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Maybe a different perspective. I am giving up a 2009 Ford Flex Limited AWD that we have really enjoyed; very quiet, beautiful road car, many creature comforts that drives like a much smaller vehicle. Terrific Sony infotainment system. Absurd but handy second row console refrigerator. Very easy to enter and exit.Very reliable up to 100,000 Miles then lots of suspension/brakes/wear items. We are getting rid of it at 140,000 Miles. The interior quiet is, in large part, due to a laminated windshield and laminated glass on both front windows. Large thick front seats. The moveable pedals help as my wife is 7” shorter than I am.

I test drove the CX-9, Pilot Elite, MDX Tech with SH-AWD, Lexus RX 350, VW Atlas. Also loved the Audi A4 Allroad but too small. Loved the Outlook 3.6 R but also a bit small.

CX-9 has blistering torque/thrust but the engine was really loud/harsh and the cabin tight. Ditto the second row. Good value though in top trim.

The MDX handling was bland, to me but better in sport mode. The rounded design of the cargo hatch limited usefulness of putting cargo in. Expensive if you go to the Advance trim if you want 2nd row captain’s chairs.

The Rx350 has an extremely beautiful interior and I thought the engine had a lot of power. The handling was bland and there was limited cargo room. The transmission was lively when shifted manually. Awful joystick/mouse controller that you really could not use while driving.

I own a Honda Element as a 2nd vehicle that is very cheap to maintain, reliable and has 175,000 Miles. My 2 sons each own 1 and we love them. I was very prepared to like the Pilot. The ride was quiet but again I found the handling bland. The 9 speed transmission shifted a bit “jerky”. I found that when I moved the driver’s seat all the way back, my knees were bent and that would not work on long trips for me with 2 knee replacements. With the driver’s seat all the way back, I found the second row legroom very tight.

I really liked the VW Atlas a lot. It handled well and felt like a much smaller vehicle. Definitely a German type road feel and interior design ergonomics. Huge inside with loads of room. Unfortunately the step in height was sufficiently high that my wife could not easily get in at her 5’ 4” height. And I had some concerns about the expected reliability.

I pre-ordered a 2019 Ascent but have not driven it yet. But I can say that the interior room, fit and finish and outright practicality of what I found was pretty impressive after spending 20 minutes looking it over. With the driver’s seat all the way back, I could just about touch the gas and brake pedal with the toe of my shoe. Same with the passenger side.
I sat in the second row and my size 15 foot could fit easily under the first row. I liked the fact that it has both analog radio and heater/AC controls like the Flex. Try to figure those out on the MDX or use the touchy mouse -like controller on the Lexus RX!

Nice touches abound. When you start off, you can see all tire pressures at once. The storage compartment in the rear floor has a nice amount of room, stores the cargo cover and can be held open with Velcro straps if you want more depth. The second row seats move fore/aft, recline and have multi-position arm rests and window shades.

The seats were very comfortable and nicely done. The few disappointments in what I saw were the lack of height adjustment on the passenger’s seat and no lumbar adjustment, the very cheesy sunglass holder and the fact that they put felt on the seat surfaces near the console, which would be a challenge to clean if you spilled something.

I am looking forward to the test drive before committing to purchase. The ride, comfort, acceleration and pickup will be critical and the mileage ratings will be welcome if they can be achieved. But as a whole package, very attractive value proposition. Interested to hear what others find after a drive.
 

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The Flex was /is a nice machine even with its dated body. Everyone I know that has/had one really liked it.

The Ascent does seem like a similar size to the Flex.

I have found the Hondas to be the most boring vehicles. My brother is on his second Civic in over 400,000 miles and the current one a 07 has had countless fit and finish along with horribly aligned brake calipers vs disk resulting in early brake pad replacement and very uneven pad wear. He refuses to own another Honda.

He has a Highlander and is getting a T3 delivered soon. The Highlander is nice, tad boring and a dime a dozen around here. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
 

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How tall are you? size 15 foot, I'm assuming my size 6'5"
 

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When I sat in the Ascent second row I could not fit my feet under the front seat. I think it was the passenger side. Anyway , there is some kind of a black box that is in the way. Anybody notice that?
 

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Hoping you are as dazzled by the drive as most of us have been! My daily driver has a 5.7L Hemi engine and I was still wowed by the get up and go of the Ascent whenever I wanted it- less so off the line but everywhere else. Getting a second chance to drive one tomorrow, first time with the whole crew nestled in, and I’m hoping the husband finds it as impressive as I did (and that I can manage from the passenger seat, though I don’t plan to land there too often). She really does appear to be both beauty and beast and the best match for our must haves.
 

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Drove a Touring this morning at my local dealer. Comfort- Ok, but not any better than my 16 Limited Outback perhaps a little less due to the stiffness of the seats. Power- Nice, but not as spunky as a Forester XT. Handling- It felt better than the Pilot I drove but not as sharp as my Outback. Ride- Great that SGP really pay's off in soaking up the bumps. Quietness- Ok, but nothing exceptional. Room- This had captain seats and I felt second room leg room was adequate. The seats can't go back enough but they do recline. Overall a solid choice in the segment but IMO it really does not blow any the competition away. I look forward to the 20 Outback with either the 2.0 or 2.4 DIT
 

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None of the competition has the technology that Eyesight provides. Not Toyota or Honda or Nissan.
Your correct I believe. Honda/Acura has there CMS safety system but I'm not sure it can stop a car at certain speeds like ES. Not sure about Toyota
 

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Your correct I believe. Honda/Acura has there CMS safety system but I'm not sure it can stop a car at certain speeds like ES. Not sure about Toyota
The only speed test I've seen have been published by IIHS. Honda, Subaru, and Toyota all stop at the same 25 mph that the IIHS measured them at. Subaru advertises 30 mph stopping speed, but I've personally been saved from getting rear ended by an Outback with Eyesight going much faster on the free way.
 

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The only speed test I've seen have been published by IIHS. Honda, Subaru, and Toyota all stop at the same 25 mph that the IIHS measured them at. Subaru advertises 30 mph stopping speed, but I've personally been saved from getting rear ended by an Outback with Eyesight going much faster on the free way.
I have way too many YouTube links on my computer that are sales aids, especially when someone wants to see how things are demonstrated.

Just fast forward through the first 3 minutes of the video, unless you want to listen to Grant talk. He does an adaptive cruise control test at 25, 35, and 45 mph heading straight into cardboard boxes.

Grant Wilson Eyesight test

And yeah, he may have modified his Outback just a little ... :tango_face_surprise
 

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I wasn't specifically referring to emergency braking, although that is a great feature too. I was actually speaking about the adaptive cruise portion of eyesight. Highlander, Pilot and Pathfinder all disengage at 20-30 mph. Only Eyesight, CX-9 and Santa Fe will actually stop the car and restart cruise control from a stop.That's priceless IMHO.
 

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You may not know the seats are still comfortable until 3 hrs into a trip. I feel our 16 outback ltd seats are super nice, but uncomfortable on a longer trip -its family wide, not just me. Funny thing is, I've never test driven a car longer than 15 minutes, but never had as sore of an @$$ as in my outback -
 

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When I sat in the Ascent second row I could not fit my feet under the front seat. I think it was the passenger side. Anyway , there is some kind of a black box that is in the way. Anybody notice that?
That's the Harmon Kardon amp.
 

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You may not know the seats are still comfortable until 3 hrs into a trip. I feel our 16 outback ltd seats are super nice, but uncomfortable on a longer trip -its family wide, not just me. Funny thing is, I've never test driven a car longer than 15 minutes, but never had as sore of an @$$ as in my outback -
My wife and I drove cross country in my new for 16 limited outback and did a 16 hour run and felt very comfy. My wife is super sensitive to bad seats. That's why I was surprised to hear she felt the seats in the Ascent where not up to her Outback's comfort
 
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