The midsize Subaru Ascent SUV, the biggest Subie, made its showroom debut just a year and a half ago, so there are no major changes for 2020.
There’s a new rear seat reminder system to help protect children and pets from a driver who might otherwise forget they are there.
A new power rear lock button on the liftgate automatically closes the gate, and locks it along with all the other doors. It’s standard or optional depending on the particular model.
The 2020 Ascent is available in base, Premium, Limited, and Touring trim levels. It has three rows of seats and comes standard with a second-row bench, providing seating for up to eight people. For the Limited trim and with option packages for the Premium trim, you can choose captain’s chairs for the second row at no extra charge. They reduce seating capacity to seven, but provide easier access to the third row.
All models have Subaru’s highly regarded all-wheel drive system.
Standard features of the $33,005 (destination charge included) base Ascent version include a 6.5-inch multimedia system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay capability, four USB ports, three-zone automatic climate control, roof rails, 18-inch wheels, and 19 cupholders. Yes, 19. Not a typo.
The Premium trim ($35,405) adds blind spot monitoring with lane change assist and rear cross-traffic alert, a power driver’s seat, rear seat climate controls, advanced multimedia with 8-inch display, Wi-Fi, and an all-weather package providing heated front seats and exterior mirrors, and a windshield wiper de-icer. Opting for the Premium model also makes more options available, such as 20-inch wheels, a power liftgate, panoramic moonroof, navigation and more.
Limited models ($40,355) include all the Premium features plus automatic LED headlights, LED fog lights, second-row retractable sunshades, and leather-trimmed upholstery.
The Touring trim ($46,055) adds a heated steering wheel, ventilation for driver and front passenger seats, a 120-volt power outlet, extra USB ports, a Harman Kardon premium 14-speaker audio system, panoramic power moonroof, rain-sensing wipers, smart rear-view mirror, and a 180-degree front-view camera.
Every 2020 Ascent has a 260-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) with an eight-speed manual mode and paddle shifters. During my test week that included Cascades-climbing elevation gains, the powertrain conducted itself proficiently with the driver and one adult passenger on board. Our combined weight is around 245 pounds and my purse weighs about the same as a small child. Packed with seven or eight people and a bunch of gear, engine performance might be, shall we say, more like medium.
Fuel economy ratings for an Ascent with 18-inch wheels are 21 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined. With 20-inch wheels the numbers are 20/26/22 mpg.
The Ascent shines in its ability to soften the impact of bumpy roads, and to deliver a goodly amount of overall comfort for multiple passengers.
2020 SUBARU ASCENT LIMITED
Base price, including destination charge: $40,355
Price as driven: $43,305
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.