One of the newest SUVs on the road today, the new 2021 Subaru Ascent is a 7- or 8-passenger SUV Depending on configuration, it can be your new family-hauling adventure vehicle. How radical your adventure may be is entirely up to you. Based on the week Napleton News had with the Ascent, it is more than up to the task.
What is the new 2021 Subaru Ascent?
The new 2021 Subaru Ascent is the latest in a line of passenger car-based SUVs that incorporate a boxer engine. In this case, it’s a 2.4-liter boxer (horizontally-opposed) four-cylinder engine producing 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. The engine is mated to a Subaru Lineartronic High Torque continuously variable transmission (CVT) designed for smooth shifting and fuel savings.
If you are familiar with Subaru, then you’ll know about its powertrain. If you are new to the brand, you will soon become familiar with its very well-known Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive with Vehicle Dynamic Control. Smooth and well-mannered under everyday circumstances, buyers will find it fully capable when the roads get dicey. That’s thanks to the permanent AWD and added ground clearance borne into the Ascent.
How does the 2021 Subaru Ascent look?
The familial resemblance is purely intentional. The Ascent carries certain characteristics that are distinctly Subaru in nature. At first glance, it appears like a slightly larger version of the Subaru Outback. The new Ascent is longer to accommodate third-row seating that can swallow an additional two passengers inside.
The new Ascent sits with 8.7 inches of ground clearance for added clearance on and off-road. It’s a decent number that straddles the fence between comfort and having to use a step stool to climb inside.
This Subaru is available in five trim levels beginning with the base Ascent model. It is followed by the Ascent Premium edition, Onyx, Limited and Touring models.
Subaru Ascent Interior & Features?
As with most vehicles carrying seven or eight passengers, the new Subaru Ascent features a rather snug third row. We would send the kids back there, the teens in the middle and the parents upfront. The eight-passenger model is equipped with a second-row bench seat. The seven-passenger models get the Captain’s chair option in the second row instead.
Inside features include tri-zone automatic climate control, four USB ports, and 19 cupholders(!). A standard 6.5-inch StarLink infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto handle the smartphone connectivity.
Premium trim includes an 8-inch Starlink system with Wi-Fi capability. Step up to the Limited trim level for leather. This trim also includes ten-way driver’s seat, a 4-way passenger seat, more USB ports and 20-inch wheels. The Touring model brings Navigation, a 14-speaker Harman Kardon audio, a panoramic sunroof and Homelink garage remote.
With these trim levels, you are only getting started. There are several trim kits available that will help satisfy almost every need/want. But is it ever possible that maybe you want too much?!
Behind the wheel of the 2021 Subaru Ascent
Off-road oriented from the start, the Subaru Ascent is a go-anywhere vehicle that can do a job, take the family camping, or both. Designed with symmetrical all-wheel drive, a reliable boxer engine and copious amounts of ground clearance, the Ascent can pretty much do it all. But it has an upside: Think of it as an Anti-Minivan! Who wants to be seen in a minivan? Besides, the Ascent includes all the space you need to carry who and what you want where you want. Avoid the “my life is over now that I’m driving a minivan feeling.” Heck, your kids don’t even want to ride along with you.
We’re only kidding, of course.
The 2.4-liter Boxer engine-powered SUV is powerful enough, with a characteristic bit of rumble from the horizontally-opposed engine. The CVT transmission does a decent job of simulating shifts like a conventional automatic transmission. Overall, it’s a more satisfying effect than the droning sound that resonates from a traditional CVT.
Handling is good, despite the Ascent riding higher than a typical station wagon. Body motions are controlled nicely. Buyers shouldn’t expect more than good feedback from the light but accurate steering system.
The new Subaru Ascent is the flagship of the brand with size, power and capability in a well-sorted package. Whether it finds major league acceptance in a popular segment with tons of players remains to be seen.