Much like what most car makers are transitioning towards currently, Subaru is also keeping the Ascent based around a dynamic Global Platform that underpins a wide range of vehicles. Already the all-new Impreza and Crosstrek have made the transition. If you're any bit familiar with those models, you'll know how limited their powertrains are and although the Ascent will have a 2.4-liter boxer engine, this might be the first time we see a hybrid or fully electric offering, its part of what this platform was built for. Moving around the mass of this 7-seater will eventually require a greener and more powerful alternative.
- CarAndDriverIntroduced under the 2017 Subaru Impreza, Subaru’s new, scalable “Global Platform” is expected to form the foundation of the Subaru Ascent. The platform relies on high-strength steel that not only helps stiffen the chassis, Subaru says, but also improves impact-energy absorption in crashes. Plus, thanks to the mounting point for Subaru’s boxer engine, the Global Platform promises a lower center of gravity—a good thing for those looking for increased rollover resistance and dynamic ability in a mid-size crossover.
- TopSpeedThe Ascent will ride on an expanded version of Subaru’s Global Platform. The new Impreza and Crosstrek already ride on this platform, and the rest of Subaru’s lineup will eventually follow. It’s no wonder since Subaru spent a whopping $1 Billion to develop the modular architecture. The SGP is also designed to surpass all current crash test standards by enduring stuff like a 2.7-ton SUV ramming head-on into its hood at 55 mph. Yeah. Families like safe vehicles, so the added protection will be a great selling point for the Ascent. Obviously, Subaru will appreciate the sales, especially since the Tribeca only sold 80,000 examples over its entire, decade-long life. With failure an actual possibility, Subaru is determined to get the Ascent right. Let’s see what we can expect from this upcoming crossover.
Thanks to the flexibility of Subaru's all-new Global Platform, while you will see traditional powertrains mentioned below, this may be just for starters. Confirmed early 2017, this platform will allow easy integration of fully-electric or hybrid powertrains. Recently the option of a hybrid was dropped from the Crosstrek which pushes the question of where we will see a hybrid show up next. As for pricing, the Crosstrek Hybrid was a 25% increase over the regular Boxer engine model. Expect more information around this at next weeks LA Auto Show.
- CarAndDriverAs a Subaru product, the Ascent is all but confirmed to come with standard all-wheel drive and a continuously variable automatic transmission. Nevertheless, the exact engine options are still unknown. Given that Subaru is using both a Ford Explorer and a Mazda CX-9 as benchmark vehicles in these spy photos—the only two nonluxury three-row crossovers currently sold with turbocharged four-cylinder engines—it seems likely that the Ascent will rely on power from a turbocharged flat-four engine, possibly the 250-hp 2.0-liter unit found in the Forester 2.0XT. We won’t be surprised if Subaru also offers the Ascent with its tried-and-true 3.6-liter flat-six engine or even a gasoline/electric hybrid drivetrain, as Subaru developed its Global Platform with such alternative powertrains in mind.
- TopSpeedDetails of the Ascent’s greasy bits are still unknown at this point. Some reports suggest Subaru will use its 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-four found in the Impreza, while others say an all-new 2.4-liter turbocharged flat-four with upwards of 300 horsepower will be had. Either way, don’t count on a flat-six like the Tribeca had or anything in an inline or V configuration. This is Subaru, after all.
Regardless of engine, it’s a sure bet a CVT will be bolted to its backside. The continuously variable transmission has gotten better over the years. Our recent test of the 2018 Crosstrek proved the CVT is nearly free of rubberbanding and offers a smooth though somewhat uninspired driving experience. A full-size family crossover isn’t built for blasting down some dirt rally course, so the calm driving experience should be a welcomed trait.
Naturally being a Subaru, the automaker’s Symmetrical AWD system will be included as standard equipment. That means all four wheels receive power all the time, though at a 60/40 torque split front to rear under normal road conditions. Under low-traction situations or when the X-Mode button is pressed, the system will divide power evenly between the front and rear differentials.
Expect fuel economy to be pretty competitive in the mid- and full-size crossover segment. That means we can expect around 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. Of course, these type of details should be announced at the Ascent’s debut later this month.
Looking at Subaru's vehicle line up and how pricing compares, then looking at what the Ascent will be up against, its becomes very clear that this will easily start out around the low-to-mid $30,000 range and possibly get to nearly $50,000 for the top of the line trim which could be a hybrid, although right now its too early to tell. If the concept was a clear indication of major changes to come in terms of design and technology, not only will it be a showcase of the best Subaru has to offer but also have pricing that reflects a true flagship model. As mentioned previously, a hybrid model could easily require a 25% premium over at top tier Boxer engine trim.
- CarAndDriverWe expect to see the Subaru Ascent debut sometime next year as a 2018 model with sales starting before the end of 2017. Pricing should be competitive with other three-row crossover SUVs, so figure on a base price in the low $30,000s and topping out just shy of $50K.
- TopSpeedOfficial pricing will come later, but we’d bet Subaru will start the Ascent’s MSRP around the $30,000 mark. That’s $5,000 more than the Outback and nearly $7,000 more than the Forester. Selecting premium features and options will inflate the price on higher-trimmed models, perhaps making the Ascent’s sticker price hit $45,000 when fully loaded. That would be pretty reasonable when compared to the segment.
The biggest and most important take away from the VIZIV-7 Concept is its size and proportions which according to various reports is a true reflection of what we will see at the Ascents debut at this years LA Auto Show. Although no one want to speculate on design nor confirm what we will see, compared to what we can see of Subaru's design language in some current models, don't expect the Ascent to stray too far away from its concept. Already you can see that holding some truth with the latest teaser.
- MotorTrendIn person, the VIZIV-7 concept looks as huge as it is. The pillarless windows help accentuate the crossover’s length, which measures a Chevy-Tahoe-besting 204.7 inches. The rear liftgate features a clamshell design similar to that of the Audi A5, though there’s significantly more metal and glass in the VIZIV-7’s hatch. Subaru has said the concept previews the upcoming vehicle’s size, and not necessarily its design, so whether this styling element makes it to production remains to be seen. -Alex Nishimoto
In early 2018, Subaru will introduce a three-row midsize SUV to the North American market. But until then, we’ll have to make do with the VIZIV-7 SUV concept, which is making an appearance at the Los Angeles Auto Show. And it’s quite a good-looking vehicle.
Unfortunately, Subaru says the concept previews the “size direction” of a future three-row SUV, not necessarily the design. So we probably shouldn’t expect to see the bold lighting elements, grille details, and fancy tires make it to production. This has been the case with other concept vehicles Subaru has shown, including the Impreza sedan concept, as they always look much more radical than the final model.
The Ascent will be a showcase of a lot of first things for the brand, even just being a 7-Seater full-size SUV is enough to raise a lot of questions around Subaru's future direction. Although it has been called the bigger Subaru Forester, unlike the Forester, this may be the first time we see Subaru dip into design territory typically walked by Acura, Lexus and Infiniti. Although much like most things we know about the Ascent, its still too early to tell. Even if its a bit more reserved like offerings from Buick and Chrysler, it will still be a great step forward for the brand. Sit tight, LA Auto Show is around the corner.
- TruckTrendThe first visual impression of the Ascent is “big Forester,” at least in our eyes. Considering the Forester has been a runaway success for the brand, probably not the worst move on Subaru’s part. While the exterior is relatively conservative for a “concept” car, Subaru was a little more adventurous in the interior, with a large, vertical touchscreen center interface similar to that on the Tesla Model S and X, as well as virtual touchscreen window controls on the doors, and a configurable digital gauge cluster, similar to that used by Range Rover and other luxury marques. While the center stack and gauges may make it to production in some form or the other, we’re not holding our breath for the virtual window switches. The center stack differs somewhat from Tesla’s approach in that it does have some physical buttons and knobs, as well as being slightly curved.
- TopSpeedWhile 90 percent of the Ascent concept’s exterior could easily make production, the interior is another story. Subaru will surely tone down the high-tech vibe seen here. Don’t misread us –we’d love to see the massive touchscreen with integrated knobs remain in the center stack. We’d hope Subaru will keep the fully digital gauge cluster, especially since that’s the popular thing these days. And we’d love to see the highly sculpted, multi-tiered dash and door panels in our driveway sometime soon.
So what’s definitely not making production? Well, don’t count on seeing the digital window and door lock controls. That swanky gearshift probably won’t make the cut, either. And sadly, the Range Rover Velar-like display seems a bit too cool for Subaru to actually produce. (Prove us wrong, Subi!)
What will remain in the showroom version of the 2019 Ascent is seating for seven people over three rows. That’s a given. Subaru needs a full-size family crossover. Right now, only five people can fit in Subi’s largest model, meaning growing families are forced out of the brand and onto the competition. That’s not good for Subaru’s bottom line and plans for world domination (what major automaker doesn’t have that plan?).