The 2020 Subaru Ascent is the biggest Subaru ever with three rows and space for up to eight! SUVs.com had the chance to test out a Touring level Ascent at Gillman Subaru of North Houston, which comes standard with fancy captain’s chairs in the middle to fit seven.
The Ascent has all the space and performance a small family would need, and it comes with impressive safety technology to help put your mind at ease. The extra-wide rear door openings are a nice touch and make accessing the vehicle a breeze. Other major highlights of the Ascent include all the small storage inside the vehicle, the multiple USB ports and various technology, the standard raised roof rails, and the large available moonroof.
When you consider how safe and reliable Subarus are and that the overwhelming majority are on still on the road a decade after purchase, the Ascent has great value. It has a starting price of $31,995 from the base. That price does go up when you increase in trim level, though. The Ascent’s trim levels include base, Premium, Limited, and Touring.
Continue reading below for more about the three-row Ascent!
Despite the numerous trim level options, there’s only one engine option offered with the Ascent. Those who love variety wish there was a more powerful setup available.
We found the turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder SUBARU BOXER engine under the hood of the Ascent to be powerful enough for us, though. It churns out 260 horsepower. Considering this is a family vehicle, it’s a good fit.
Every Ascent comes standard with Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, which is nice. There’s also 8.7 inches of ground clearance and X-MODE to put to good use!
The Ascent offers over 500 miles of highway driving range, which is impressive. Fuel economy is rated at 27 miles per gallon city (in base and Premium trims, the vehicle is rated at 1mpg less in Limited and Touring options). The Ascent definitely beats out some competitors in the fuel economy department, saving you money at the pump!
Speaking of that power tilt/sliding panoramic moonroof, it’s 54 inches in size! That’s the largest moonroof Subaru has ever made. It’s available on Premium and Limited trims and comes standard on the Touring. It really helps the three-row SUV feel more spacious, as it allows plenty of light to beautifully enter the cabin.
While the third row of the Ascent might not feel as spacious as some competitors in this segment, there is a lot of small storage in the SUV! There are 19 cup and bottle holders, which is impressive! There’s also ambient white lighting and tri-zone automatic climate control that comes with the base Ascent to help keep passengers comfortable and relaxed. With all the rear seats down, there’s up to 86 cubic feet of cargo space in the back.
As for the Ascent’s multimedia features, we should note the base model only has a 6.5” touchscreen. While that is on the small side, it does offer Subaru’s solid STARLINK Multimedia system. All trims above the base get a larger 8” touchscreen. The range-topping Touring’s system (which SUVs.com tested) comes with added navigation. It also has an improved audio system over the other trims. While four USB ports come standard on the base Ascent, you get even more of those when you go up in trim level. There’s also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard!
The range-topping Touring SUVs.com tested has the most luxe features out of any Ascent, including the Java Brown leather-trimmed upholstery, comfortable captain’s chairs as standard in the middle, a Smart Rear-View Mirror, and 180-degree Front-View Monitor.
The exterior of the three-row Subaru Ascent is pleasant. There’s nothing too wild about the design, and it may leave some wanting a little more. The three-row Kia Telluride, for example, is a competitor of the Ascent and offers cooler, boxy styling (though it is borrowed, as critics will point out). Still, though, the Ascent is a solid looking vehicle!
The three-row Ascent has raised roof rails as standard, which definitely adds to its exterior. The base trim gets 18” aluminum-alloy wheels. Upgrading to the next trim level up, which is the Premium trim, will get you body-color folding side mirrors and the option to add a panoramic moonroof and power rear gate.
Both the Ascent Limited and Touring trims feature 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, LED Steering Responsive Headlights, and LED fog lights. While the Limited trim has body-color folding side mirrors with integrated turn signals, the range-topping Touring SUVS.com tested has satin chrome versions of those. The Touring also has chrome door handles and is the only trim to get the panoramic moonroof as standard.
Safety is important to Subaru and is a highlight of the Ascent. For example, every Ascent comes with EyeSight Driver Assist Technology! Data shows that the EyeSight Driver Assist system has reduced the rate of rear-end crashes with injuries by up to 85 percent. It monitors traffic movement, optimizes cruise control, and warns you when you’re swaying outside your lane. The Automatic Pre-Collision Braking feature can even apply full braking force and bring you to a complete stop, should there be an emergency requiring that.
There’s also a suite of added safety features to help further put your mind at ease. Blind Spot Detection and Rear Cross Traffic Alert come standard on all trims except for the base. Reverse Automatic Braking is also standard on Limited and Touring trims, and is available with the Premium trim.
While all models get a Rear-Vision Monitor as standard, the range-topping Touring receives an additional Smart Rear-View Mirror system and 180-degree Front-View Monitor!
The other thing to keep in mind with a Subaru is the long-lasting quality. According to the company, 97% of Subarus sold in the last decade are still on the road today. If you hope to pass your SUV down to another family member, that’s good to know.
The base Subaru Ascent has a starting price of $31,995. It comes with the same 2.4-liter four-cylinder SUBARU BOXER engine that all the other trims get. Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive also comes standard.
Upgrading to the Premium trim will result in a slightly higher starting price of $34,395. You get the All-Weather Package with heated seats and other upgraded features.
The Limited trim gets larger 20” wheels, leather-trimmed upholstery, heated second-row seats, a power rear gate, and more. It has a starting price of $39,345.
The range-topping Touring, meanwhile, has a starting price of $45,045. It has the fanciest features with the 54” panoramic moonroof as standard, the Java Brown leather-trimmed upholstery, second-row captain’s chairs, navigation, a more premium audio system, and improved safety features.
The Ascent’s competitors include the Chevrolet Traverse, Volkswagen Atlas, Kia Telluride, Toyota Highlander, and others. As always, be sure to test drive any vehicle you’re interested in! Also be sure to check with your local Subaru dealing on pricing and to see if there are any specials.
The three-row Subaru Ascent is a great family SUV that offers space for up to eight, solid performance, and plenty of comfort features. We rated it at an 82/100. The panoramic moonroof that comes standard on the range-topping Touring is just stunning. It’s unfortunate it doesn’t come standard on all models, though. It’d also be nice if the touchscreen were larger. In the base model, it’s only 6.5” and it’s 8” in the higher trims. Another weak point is the size of the third row. It is a bit smaller than what you’ll find with some competitors. Finally, some critics wish there was a more powerful engine option.
The EyeSight Driver Assist Technology that every Ascent gets as standard is reassuring, though, as is the all-wheel drive system. If you want a vehicle that will last you years and be a solid performer, you might just want to consider this three-row SUV!