupholders. Its thrust doesn’t abate with altitude, since it is motivated by a 2.4-liter, 260hp/277lb-ft cylinder that gets the Ascent to 60mph in just over 7 seconds.
Early Ascents were plagued with numerous electrical, fit n’ finish and mechanical maladies but now that it has been in production for over a year, many of these appear to have been ironed out. Quality inside is decent and obvious thought given to how people use such a rig. The Ascent has a decent-sized third row for its exterior footprint and a big, easy to use infotainment system. It has most every modern driver aid and safety system, though Subaru’s reliance on audible feedback for all of them is annoying. Better would be to vibrate the seat base or steering wheel rim to warn the driver when they’ve drifted out of their lane, like GM and Mazda do. At least its adaptive cruise control allows one to maintain a small enough gap to the vehicle in front so as to avoid people cutting the Subaru off.
The Ascent, being turbocharged, maintains power and torque much better at higher altitudes than the Kia and Hyundai, though in-town, real-world fuel economy suffers. With its 8.7 inches of ground clearance, X-Mode to configure the ABS and stability control, and the ability to tow up to 5,000 pounds, makes a great campground-access machine. In fact, it makes an all ‘round excellent Colorado crossover.
EPA Ratings: 20/26/22mpg
0-60mph: 7.1sec (indep test)
Price as tested: $43,305
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