Subaru Ascent Forum banner
1 - 20 of 42 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking to replace my 11 yr old Toyota Sienna and have been looking at the Ascent.
We are a family of 6- (kids are: a 13 yr old and 11 yr old triplets) plus a dog.
I am ready to move past the minivan, but am not sure we will fit comfortably in the Ascent.
I previously drove a Forrester before the Sienna, so I love the Subaru brand. My husband drives a WRX, but we don't all fit in there. The Ascent would replace the minivan as our only family car.
We would need to use the 3rd row all the time. Short trips to school and back don't seem like a problem but longer road trips might be cramped.
Any experience, thoughts?
Thanks in advance!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
978 Posts
If all you do is short local kid shuttle stuff the Ascent is probably ok. If you do road trips to grandmas house, go camping etc you’ll be short on load capacity. Families of 5-6 around here do lots of adventurous stuff they all have Suburbans to fit everyone and their stuff.

The few 5-6 sized families that only have a Mini van tend to only do airport travel and short local kid transport.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Have you tried taking the whole family to the dealer for a test fit? Yes, it's definitely not going to be as roomy as a Suburban, but if you've been comfortable in the Sienna an Ascent might work for you. I think that needing the rear seats up all the time would necessitate a rooftop cargo box for road trips. Probably be better off with the bench seat, but I don't know how hard that makes the rear seat access. Compared to a Suburban, the Ascent will get better MPG, be easier to park, more fun to drive and probably be safer. A lot of it may hinge on how often you road trip with the entire family and how large your dog is. :grin:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
We are a family of six (younger kids under 10) and it seems to work fine for us. You might look into a hitch mount luggage carrier. That's what we plan to do for long trips where the back doesn't hold enough. my 3 y/o and 7 y/o sit in the 3rd row and my 9 y/o and 1 y/o in the second row.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
We are family of 5 and the size is perfect for us. It however really comes down to what you will be using the vehicle for and expectations for space are. I am 100% ok using a roof carrier or hitch rack for road trips. We take longer road trips on the regular and this is what we do/did with my husband's Explorer before I got my Ascent. In theory a Yukon Xl or Suburban would be a better fit for our family, but I have zero desire to drive a car that big as my daily driver.

I have a 8 Passenger, because I wanted the flexibility that having 8 seat belts gave us and being able to put all of my kids in the middle row if needed. My 10 year old has no issues getting into the 3rd row, even with a high back booster installed in the seat in front of him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
418 Posts
I'll echo the others. We will be using the Ascent for 2 day road trips with 6 (including the dog, 5 with the dog excluded), where other than my wife and I (the two front seats), we have a 6'2" 16yo, a 6' 14yo, and a 5'9" 13yo, a small dog, and the luggage. We have no problem using hitch and/or rooftop cargo carrying options, so this is very doable for us. We tried them all out on a day trip and the kids were pleased as punch over the roominess compared to our previous Crosstrek. There's a large number of variables... size of dog, distance of trips, amount of luggage normally carried on said trips, degree of discomfort allowance the kids display, etc... I concur completely with taking the whole crew to the dealership and doing a test drive fully loaded. If y'all's dealership is like mine, they won't even mind the dog being there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
I had the same concern when downsizing from a minivan into a Highlander back on 2009, which was quite a bit smaller than the Ascent. Also had a solid 3rd row that only sat 2 with very little cargo space behind it. Family of 4 at the time (+2 if grandparents came along), and we made it work for local driving. Went with a roof box to recover the lost load capacity for road trips and it's been just fine.

Fast forward to today, now a family of 5 (+2 occasionally). Even though we were getting by with the Highlander, the Ascent is larger with a split 3rd row and a lot more space behind it than the Highlander had. A huge upgrade for us and we're loving it. The roof box will continue to be used for road trips, but it's easy to throw on when needed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,406 Posts
The biggest regret will be the sliding doors. Imagine the van parked between cars, everyone can exit the van at the same time. For swinging doors on Ascent, the driver (and front pass.) have to wait until the rear doors are closed.

The next regret will likely the rooms for all the passengers (current and future body size/height of kids). This mid-size CUV is not a direct replacement of your van, but a full-size SUV is (e.g. Expedition, Tahoe, Sequoia, Navigator, etc...).

As a man, the biggest sacrifice of owning a van is "owning a van"!!! Otherwise, it's a lot more functional to haul a family of 6+dog in a van than the Ascent, I imagine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
418 Posts
The biggest regret will be the sliding doors. Imagine the van parked between cars, everyone can exit the van at the same time. For swinging doors on Ascent, the driver (and front pass.) have to wait until the rear doors are closed.

The next regret will likely the rooms for all the passengers (current and future body size/height of kids). This mid-size CUV is not a direct replacement of your van, but a full-size SUV is (e.g. Expedition, Tahoe, Sequoia, Navigator, etc...).

As a man, the biggest sacrifice of owning a van is "owning a van"!!! Otherwise, it's a lot more functional to haul a family of 6+dog in a van than the Ascent, I imagine.

Oh come on Trey, just get yourself the... Cadillac of mini-vans :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
559 Posts
Triplets! We are a member of the triplets club. Ours are 7 yr old boys who are growing like weeds!

We have a 7 passenger Premium Ascent. We also have a 2014 Honda Odyssey Touring Elite. Between the two, the Odyssey has way more interior room. The middle row outboard seats on the Odyssey can be physically moved further outboard by a couple of inches each. That helps a lot with spacing between the kids. The third row has more legroom and especially headroom by far. I'm 6' tall and I can easily sit in the 3rd row of our Odyssey. I barely fit in the Ascent.

The problems with the 3rd row of the Ascent are:
1) There is a lack of headroom. It's hard for anyone over 5'10" back there.
2) There's a lack of legroom.
3) There's a lack of width. We can easily fit 3 adults in the 3rd row of the Odyssey. No way with the Ascent.

BTW, that lack of width is also an issue with booster seats. We had ordered Chicco KidFit booster seats. It's a nice booster seat with an adjustable high back. Problem is, the seat base is so wide the poor kid who's using it, has a nearly impossible time engaging the seatbelt latch into the holder. The narrowness of the space between the left side of the passenger compartment wall and the seatbelt latch makes it very difficult to find a proper booster seat. I ended up buying a Maxi-Cosi Rodifix booster seat. I did a search for the narrowest booster seat on the market that also had an adjustable high back. This seat was 2x the price of the Chicco.

This is probably not an issue for you since your kids are now older. But for anyone with multiple young children, the 3rd row only has one pair of LATCH brackets. They are on the driver's side of the vehicle. WORSE yet, the inboard LATCH bracket is to the right of the seatbelt latch for the driver's side passenger AND the middle seat passenger. So if you use the LATCH system, you've given up the possibility of using the middle seat because its seatbelt can not be buckled to its latch.

So will this work for you with triplets and one more kid? As others have opined, get the whole family to the dealer and go for an extended test drive!

After we got the Maxi-Cosi booster, the kids are all safely in booster seats now. We also have a 35 lb double doodle. She fits in the space between the 2nd row captains chairs.

Finally, we are going to take a 1600 mi road trip during spring break. Packing is going to be tight. With the one seat in the 3rd row folded down, there is still far less space for luggage than in the Odyssey. That's because the floor of the Odyssey in the rear dips down, giving us a lot more area for carrying stuff. With 6 people, you're probably going to need a roof box.

Good luck and I hope it all works out for you!

P.S. the sliding doors of the van do help in narrow spaces. But the Ascent is way cooler to drive than the van!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
143 Posts
tl;dr: No crossover will carry as many people + as much stuff as a minivan. It may not be the answer you want, but it's the answer you need.

We're a family of six. 18 year old, 16 year old and 12 year old twins. And the obligatory 80lb dog. The only reason we can now get away without a minivan is that our 18 year old hardly ever goes anywhere with us, so we generally travel as a family of five, or of four when I'm away for work, which is weekly.

For anyone here who says "we're a family of FIVE and it works great," well, sorry but you just don't get it, no offense. Anything can carry five people. With a family of six, the struggle is real.

We've lived with four minivans. Yes, they're everything that's bad about a minivan. And nothing else can touch their practicality for the price. Sure, you can carry the same people and some more stuff in a Suburban...for twice the money. I'll tell you, when we bought our last minivan, in 2015, we tried HARD...like HARD to find Any. Freaking. Thing. that could carry all six of us and a vacation's worth of stuff that wasn't a minivan. There wasn't. There's vehicles that can carry six, and vehicles that can carry groceries/luggage, but not both...except for a minivan or a Suburban/Expedition EXL (or whatever the extended letter soup is) So we bought low-mile (like 14k miles) used vans, and while a used van was in the high teens, low 20's...a used Suburban was in the high 30's to high 40's. We tried the Traverse and Acadia, the Flex, the Expedition (and only the extended version actually works), the fullsize Transit van, the little Transit Connect passenger van. We even tried 4-door F-250's. We climbed in every darn thing we could find in a lot. We got a fourth minivan...because that's what worked.

Okay, so there's the argument that the Ascent can carry six and haul all the stuff with hitch carriers and rooftop boxes, and that's true...but you have to drop the $$$ to get those things, and hassle with attaching/removing them based on need. For one vacation a year, sure...but to go to Sam's Club, Aldi and the Megamart for groceries weekly? And do you want to hoist your milk and canned goods up to the roof? Because if all six of you go shopping, you will be.

Now, the 3rd row on the Ascent isn't bad. Our 12 year olds fit just fine. But I'd call it a 3rd row for TWO people, not for three. And our Ascent will carry all six of us just fine...up to a point. For a vacation, we'd really need to fold down half of that 3rd row, because we DON'T own all of the outside boxy-gear to carry stuff. Again, it works for us because now that our son is 18 and doing his own thing, functionally we're a family of five, and we could finally ditch the minivan.

Incidentally, we thought we'd be going with the 7-passenger Ascent to make 3rd row access easier. But after we let all of the kids climb in and through both seating setups, THE KIDS said they preferred the middle bench seat. Surprised us, but hey, works for our coach passengers, and cheaper, to boot.

In my educated opinion? You need to do one more minivan. You don't want to. NOBODY wants to. Minivans are like Denny's...nobody chooses to go to Denny's, you end up at Denny's...and in a minivan. You could likely make do with an Ascent, but you'll really be trading off a lot of capacity.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
791 Posts
This is an Ascent forum, so people may be slightly biased here. I think you really need the minivan.
Even with two kids, one who is pushing 6'2", and my wife and I at 6 and 5'10" respectively, my son is crowded in the second row captains chairs. Throw in a golden retriever, or a friend or two, and you are mostly full. And keep in mind kids tend not to get smaller as they get older.

Also, while the third row is fine for my daughter and her friends (three 9-10 yr olds fit well, but two teens at 5'10 and 6'2 do not), if we have my wife and I in front, my son and a friend in the capt chairs, the legroom for the third row is almost gone for the three girls in the back row.

People hate minivans, but they are great at what they do. If we had three kids, one of our cars would be a minivan. My favorite car all time was my last Odyssey. But , as I mentioned in another post, we have a place on the hills, where even with snow tires, we need the extra ground clearance to get there in the winter due to limited plowing ( learned from several years of experience), so the van had to go:sad:.
 

·
Super Moderator
2019 Ascent Touring (CWP)
Joined
·
4,180 Posts
I (sadly) have to agree with the others...for your particular situation, you're going to be better served by another minivan if you want to carry the family, the dog AND "stuff" effectively for more than local ratting around. And it pains me to say that as I've never been a fan of them personally. There are some good choices available from the usual suspects at Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai, etc., and the Pacifica from FCA is a really nice vehicle.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
418 Posts
Once again... the Cadillac of minivans :D


In all seriousness, I've never understood the bias against minivans. If not for my desire to have vehicle that does some mild to moderate off-road/soft-road travel I'd be driving a minivan with no regrets. Especially these days with the demand down so good prices. A decked out minivan is spacious and yet usually drives more like a car. ****, I wouldn't mind driving a full size van again. Bring back the '70s! If it was good enough for Scooby Doo and the A-Team, it's good enough for me. Heck, the Punisher drives a van... what could possibly be cooler than driving a vehicle like the Punisher? Embrace the minivan... really, if you want or need the space, there's nothing wrong with a van of any kind. If you don't mind having to do the roof-rack and/or hitch cargo thing though, and want a more adventure oriented vehicle, you could do far worse than the Ascent. It's all a matter of what ya need/want more.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
978 Posts
Couple of large teens and your doing more than local around town shuttle go mini van or bite the bullet and go full sized SUV. Teens will be out of the house in X yrs? If it were me? Buy something used then dump it when the kids are off to college. Besides the kids are likely to be driving it and tearing it up also.

By the way the Suburban or short Tahoe are very safe for the occupants not so much for those around it. I decided to update my Sequoia vs buy right now it’s reliable roomy. $300 I add Bluetooth and apple car play and back up camera via kit from Crutchfield audio.

In 2-3 yrs I might buy new or pick up a off lease 2020 Lincoln Aviator Plugin hybrid at half price lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
Similar

I'm in a similar situation - 12 y/o, twin 10 y/os and an 8 y/o... and my last car was also toyota sienna. We went with the 8 passenger limited.

As others noted, the cargo space is noticeably less - however we found we did not need as much stuff as we had packed away in the van when we switched. If you need all the space you currently use in the Sienna, you will be disappointed. All our kids are travel sports kids - so we do have enough room to lug around soccer/basketball/softball/baseball gear when needed.

The car works great for us . The kids alternate from complaining about the space in the 3rd row to arguing about who gets to sit back there. :) Typical I am sure.

I also recommend you take a family trip to the dealership - we did, and made the poor sales rep watch while 4 kids wildly piled into his new vehicle. We even made them all switch rows to make sure we got all their opinions. However - seeing is believing and when we saw they all fit we were more at ease.

I can support the other views as well - for big trips you will need extra space since you will also be used to packing a Sienna (like a roof bag and hitch for bikes).

After spending nearly 10 years in the sienna, we couldn't bear another 10 in a minivan either. Another van may have been the more practical choice, but we don't regret the Ascent. For what it's worth - we test drove another sienna and an odessy, and neither could match the tech or feel of the Subaru.

ED
 

·
Registered
2019 Subaru Ascent
Joined
·
2 Posts
We are family of 5 and I downsized from a Honda Odyssey to a Ascent when our oldest went to college. When he does come home and we ride around town with all 5 of us, we are perfectly comfortable. On a recent week long road trip in which he decided to tag along, we did have to install a hitch mount because there wasn't enough cargo room. We have captains chairs in our touring, so we had to use the third row for the youngest. We folded down the larger side for cargo and she sat on the smaller side in a booster seat, which she said was cozy. I thought I would miss the sliding doors, but actually we have done just fine with the regular doors (my youngest is 10 so she knows that she has to be careful opening the doors when we are in tight spaces so we don't hit the car next to us). Yes, there is less room but other than long trips which we don't do very often, I've had no regrets.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,125 Posts
When I had all 4 kids living at home, we got a full size Chevy Express 15 pass van. It came in really handy because we were able to have other family like grand parents and friends join us to go places from short hop to the mall to long road trips. On road trips there was plenty of room to spread out and no one ever felt cramped and my wife could take all the luggage she wanted to. I could also take a nap on a long trip in those bench seats- I really miss that feature! The down sides were gas mileage and parking the big van. The Chevy Express styling is so outdated now that used ones can be found very cheap. They depreciate fast and a one or two year old Express van is a bargin right now.

After the first two kiddos went to college, we downsized to a Suburban. That was so easy to park and it was a joy to drive but not as much room especially on road trips. But we we still had fun on road trips.

Now the third is in college and the forth a senoir in HS and we downsized to the Ascent. I can park anywhere and make u-turns. Gas mileage is 24+ for me (please don’t turn this into another mileage complaining thread). Weird thing for me the Ascent has the most driver leg room of all and is the smallest. But I don’t get to move to the back and nap on a bench seat. Bummer and yes that is my only complaint for the Ascent.

My point is that yes you can put your family in the Asscent but you really need to look at how you want to use it and if you want to be able to have friends and other family with you. Personally we have a lot of fond memories in the big old van and Suburban and we plan to make more in the Ascent but we will probably never have the whole family on a road trip again. Enjoy the kiddos while they are young. Go on long road trips and build memories and moments.
 
1 - 20 of 42 Posts
Top