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We’ll have to see what the 2020 Ascent has, but for most people it just comes down to size. If you need the extra room for cargo or people the Ascent wins easily over the Outback. One thing to keep in mind is that it could be cheaper to own an Ascent if you have to put a cargo box on your roof year round with an outback as those things seriously degrade fuel efficiency.

If you don’t need the space then the Outback wins on price in the lower trims, but honestly I don’t see a reason to buy a touring Outback when the Limited Ascent is virtually identical for the same price.
 

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I think the new 2020 Outback will steal back some sales from the Ascent because of the Turbo engine, the upscale interior and the refinements in the infotainment unit. I am glad Subaru did away with the white rectangles on the dash and doors that are present on the Ascent.
 

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I could very well have purchased an Outback Touring instead of an Ascent Touring a few months ago...we have two other Outbacks and they have been good to use. But I was coming from a Grand Cherokee and just plain preferred to stay in a larger vehicle, especially one that actually offered more interior cargo space as the Ascent does with a slightly lower "climb in" height so my spouse doesn't need a step ladder. :D The Outback is no slouch for cargo either...during my "Ascent pregnancy", I was using my spouse's MY16 Outback Limited with Eyesight for my daily activities and more than once I got to fill it up to the gills with equestrian stuff I was working to sell off. It fit at least as much as the Grand Cherokee did, if not more. So if someone doesn't actually need the third row or doesn't need the additional cargo space of the Ascent, the Outback is very much a worthy alternative in the Subaru lineup.
 
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If I had my way I'd be driving a brand new Mazda MX-5 Club (180hp wtf!), with an older Nissan Frontier 4WD in the driveway for more practical, cargo-carrying, all-terrain utility. However, I'm married with two step-kids as well as my own son. We've owned 2 Crosstreks, and I loved them as a great middle-ground between what I want and what I need. However, now that the boys are all teens and the tallest is about 6'1" at 16 yo, with his 14yo brother not much shorter, even the Crosstrek wasn't enough space. So no, I doubt the OB would get the job done for us on our mulit-day road trips or week-long scouting camp trips. They're nice, but just not big enough. I imagine for those of us with the need for space, the Ascent will always beat out the OB.
 

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I could very well have purchased an Outback Touring instead of an Ascent Touring a few months ago...we have two other Outbacks and they have been good to use. But I was coming from a Grand Cherokee and just plain preferred to stay in a larger vehicle, especially one that actually offered more interior cargo space as the Ascent does with a slightly lower "climb in" height so my spouse doesn't need a step ladder. :D The Outback is no slouch for cargo either...during my "Ascent pregnancy", I was using my spouse's MY16 Outback Limited with Eyesight for my daily activities and more than once I got to fill it up to the gills with equestrian stuff I was working to sell off. It fit at least as much as the Grand Cherokee did, if not more. So if someone doesn't actually need the third row or doesn't need the additional cargo space of the Ascent, the Outback is very much a worthy alternative in the Subaru lineup.
Same story here Jim, for years we had been using my Ram Crew cab 4X4 to haul huge amounts of mostly unneeded stuff across the USA every winter. I knew we could downsize but still wanted an AWD crossover with as much interior cargo space as possible. The 3rd row seats may never see the light of day but I love all of that cargo space.

My wife took it to the nursery last week to get some bushes and bags of dirt. When she got home with everything she said "I like that Subaru!"

Yup, me too. I also like the lack of torque steer that all of our previous FWD cars have exhibited and the those other "AWDs" with transverse motors probably have.
 

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Lump me in with Jim_in_PA, Sigmonster, and GaryInMI.

I actually went in to the showroom planning to walk out with a '19 Outback 3.6R Touring.

I do admire the new '20 OB/Legacy lineup, and I believe that the '20 OB would provide me with enough space. But more than likely, when I re-up my lease in two years, it's going to be another Ascent simply because it meets my needs just that much better than the OB.
 

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For me it came down to towing capacity.
I'd rather have the Outback. Easier to daily, lower center of gravity and smaller size is underrated IMO. I will say the Ascent is probably the most car like compared to competition, but still not as enjoyable to drive as a good sedan chassis.

My sister just bought a crossover....did she need it, no, but everyone else has one and she liked the higher seating position. Was it worth an extra 10k over the same year sedan and 9-10MPG hit??
 

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The 3rd row seats may never see the light of day but I love all of that cargo space.
I have surprisingly used the third row a few times for people for the convenience of one vehicle to go out to dinner or something, but most of the time if I pop one or both seats up, it's to restrict the travel of shopping bags. :) Otherwise, it's in the down position all the time.
 
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Speaking of Outbacks, production started today. The first Outback and Legacy came off the production line in Indiana today . I guess in a few weeks they should be heading to the dealers.

 

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I have surprisingly used the third row a few times for people for the convenience of one vehicle to go out to dinner or something, but most of the time if I pop one or both seats up, it's to restrict the travel of shopping bags. :) Otherwise, it's in the down position all the time.
The third-row, I've found, is nice to have: it's like the roof-top carrier for me...the vast majority of the time I don't need - but when I do, there's no getting around it.
 

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I have surprisingly used the third row a few times for people for the convenience of one vehicle to go out to dinner or something, but most of the time if I pop one or both seats up, it's to restrict the travel of shopping bags. :) Otherwise, it's in the down position all the time.
We almost always leave the third row up because of groceries. Between the seat back protectors and the mesh cargo net, it keeps everything nice and tight. We do leave the 3rd row head rests down all the time. After a year of ownership we had out first passenger in the third row. She was only 5'4" and between tall people in the front and tall people in the second row, she said it was fine for the 15 minute trip but not for a longer haul.

Last year we actually went to buy an Outback. However at 6'4" when I adjusted my drive seat there was no room behind me for a person and impossible to stick a rear facing car seat if we had a kid. The Ascent provided more 2nd row space with me as a drive so we went with it.
 

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it's like the roof-top carrier for me...the vast majority of the time I don't need - but when I do, there's no getting around it.
Now there's something I've never used on any vehicle I've ever owned...a roof rack. LOL I've often said I wished that could be deleted from the build, but it's never an option. For external cargo in the rare time I need it, I prefer a hitch receiver mounted unit and have a nice aluminum one. For "long things", I have a 5'x8" utility trailer which came into play when we adopted our kids and the pick-em-up-truck got sold in favor of an SUV with a usable back seat. :)

And wouldn't you know...we have three Subarus in the driveway and they all have unused roof racks. :D
 
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Just moved from an Outback to the Ascent. My take, the 3rd row was a must for weekends for us, being a family of 5. Any trip to the grandparents needs that extra space (kids are 9,11 and 15) and the Outback was getting cramped for them and really the purchase was for me to help my blood pressure when in the car with the 3 of them nudging, hittings...you get the idea. With that said we debated the 8-passenger v the 7 passenger and ultimately settled on the 7 passenger to separate the kids.

My take the width of the trunk is smaller, the cargo room with both seats up in the 3rd row is almost nothing. We typically ride with the larger side down and the kids will ride in the captains chairs during the week. Have not done a long road trip yet, but we have a roof rack soft bag that will probably be used and/or one kid will be locked into the 3rd row.
 
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