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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m replacing my ‘04 4Runner and totally confused on what to do. I’d go with another Toyota but there’s not a model I like (I like the Forester over the new RAV4). We love our Odyssey but the other Honda offerings are boring IMO.

So here I am with Subaru, which I have eyed for years. The problem is that I’m confused which model is best for me. Again, we’ve got an Odyssey so my car is not the primary hauler for our family of 4 (kids are 3 and 9 months). So is the Ascent too big? Is the Forester going to be too small? The Outback is an option but with a refresh upcoming, I’m a little timid to get it.

Anyone been in this position? Any help or input is greatly appreciated!!
 

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We have triplet 7 yr old and a dawg. Our Odyssey has been the perfect kiddie mover. However my F450, while having lots of room for the the kids and the dawg, is just too big to be a daily driver. So we searched for a 2nd run around SUV type vehicle.

Since we have a good experience with our Odyssey we looked at Honda. The Pilot is basically the SUV equivalent of the Odyssey. It's too similar and boring to look at. I hated the push button transmission selector. And getting into and out of the 3rd row was not that easy. Also the 3rd row occupants have their head really close to the rear window due to the slant of the roofline. That's a safety issue in a rear end accident.

We actually liked the form factor of the CRV. The 2nd row is spacious and the floor is flat so there's plenty of room for the dawg. However when you read the CRV forums, there's a big issue with the motor. Owners are reporting that when they go to change their oil, they're getting a lot more liquid out of the crankcase than what was put in. There's a gasoline smell to the oil as well. What's happening is gasoline is leaking into the oil and mixing with it. It's referred to as the "oil dilution issue".

What really turned me off was Honda has issued a "fix" for this but it doesn't work. The problem persists even with current production vehicles. And Honda is NOT stepping up to the plate and recalling the vehicles. This is going to be a longevity issue down the road for that motor. So at this point no more Hondas for us.

We also looked at American SUV's but none of the midsized suvs appealed to us. The fit and finish, lack of reliability, and poor gas mileage and performance turned us off.

The Mazda CX5 and CX9 are just too tight inside. They're also more expensive than the Subies when you equalize the equipment levels.

I had a current generation Outback, but with 3 kids and the dawg, it's too tight. And the motor is gutless unless you step up to the 3.6. The Forester is a bit roomier inside but Subaru got rid of the turbo motor.

When you consider we paid $32k before tax and title for a Premium Ascent, that's a pretty good deal for all the features. And while it is bit on the larger side, I don't have an issue. I actually prefer a larger vehicle when my family is riding along because not only do we need the room, it's safer. Everyone has big trucks and SUVs these days so I'd rather be in something big.
 

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Clemson grad here and I will add that as a second family car the Ascent is great. Our primary family hauler is a Sienna (prior was an Odyssey with VCM/tranny issues) for my family of five which is my wife's vehicle. I need to do some school pick-up/drop-off each week so I needed a vehicle that could comfortably accommodate the kids but not be too big to be my daily driver. This vehicle fit the bill. As a former Honda guy, like TheLex, I was not impressed with Honda's line-up especially given the issues we had with our Odyssey. I love having the extra-space and it really is a fun car to drive; it drives smaller than it actually is.

My kids are all in grade school and can manage the seats/seat belts themselves so we went with the bench seat so we could either get all 3 in the second row if we needed the cargo space (which has happened) or if we needed to cart friends around. So I know everyone is into the CCs if you have younger kids (and our minivans have had CCs) but as kids get older I think the bench makes more sense.
 

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For the value, it's hard not to consider this. Personally I would splurge for the Captains chairs in the Ascent and that way you're not pinched with ALWAYS using the odyssey on trips.

I thought it would be easy just to have one dedicated trip vehicle, but it is 1000% easier to just have both options available.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Lots of great points made so far! Thanks!!

The one thing, for sure, is that the Ascent is future-proof in terms of size. I could have 2 car seats in the 2nd row and still have plenty of cargo room. The Forester May be looked at as too small in a couple years. There’s also the lingering question of what daily driving would be like with 2 car seats. And I can’t figure out what to think of the Outback.

So it’s great to hear everyone’s experiences!!
 

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I've had 2 Outbacks and now own the Ascent. Both my 2011 and 2017 Outback were fantastic. I was getting 28-36mpg in the 2.5i version. Still tons of cargo room as well and definitely comfortable for 4, whereas 5 works but is cozy in the back. The Outback has more cargo room than the Ascent unless you put the third row down.



I traded my 2017 Outback and a 2018 GMC Canyon in for the Ascent because of the Ascents 5,000 lb towing capacity. So even though it's just my son and I the Ascent made more sense.... only 1 vehicle now, but I can still tow my 3,500lb camper. I'm getting 22-26mpg depending on how much I "enjoy" the turbo! :D


I think you can't go wrong with either. I'm on my 5th Subaru now and have loved every one of them!
 

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I came from a 2000 4Runner, a compact SUV as marketed, and I like the rugged design of body-on-frame chassis with rear solid axles and linked suspension.

I left the SUV scene for this Ascent, a CUV with unibody chassis, simply because the demand of hauling ppl/children has more utility than trail blazing. Ultimately, the Ascent is optimal for people-hauling and off-roading.

IIRC, The Ascent has more power and torque than the 4Runner at lower RPM range, where a criteria for hauling is critical.

GL
 

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I have the Ascent and my husband has an Odyssey. The Ascent replaced a Forester and we had an Outback before that. As much as I love my Ascent, I would say that it is probably overkill for your immediate needs. That being said, I agree with TheLex on the advantages of being in a larger vehicle.

How long do you plan on keeping the ODY though? And how tight is the budget?

If the budget would allow, I would replace the ODY with an Ascent with captains chairs once the kids have graduated to booster seats for a little while and can better manage the 2nd row doors on the Ascent. Those suckers are heavy for the littles to manage on their own and open wide (easily smack the adjacent vehicle). For the non-family hauler, the Forester could easily fit all four of you plus a regular grocery run and very budget-friendly. Have you driven one to see if it is zippy enough for you without the turbo?

If you think you will be having another kid, then I would get an Ascent. If you think the ODY will need to be/want to be replaced relatively soon, then I would get the Ascent. That is our scenario. We will replace the ODY with an Outback in 3 years. DH is OK with not going up to the 3.6 and it will be passed to one of the kids, or we would have gotten another Ascent. We have 4 kids though, and all but one is over 12 so can ride in the front seat.
 

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Not sure about your garage situation, BUT the Ascent is 3" wider and 8" longer than the 4-Runner, if that makes any difference. I chose a Honda Ridgeline over the Tacoma because it would fit comfortably in my garage, lengthwise.
 

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"Future-proofing" with the Ascent's bigger interior volume.......

Not a bad idea at all, but allow me to red-team a bit with this question: How soon is that, exactly, on your horizon? And if it's not in the immediate future, are you going to want a newer vehicle with more up-to-date features (including safety) by the time that date rolls around?


With our family as an example, just in terms of sporting goods we would have had drastic cargo differences had we decided to stay with TKD as a sport versus my daughter's current passion in rowing/crew (er....we just show up at her club with her water bottle :grin:)



It's hard to plan too, too far into the future. :tango_face_wink:

As with several other members here, we're a long-running Subaru family. My wife's gone from an '05 WRX - her first Subaru - to back-to-back '09 and then '13 Forester XTs - and is now in a '16 WRX that's about to go off-lease. She will be going into a '19 WRX within the next 6 weeks or so. I went from an '05 Legacy 2.5GT to a '13 Tribeca, and then from a '16 Outback to my current '19 Ascent.

Our smaller sedans - the '05 WRX and '05 LGT, served us well when our daughter was little (we got our Subarus in the spring/summer of '05, and she was born in the winter of '06, and yes, the vehicles were in preparation for her arrival...here in NE-Ohio, we wanted something both safe and could handle the occasional snow-dumps that occur just outside the primary snow-belt), but we wanted a bit more room as she grew into her toddler years (my wife was then on a 36-month lease cycle, so the timeline is now 2009), and we found the SH-platform Forester able to offer just that bit of additional space/utility, while still being very convenient to park in tight spaces.

The '13 Tribeca (after nearly 8 years, my wife made me trade-in my beloved and moderately modified LGT) was yet another search for more space. As my daughter (plus her friends) and my nephews progressed into full-on kid mode, the additional seating capability found in that third row - which was tight, but was more than enough space for the little ones at that age/size - meant that everyone could just pile into one car.

Fast-forward again by another three-year lease cycle, and we found that we were no longer carrying nearly as much load when we went on family outings. The little one now being self-sufficient meant that there's a lot less accessories to tote around, and despite many drop-offs at away summer camps hundreds of miles away from home, we found the BS-platform Outback offered just enough room for us to get these pack-heavy events done, and that we were never really in search of more space. My wife, meanwhile, relished the chance to downsize her daily-driver, and went with the '16 WRX.

I went all-out on my Ascent as I'm currently looking at three years of quite a bit of seat-time in the car. With my daughter just shy of driving age for the duration of the lease, I'm going to be shuttling her a lot to various after-school events, and with the Bar Mitzvahs of my two nephews also occurring during the term of this lease, that's going to be even more driving (and my hope is that at least for these events, I'll be able to shuttle the entire family, locally, if not driving everyone the entire distance, period). Who knows? Maybe on the next lease cycle I'll be able to get another stick-shift Subaru like my '05 LGT again? Those lip-wing'ed STis look awfully tasty. ;) Or maybe I'll just have to soldier along in another Ascent again, as my daughter reaches college-age?

With the current lease cycle, we also thought about the possibility of moving my wife into the new '19 Forester.

My original fear had been that the naturally aspirated '19 Forester would be as slug-like as my immediate-previous daily-driver, the '16 Outback 2.5i Limited. In debating that particular lease, I thought to myself that I wasn't the Riceboy-Racer I used to be and would be just fine with the 2.5i Limited...but as the miles wore on and we took more road-trips, I was really disappointed in its lack of off-the-line grunt when cold, and also the lack of overall merging and at-speed passing capabilities. My daughter can tell you how many times I'd lamented that I'd have just paid the extra money and gotten a 3.6R. It wasn't that the OB wasn't fast - the Forester XTs we had weren't fast. My Tribeca wasn't fast. My wife's WRX isn't fast (even my '05 LGT, which exceeded the wHP/wTQ of a factory STi by quite a margin, was really only just quick: it's far from a Ferrari-on-a-race-track-driven-by-a-paid-test-driver-fast) - it was just that it really felt as though it couldn't move out of its own way, almost dangerously so. The Ascent certainly isn't fast, either. But it is class-average, and really, that's all that I want.

So I went to test-drive a '19 Forester this past weekend, and I've gotta say, it's far better than my '16 OB 2.5i. Objectively, while it's on the slower side of class-average, it's definitely within the bell-curve, and it felt like it on the road, too.

The Odyssey is a great family vehicle (Marty Byrde being willing to pay $1K a month on its lease is definitely telling :smile_big:) - so I do see where you have quite a bit of play in your current decision. That, of-course, unfortunately makes things harder for you, not easier! :plain:I'm not a member of your family, so I can't tell you what you need, but what I can do is relate my/our experiences, and hope that it somehow sheds a little light into your wants and needs.


With my daughter, her "packing" needs really peaked during the early toddler years. As someone who likes to prepare for multiple contingencies (my wife is also a Type-A personality, although she tends to be more controlled - whereas I do admit that I can get a bit carried away sometimes :eek:), that really was when there was the most junk in our trunk. With two little ones, will you run into space limitations with the new Forester?



The official Subaru specs say that you're losing about 2.5 cu. ft. of cargo room, but in terms of cabin space, it's literally neck-and-neck (favoring the new Forester, actually). While it's very hard to conceptualize what you'll be shoving in the cargo hold, I would encourage you to make the trip to your dealership (I know it'll be hard to make time with two little ones to try to pawn off on someone!) and take some time to really play with the interior. If you can get there during off-hours, I'd bet that a sales-associate or their assistant would even be willing to help you mock-up the interior with your car-seats, to see just how things might go (to help future-proof for your kids' upcoming transition to big-kid seats, see if any of your friends can loan you their toddler seats for your dealership visit).



Hope this helped!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The official Subaru specs say that you're losing about 2.5 cu. ft. of cargo room, but in terms of cabin space, it's literally neck-and-neck (favoring the new Forester, actually).
First of all, thank you very much. That post was incredible and hit many of the spots I've wrangled with with very well. Going into this, I had no idea this would be such a tough decision but there doesn't seem to be a car that checks all of the boxes for us. A couple check many of the boxes, but not all, and this just results in the situation I'm currently in - choosing the "lesser" of two evils (although all 3 options are very good).

As for the quote above, are you referring to the Forester vs. the 4Runner? When comparing the exterior dimensions of the 4Runner, Forester, and Ascent it appears that 4Runner is that happy medium in terms of size when it comes to the 3 - I'm just not a huge fan of the 4Runner (ie. price) and I just want something different after 14 years of the 4Runner.
 
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I personally like smaller footprint vehicles especially where I live and like to travel. If we had a minivan as our primary road trip / hauler mine is a Sequoia it rarely gets driven ever. I would opt for something between my daily driver 2010 Outback and the Sequoia. A 2-3-2 seat configuration. I won’t ever buy a new Toyota product given around here the dealers literally demand msrp or higher, I don’t play that game.

I owned a 4 runner hated its terrible handling switched to a Land Cruiser liked it but hated the 12mpg. Bought the Sequoia like it but given I have a Outback that gets driven most.

I was really excited about the Ascent but the 2-2-3 only seating configuration in the fully tech packaged Touring is a fail I won’t buy it. The CVT in my OB is OK but I did get stuck last week dropped one front tire off the edge of a paved parking lot, reverse could not get me out known cvt stall issue. Plus my local Subaru dealers are all now what I call giant auto group owned shops with insane prices for simple service items again I don’t play that game.

January 9 th the ground up new Ford Explorer which is a 2-3-2 rear wheel drive platform is being announced. Ford is now using the same 3d camera/collision tech Subaru has, the Explorer will offer plugin hybrid with no loss of trunk space or spare tire. For is using its 10spd Auto variant also used in the F150, Mustang and Lincoln offerings. The engine options are established solid options also.

Basically a very high probability the new Explorer will have a much better combo of characteristics I want vs the Subaru. I really like Subaru but as of today the only car they make I that I would probably consider is the 2020 Outback. I think the Ascent is a great offering but Subaru missed some key things that its competitors will soon saturate the mid sized market with. The biggie being 2-3 seating with all tech options. The other being well done transmissions that fit the SUV aspect better. Ie don’t stall out when a tire is sitting in a hole or packed in by snow etc.

If you like the Outback car/wagon which I do. The Ascent Limited 2-3-3 is really the only good option as a up size but you get shorted the cool tech. Very short sighted on Subarus part.
 

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First of all, thank you very much. That post was incredible and hit many of the spots I've wrangled with with very well.
No thanks needed - I'm just glad to help.

My daughter turned 13 yesterday. Mom's a pediatrician, so she was adamant on not letting our little one sit up front until she'd turned the magical 13 (I've been through the same schooling and should know better, but it's hard keeping my little daddy's girl back there, particularly as she's been taller than my wife for the last year or so :smile_big:)...so we woke her up at midnight of her birthday for a quick spin around the block, letting her up to the front seat. With this being her 13th birthday - the traditional coming-of-age for Jewish kids - I went way down memory lane and have been cutting onions all week, so your post triggered that paternal instinct in me, and I wanted to give it the best input I could. I'm going to go watch Wind River and Mystic River back-to-back, now. Send me a box of tissues?



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Going into this, I had no idea this would be such a tough decision but there doesn't seem to be a car that checks all of the boxes for us. A couple check many of the boxes, but not all, and this just results in the situation I'm currently in - choosing the "lesser" of two evils (although all 3 options are very good).
Yup. :devil::angel:

I could see from your posts above that you'd backed yourself into a corner with those three choices. As a car-guy, I both envy as well as pity you for where you are, now. There's the three good choices that I envy you for, but like you said, none of the three manages to check off -ALL- of your boxes, and that's an awful place to be. :plain:


I thought I was going to have this issue, too, with my wife's upcoming lease renewal. I went to take a look at the new Forester, as you know from the previous post, and I thought it was really pretty nice - it certainly would add a level of practicality versus the WRX. I thought we'd be in trouble, with the decision now being two vehicles, but my wife was adamant that she wanted another WRX. Lucky for me, that made things easy!


As for the quote above, are you referring to the Forester vs. the 4Runner? When comparing the exterior dimensions of the 4Runner, Forester, and Ascent it appears that 4Runner is that happy medium in terms of size when it comes to the 3 - I'm just not a huge fan of the 4Runner (ie. price) and I just want something different after 14 years of the 4Runner.

No, I apologize - I was referring to the interior measurements and cargo volume (with rear seats up/occupied) for the Outback versus Forester, both 2019:

https://www.subaru.com/vehicles/outback/models.html/OBK-compare-wrapper-modal

https://www.subaru.com/vehicles/forester/models.html/FOR-compare-wrapper-modal

You'll want to open each of the above two links from Subaru (official) in different tabs, as you'll need to then access the "Interior" pull-down. Align them in the same plane, and you'll be able to quickly tab between them for the comparison.

I think while the exterior is definitely important - our garage is a two-car garage, but as with the vast majority of homes in our area, it's rather small, and we've got a section where the previous owners built-in a very nice storage shelf (that unfortunately truncates the front-to-aft measurement of that side), so there's no way we can park both a minivan and something the size of an Ascent side-by-side - the interior is where you're likely going to encounter your "growing pains" as the kiddos bud towards toddlers and then again through early childhood. Strollers and diaper bags and the friggin' Pack n' Play took up a huge chunk of space, but even as Anna out-grew hers, it just seems like her little outfits waged war on us, and kept winning battles by taking up the same space we just saved from dumping those infant accessories. :dunno: It really wasn't until she was no longer a toddler that we saw our packing reach what I'd think is an equilibrium of sorts. And certainly, you can future-proof by stepping up to the volume of the Ascent if you see your kiddos with the need to lug big, bulky bags of sporting equipment around...but I really would like to bring up the thought of whether you may simply want to save that for a future upgrade rather than walk down that path now -- finding that an older vehicle may not be as reliable by that time and/or that you may simply desire more advanced safety and comfort features that are sure to evolve.

One thing I failed to address from your OP was your concern about twin child car-seats.

I think this will depend a lot on two main factors: whether you intend to carry even just one extra passenger (aside form yourself and your mate, up front) and you and your mate's body-proportions.

That first consideration is pretty straightforward. With two infant-seats or two modern rear-facing/convertible child safety seats, that middle bench space in the second row becomes pretty untenable for anyone but either a rather slim-built adult or another child (and even then, some simple booster-base setups may still be too wide to fit, given the side-to-side spread of most modern child-seats). This means that even that lone extra passenger - that third adult - will require alternate seating. Here, really, only a third-row vehicle is viable: be it putting the kiddos way in the back or asking your adult passenger to go there. Sure, this scenario is unlikely, given your minivan, but in a pinch, this can be a very handy option to have available. [ The Car Seat Lady offers some great insight here, regarding the practicality of certain setups: https://thecarseatlady.com/vehicles/suv/subaru-ascent/ ]

The second consideration is really another one of those things that you'll need to try out for yourself, preferably with your mate in the front passenger seat, too...and again ideally by borrowing those big rear-facing child seats from a friend who has at least one to spare. You'll want to try to set the front seats to where you can obviously drive safely if not comfortably (for extended distances) and where your mate would be just as comfortable, sitting as the passenger for a long ride. Again, while this may not be a *need* with this second vehicle, it would be nice to have, given all that can take place in a family's busy and sometimes unpredictable life (why did I have to get rid of my beloved '05 Legacy 2.5GT? because it was a stickshift, and my wife can't drive one! :disappointed:). It's hard to say that if you're X'xx" tall or so many lbs. wide that you will or will not be able to fit a rear-facing child-seat behind you - each of us have different physical characteristics ("the average man," isn't), and that's discounting any preexisting injuries or other physical limitations. I can tell you that as a 6', porky 225 lb. male on a medium frame that I had no trouble fitting my daughter's rear-facing child-seat (or infant seat) behind even my seat in my wife's '05 WRX (our smallest Subaru)...but this may not be true of every other 6' tall person.

I hope I'm not adding worries! As parents, we're already not sleeping enough! :smile_big:
 

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Hahaha! Since my Hokies are not in it, pulling for ACC all the way! Go Clemson!

Oh and the Ascent is a wonderful SUV and if it makes you feel any better on size, we purchased it and have no kids at home anymore! Haha! We love the size and extra room for when we do want to travel!
 

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If there is a need for 2 or more car seats in the middle row, the Odyssey is a better choice. The outboard seats can be moved further outboard, thereby allowing more room for child car seats. This feature really helped us since we have triplets.

Also for the poster who has been having issues with their Odyssey transmission. We had a 2011 Odyssey which had weird shifting. It would shift very roughly at times. I always felt like the transmission was going to fall apart.

We turned that Odyssey in after the lease ended and got another same generation Odyssey. This one (which we bought after the lease ended) has no issues at all. The shifting is greatly improved and at over 70k mi so far, the van has been trouble free. I think Honda did change something in the transmission because this one feels totally different and better.

Re the Ascent, don't discount the utility of the captains chairs when the kids get a bit older. When they are more agile and stronger, they will be able to scramble into the 3rd row without having to put the 2nd row seat down by walking through the gap between the captains chairs. This is a big deal because if you have a child seat in the 2nd row, you CAN NOT tilt the seat forward to allow access to the 3rd row. We found this out the hard way in the van. It made our 3rd row inaccessible unless we moved one of the child seats into the 3rd row itself.
 

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I personally like smaller footprint vehicles especially where I live and like to travel. If we had a minivan as our primary road trip / hauler mine is a Sequoia it rarely gets driven ever. I would opt for something between my daily driver 2010 Outback and the Sequoia. A 2-3-2 seat configuration. I won’t ever buy a new Toyota product given around here the dealers literally demand msrp or higher, I don’t play that game.

I owned a 4 runner hated its terrible handling switched to a Land Cruiser liked it but hated the 12mpg. Bought the Sequoia like it but given I have a Outback that gets driven most.

I was really excited about the Ascent but the 2-2-3 only seating configuration in the fully tech packaged Touring is a fail I won’t buy it. The CVT in my OB is OK but I did get stuck last week dropped one front tire off the edge of a paved parking lot, reverse could not get me out known cvt stall issue. Plus my local Subaru dealers are all now what I call giant auto group owned shops with insane prices for simple service items again I don’t play that game.

January 9 th the ground up new Ford Explorer which is a 2-3-2 rear wheel drive platform is being announced. Ford is now using the same 3d camera/collision tech Subaru has, the Explorer will offer plugin hybrid with no loss of trunk space or spare tire. For is using its 10spd Auto variant also used in the F150, Mustang and Lincoln offerings. The engine options are established solid options also.

Basically a very high probability the new Explorer will have a much better combo of characteristics I want vs the Subaru. I really like Subaru but as of today the only car they make I that I would probably consider is the 2020 Outback. I think the Ascent is a great offering but Subaru missed some key things that its competitors will soon saturate the mid sized market with. The biggie being 2-3 seating with all tech options. The other being well done transmissions that fit the SUV aspect better. Ie don’t stall out when a tire is sitting in a hole or packed in by snow etc.

If you like the Outback car/wagon which I do. The Ascent Limited 2-3-3 is really the only good option as a up size but you get shorted the cool tech. Very short sighted on Subarus part.
I would bet on Subaru adding the bench on the touring model next year or two plus filtering down the cool tech as you call it also. My priorities are- Eyesight, RAB ,BSW in a strong body with good power and space in a affordable package. I got it in my optioned up 34k Premium. The mirrors ,cooled/heated seats and fake leather don't interest me. I would like the headlight option all though but I could upgrade to better bulbs
 

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We love our Asent (before Sunday's accident). We used it as our 2nd family hauler too. Our primary is a 2015 Honda Odyssey, which fairs well for city driving and road trips from city to city. I live in the SF Bay Area, so trips from SF to maybe LA would be great for the Odyssey.

However, camping trips and trips out to the mountains we definitely take the Subaru. Love the Ascent.
 

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I just found out on my Limited that it has the adaptive headlight (aka AFS) - pretty cool tech.

The LED in the projector is very impressive. The light distribution is very even and wide; gonna be very difficult to achieve it w/ the aftermarket H11 LED bulb.
 

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I’m replacing my ‘04 4Runner and totally confused on what to do. I’d go with another Toyota but there’s not a model I like (I like the Forester over the new RAV4). We love our Odyssey but the other Honda offerings are boring IMO.

So here I am with Subaru, which I have eyed for years. The problem is that I’m confused which model is best for me. Again, we’ve got an Odyssey so my car is not the primary hauler for our family of 4 (kids are 3 and 9 months). So is the Ascent too big? Is the Forester going to be too small? The Outback is an option but with a refresh upcoming, I’m a little timid to get it.

Anyone been in this position? Any help or input is greatly appreciated!!
Hey Jim. I was in a very comparable position the last couple months. My wife has a third-row SUV (Honda Pilot) that is our family vacation car. At the time we purchased (Summer 2016) Subaru didn't have a third-row car available, and the Tribeca was unfortunately too small.

My current car is a 2011 Outback which was our family vacation car before my wife got the Honda. Her previous ride was an 09 Legacy.

The only thing that is a problem on either my Outback or even the Foresters is that if you have kids in a front or rear mounting car seat, the harness style ones, the middle seat is largely unusual. This is a temporary thing, of course, since the kids eventually will grow out of the car seats. Our kids are 7 and 5, and they're both in high-back boosters. Since the change to the boosters, the middle seat is better and more usable.

Like some have said, the Forester is a great alternative if you truly don't need that third row for people moving all the time - especially since you've got a third-row solution for "situations" that need them.

I ordered a 2019 Forester.

The smaller footprint, and better gas mileage, and modern interior were awesome. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did - especially coming from an Outback. But, the interior space isn't much different, it's just laid out differently - the Outback is more wagon/crossover-ey, and the Forester is taller/higher.

Originally I wanted the Ascent - and if we didn't have a third-row solution yet, we would be all over it. There is a TON of value in all the trims compared to the competition. Our Honda EX-L, one of the middle trims, would be comparable to somewhere between the Limited with Option Packages or close to the top Touring trim.

But, practicality won over here, and I settled on a 2019 Forester. I ordered a Limited, but ended up bumping up to a Touring trim after reading about some features and fortunately they had inventory coming in, so I didn't have to wait 2 months for a factory order.

The Forester basically drives like a Mini-Ascent. It was extremely comfortable. 33 mpg on the highway will be awesome, along with the modern amenities like EyeSight and Adaptive Cruise Control (take that, rush hour!)

I drove the Sport, sat in the Limited for reference. I've also test-driven the Ascent Premium 8p and Touring 7p. Everything was very well executed, but for my unique situation, this seemed like the way to go.

Good luck in your search!

@GHP1 it appears that Subaru is moving to LED headlights, even in base and premium trims (non SRH) - the 2019 Foresters all have this. I would be pretty surprised if they maintained a Halogen line in 2020+.
@TSiWRX I'd propose the idea of roof-mounted cargo box if the 2.5 cubic feet of cargo room is the dealbreaker. You can grab a 19 Forester with the crossbars and cargo box and use it situationally and reap the benefits of the smaller vehicle.
 

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@TSiWRX I'd propose the idea of roof-mounted cargo box if the 2.5 cubic feet of cargo room is the dealbreaker. You can grab a 19 Forester with the crossbars and cargo box and use it situationally and reap the benefits of the smaller vehicle.

+1.


For our vehicles ever since the little ones (my daughter and my nephews) were toddler-stage+, we've had roof-top solutions ready-to-go.
 
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