Big news for golden retrievers, and their human companions. Subaru has announced pricing for its 2019 Ascent three-row SUV—its largest vehicle ever—and MSRPs start at $32,970. If the company’s achingly cute Los Angeles auto show press conference is any indication, showroom goers might have to fight their way through packs of golden retrievers, among whom the Japanese brand is evidently a favorite.
As with all Subarus that don’t end with a Z, all-wheel drive comes standard. So does an all-new turbocharged 2.4-liter flat-four that, for the time being, is exclusive to the Ascent. We’re curious if this engine’s 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque, distilled through a CVT, will be enough to shuffle 4600-plus pounds of Subaru (the company’s estimated curb weight for the top Touring trim). Subaru released fuel-economy estimates of 21 mpg city and 27 mpg highway, but subtract 1 mpg from each if the standard 18-inch wheels are swapped for 20s.
The base Ascent comes with Subaru EyeSight, the company’s bundle of camera-based driver assists including forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, a throttle cutout linked with the collision-alert system, and a head-up display. A 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto comes standard, along with four USB ports, three-zone climate control, and 19 (!) cupholders.
For $35,170, the Ascent Premium brings an 8.0-inch touchscreen, Wi-Fi with 4G internet, Starlink telematics (automatic crash notifications, remote engine start for the optional push-button start, access to a concierge), and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Front passengers bask in heated seats with an eight-way power adjustment for the driver, and there are heated body-color mirrors and a windshield-wiper de-icer. Also on board are a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, cloth trim, and chrome exhaust tips. Navigation is a whopping $4260 option, as it must be bundled with 20-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, a power liftgate, keyless access, rear automated emergency braking, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Without navigation and the 20s, those options cost $1460. Second-row captain’s chairs (negating the eight-passenger layout) are a no-cost option with either of those option packages.
The Ascent Limited, at $39,970, lines the cabin in leather and treats second-row passengers to heated seats and sunshades. Most of the Premium trim’s options are included, along with adaptive LED headlights, LED fog lights, automatic high-beams, a heated steering wheel, a four-way power front passenger seat, adjustable driver’s-side thigh support, more chrome trim, and two extra USB ports. A 14-speaker Harman/Kardon stereo (bundled with the panoramic sunroof and navigation) adds $2950.
Fancy families in the $45,670 Ascent Touring get everything but an eighth seatbelt, including Touring-only brown leather, fake-wood trim, cooled front seats, third-row sunshades, a 120-volt outlet, a front camera, a digital LCD rearview mirror, silver side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, plus more chrome and another two USB ports.
Expect the first Ascent SUVs to arrive this summer, likely with canoes on the roof and big fuzzy dogs in back, if not up front.