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Currently have a heavily-modified 2016 Tacoma. It's amazing off road, but much more than I realistically need, and not meeting my needs/wants in other areas. My search for a new vehicle has led me to consider a new Ascent.

I need a lot of interior room. A LOT. On paper the Ascent seems to fit that bill. What I don't need is a third row seat. Has anyone already removed that seating row, as well as the cubby-like area behind it? I would love to take advantage of the extra storage depth to place a dog crate or custom storage elements there.

How is the real world off-road ability? Is anyone running oversized AT tires? If so, what size and tire type will fit? Are there any suspension-based (ie. not spacer) lift options available? What are the chances the Ascent can go through something like Steele Pass in Death Valley?

How is the power delivery in real-world driving? Do you find the transmission/engine combination to be enough? Any scenarios in which power is lacking? Any options available to improve power (chips?) ?

Appreciate any advice/info!
 

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0210 I have a OB and a Sequoia because in reality since 2003 there hasn’t been one vehicle with the right combo of features. LOL

In 03 it was my Legacy GT and my cherry 93 Land Cruiser. Today its my 2010 OB and Sequoia.

In both cases my Subarus especially the GT saw way way more dirt action than the trucks mainly because they do 95% of all the road trips to the cool dirt places. Lol

The trucks get tagged for the heavy hauling and heavy trailer dragging trips which I might do 2-3 times a yr. The rest the Subarus do The towing.

So heres my Ascent delema. Today I have a transfer case 4x4 that can get tagged for a trip I really want to do. Bryce, Arches maybe one more NP. There are many places the Ascent will go but some it probably shouldn’t given it lacks the low transfer case steep decent ability.

Having said that the Subarus absolutely crush the trucks on dirt roads regarding performance and enjoyment. But those are roads not trails.

I need to swap 2 vehicles for 1. I’ve decided to wait and see the Ford Bronco if its like the Ford Everest its going to be a very tough call. The Ascent will probably have a road handling advantage. But the Ford Ranger based Bronco will have a 10spd 4x4 system on a solid rear axle most likely 2-3-2 seating arrangement. Might be very slightly smaller width wise than the Ascent but likely more floor to roof space, which I feel the Ascent is almost the same as my current Outback.

Plus the Bronco would be ready out of the box vs Ascent tire options with no mods are kinda disappointing and I find Subaru ride quality really suffers when you boost height over the factory height. Weird vibes happen, new bushings get messed with to try and fix weird vibes and its just not as good as it its stock.

So I’m waiting to see what happens in the next 10 or so months.
 

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The Ascent is a Crossover (CUV), not a truck or SUV. It's basically a mini-van (less sliding door) w/ some off-road (relatively unpaved or developed area) capability by its inherent 4wd feature.

I haven't seen reports on larger tires than 29.5" diameter yet. In fact there's very few aftermarket support at the moment, like 0.01% compare to the 4runner/Tacoma world.

Welcome aboard!!
 

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The third row seats aren't designed to be removed but you could. The problem is that the trunk floor is raised to make room for the spare underneath and sit flush with the third row seats folded. You would have an uneven space and I am sure with the third row removed there will still be a bit of a hump. Not sure if this would make it an ideal space since you would still need a level space for a dog crate.

There is a company that makes a lift for the Ascent which should allow you to stick some bigger AT tires on it, or sizing down to the 18inch rim's would maybe let you fit something a bit meatier.

The engine and transmission are capable for the cross over category. The CVT programming in the Ascent can be a bit jumpy at low speeds for sure. In terms of off road capability its more of a dirt/gravel fire road sort of car. I wouldn't rely on it for larger off road capability. It has many components underneath that would get trashed if you bottomed out on something. Someone on this forum bottomed out the rear and crushed the entire exhaust.

With the CVT and AWD it has a 60% Front 40% Rear power distribution. In some scenarios the AWD puts lots of stress on the CVT and the Ascent reduces power to minimize CVT chain damage. So if it can't make it over the object its not going to keep applying power with the wheel constantly slipping and grabbing like you might see in a traditional 4X4.

If your truly need off road capability I would look into a 4-Runner. They are a bit dated and slow which is what kept me from buying one. I also do 90% of my driving in the city and suburbs and really just wanted something for the family and Chicago snow.
 
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