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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I visited the Toronto auto show to check the Ascent, but the car was placed on the rotating platform so it was impossible to get in.
I looked at Pilot and Atlas as main competitors for Subaru. While Atlas seemed very nice to me, the Pilot was a real disappointment with its' cheap plastics and feel all over the cabin (both cars at highest trims).
So my question is for you guys that had a chance to get inside the Ascent, what are your overall impressions of this car comparing to Atlas and Pilot? Is the cabin as roomy as Atlas and the material quality better than the Pilot's? I'm considering the Limited trim with 8pass seats.

Thanks!
 

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I had a chance to check one out at the Minneapolis Auto Show over the weekend. We got in right at door open and it was remarkable how quickly people flocked to the Ascent. It was unsurprisingly the star of Subaru's show.

Having owned four Outbacks, the interior was immediately recognizable as a Subaru. You're not going to be bathed in luxury but there are a lot of features that we felt we would actually use (convex rear seat mirror and sun shades to name a couple). The leather on the Limited was not as nice and supple as a luxury brand but more than adequate. In fairness, the show car looked as if it had experienced a LOT of butt-traffic.

The 3rd row is actually usable compared to the almost comically cramped seats in other offerings. An adult wouldn't want to be back there for a long road trip but otherwise they were adequate for an adult and comfortable for a child.

For cross-shopping, I'll list the model and why we chose the Ascent over it:

Toyota Highlander: Very close 2nd place. The interior was bland and overall the vehicle felt slightly more cramped. A facelift is coming for 2019

Honda Pilot: Had good size but the interior was very unremarkable. I believe a facelift is in store for 2019

Dodge Durango: Extraordinarily cheap feeling interior for a vehicle in this price point. The narrowness of the vehicle made the interior feel cramped for its size. As a 'car guy' who painfully passed up a great deal on a Coyote Mustang due to its impracticality, the R/T appealed to me.

Jeep Grand Cherokee: Very impressive build quality. Great AWD system and class-leading towing capacity. Poor reliability and customer satisfaction scores (Consumer Reports 2018 Vehicle Guide) put us off this one.

VW Atlas: Looks huge and feels huge. Beautiful styling. Poor fuel economy and lack of confidence in the VW brand (we've had a few) made is consider this but ultimately pass. The new bumper to bumper warranty is supposed to enhance resale values but I'm not subscribing to that idea, nor could I afford to, until I see it.

NOTE: I listed "Facelift for 2019" because I am the type that hates having a new car only to see someone driving the NEW version of the same car a few months later. Some wouldn't be bothered by this so YMMV.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your input.

Yesterday I visited my Subaru dealership for pricing, I think I'll make my decision in a couple of days.
 

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I checked out the Ascent at the Baltimore Auto show and compared it to a bunch of vehicles and it came out on top.


Chevy Traverse Highcountry - Great interior but some things really feel cheap. A bit larger than my wife wanted and to get the safety gear you have to get a top of the line model which is pricey at 55K maybe 48K with discounts.


Ford Explorer Sport - We actually liked this vehicle a lot and it was second on our list. They changed the dash so the front seat had more room. Tons of power a I would have bought the V6 twin turbo. Downside being it has been out a long time and is due for a refresh. Carbon Monoxide leaking is also a concern. AWD system that really isn't meant for more than a couple inches of snow if that.


VW Atlas - This is huge inside but at the same time drives like a tank. seats are comfy and I felt it had a bit more room in the third row although only two seats. Eliminated as my wife didn't like the feel and I keep hearing about issues with the digital cockpit flaking out which really worried me.


Dodge Durango - Dated design makes it harder to use than newer offerings. Fantastic V8 but really thirsty for fuel.


Audi Q7 - Third row is so tight my kids couldn't fit back there and zero storage in the car for items like flashlights or anything else you keep in the car.


Ford Expedition - To me honest I still love this car but the high price really eliminated it. I just can't justify spending around 65K on a car when something in the 45K range fits my needs.


Toyota Highlander - No Android Auto so we didn't even look.


Now here is why we are getting the Ascent. Nice usable interior with nice storage and the seats felt really comfortable. Third row is usable for adults although I think me being 5' 11" is the largest that could fit as I had to duck my head a half an inch or so. Lower door sills that are really easy to get in and out of for kids or elderly adults. Lower front dash than other cars which makes it easier to see out. Eye sight safety system which is considered top notch and includes lane keep and radar cruise control. Subaru AWD which is one of the best you can get maybe second behind Land Rover.


What I'm worried about with the car is the new engine and the fact it has less power than the competitors but it at least makes up for it with amazing MPG. I'm also a little worried about the CVT as I wonder how it will hold up to hauling around all that weight especially when loaded up. I also wish I could get the bench in the second row in the Touring but I can deal with not having it.


Sorry lots of information but I keep a car for 10+ years normally so I put a lot of research in before making a decision and these are just the basic notes.
 

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Subaru AWD which is one of the best you can get maybe second behind Land Rover.

What I'm worried about with the car is the new engine and the fact it has less power than the competitors but it at least makes up for it with amazing MPG. I'm also a little worried about the CVT as I wonder how it will hold up to hauling around all that weight especially when loaded up.
Rover isn't AWD, it's 4WD. Yes, there is a difference. It may not seem like much, but it's there. (Audi is also AWD.)

If you'll notice, ALL of our cars have less power than competitors. But because of the horizontal opposed engine design going directly into the high-torque CVT, we'll get more of that power to the ground than a conventional V-shaped or straight block. We already make a 2.0l and 2.5l turbo that do very well. Seriously, if you haven't had a chance to drive a turbo Forester, do so. That thing will shock the heck out of you with how much power it has. That's why I don't mind someone coming in to comparison shop us.
 

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Rover isn't AWD, it's 4WD. Yes, there is a difference. It may not seem like much, but it's there. (Audi is also AWD.)

If you'll notice, ALL of our cars have less power than competitors. But because of the horizontal opposed engine design going directly into the high-torque CVT, we'll get more of that power to the ground than a conventional V-shaped or straight block. We already make a 2.0l and 2.5l turbo that do very well. Seriously, if you haven't had a chance to drive a turbo Forester, do so. That thing will shock the heck out of you with how much power it has. That's why I don't mind someone coming in to comparison shop us.
I am no expert but I can attest to the comments about less power sufficing in a Subaru. I used to have an I4, AWD Equinox and while it was a decent vehicle, it was woefully underpowered. In all but low-speed, in-town driving the car really felt like it was struggling to move itself.

This concerned me as the similarly-sized Outback I was looking at had approximately the same power. I'm not sure if it's the power delivery of one motor versus the other or the CVT at play but the Outback seems to get around with a lot less effort. It's by no means a fast or sporting car but at the same time it doesn't feel like it's struggling either. My dad, who also owned an Equinox, commented on it immediately on his first drive of my Outback. He was surprised to hear they had similar power ratings.
 

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Rover isn't AWD, it's 4WD. Yes, there is a difference. It may not seem like much, but it's there. (Audi is also AWD.)

If you'll notice, ALL of our cars have less power than competitors. But because of the horizontal opposed engine design going directly into the high-torque CVT, we'll get more of that power to the ground than a conventional V-shaped or straight block. We already make a 2.0l and 2.5l turbo that do very well. Seriously, if you haven't had a chance to drive a turbo Forester, do so. That thing will shock the heck out of you with how much power it has. That's why I don't mind someone coming in to comparison shop us.

According to Land Rover it is AWD and I'm not knocking Subaru at all for competing with a vehicle that is double to triple the price.


I used to own a manual 2002 Subaru Impreza WRX and loved it but that doesn't mean I can't still be worried about a car that weights as much as the Ascent being pulled by a 4 cyl turbo. Especially once I load the car up with kids, dog, luggage, and a bike rack for 4 bikes. Granted I prefer having the turbo over a flat 6 as the turbo doesn't have less power at altitude.
 

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turbo doesn't have less power at altitude.
Bingo!

Honestly, when I first saw the pictures of the first one, before we ever knew anything at all about what was under the hood, I was hoping for a turbo 6. But one thing to keep in mind as well is - and note that I'm not recommending this - but it does appear from discussion that it might be possible to put in a COBB access port. And we all know what happens when people do that.

(And back on the Rover thing - on our own website from our Rover store, under drivetrain, it says 4WD ... I'll call over there tomorrow and bug one of my friends that works there about it. And one other minor detail - until we split apart 3 years ago, we used to BE a Rover/Subaru store ... Now we're a stand alone Subaru store, and they're JLM - Jaguar, Land Rover, Maserati.)
 

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Bingo!

Honestly, when I first saw the pictures of the first one, before we ever knew anything at all about what was under the hood, I was hoping for a turbo 6. But one thing to keep in mind as well is - and note that I'm not recommending this - but it does appear from discussion that it might be possible to put in a COBB access port. And we all know what happens when people do that.

(And back on the Rover thing - on our own website from our Rover store, under drivetrain, it says 4WD ... I'll call over there tomorrow and bug one of my friends that works there about it. And one other minor detail - until we split apart 3 years ago, we used to BE a Rover/Subaru store ... Now we're a stand alone Subaru store, and they're JLM - Jaguar, Land Rover, Maserati.)
A Turbo 6 would have been ridiculous!!! Especially as the competing vehicle for me was the Explorer Sport (Twin Turbo V6) because I like to drive with a lead foot.


I think one of the things that has changed in recent years for AWD and 4WD is the question of is it on all the time. The Rover system is now on all the time just like a Jeep Grand Cherokee and they consider that to be AWD as the driver doesn't have to do anything and having it on while driving on dry pavement won't ruin the system. But the lines are really starting to blur. Either way Subaru has a fantastic AWD system
 

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Discussion Starter #11
What is the torque split in Ascent, I saw 80/20 and 90/10 front biased figures, can someone confirm?
 

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I am no expert but I am assuming this uses the same system as Subaru's other recent CVT-equipped offerings which would put the split at 60/40 if my research is accurate.
From my understanding this is the case with everything being equal but the power is moved around as soon as you start moving to make sure you have the most grip.
 

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Rover isn't AWD, it's 4WD. Yes, there is a difference. It may not seem like much, but it's there. (Audi is also AWD.)

If you'll notice, ALL of our cars have less power than competitors. But because of the horizontal opposed engine design going directly into the high-torque CVT, we'll get more of that power to the ground than a conventional V-shaped or straight block. We already make a 2.0l and 2.5l turbo that do very well. Seriously, if you haven't had a chance to drive a turbo Forester, do so. That thing will shock the heck out of you with how much power it has. That's why I don't mind someone coming in to comparison shop us.
Another point I think many are glossing over is the torque behavior of the Ascent engine. While it does indeed have less horsepower than its two main rivals (Highlander, Pilot), it has more torque. Also, it reaches peak torque at 2000RPM while the others I mention reach peak at 4700RPM. In a large'ish family mover like the Ascent, I would much rather have the former over the latter. This is of course very simplified as I have not looked at the actual torque curve of the Honda and Toyota engines.

I can also see how the Ascent may struggle a little in the upper ranges of RPM which so far has been mirrored in the Motor Trend review. They mentioned it lacked passing power.
 

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From my understanding this is the case with everything being equal but the power is moved around as soon as you start moving to make sure you have the most grip.
The 60/40 figure comes from what I saw referred to as "normal driving conditions". I can't speak to how power distribution changes as traction loss is detected. I would be very curious to know myself.
 

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The 60/40 figure comes from what I saw referred to as "normal driving conditions". I can't speak to how power distribution changes as traction loss is detected. I would be very curious to know myself.

Or 55/45 or 45/55 (the VTD system is front/rear 45/55 split), depending on what driveline combination. But yes, those are generally the figures for all new Subaru AWD cars, except the manuals, which are 50/50 default for the single viscous coupling versions, and 41/59 (rear biased) for the VTD with DCCD system (the VTD with DCCD system can be locked at 50/50).

Based on the "roller tests" and some "off road" and "off road simulation" tests, it seems that a Subaru can shift power to any one wheel. I'd heard figures of "up to 80%", but, considering Subaru actually makes at least four different AWD setups, I'm not sure what the differences are across the four.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
According to this:
and under "2019 Subaru Ascent Details and mechanical specifications" section it states:
All wheel drive
Active torque split all wheel drive
Electronically controlled front back power split (90/10)

So I'm curious, will it still have any advantage over other front wheel biased AWD systems?
 

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According to this:
and under "2019 Subaru Ascent Details and mechanical specifications" section it states:
All wheel drive
Active torque split all wheel drive
Electronically controlled front back power split (90/10)

So I'm curious, will it still have any advantage over other front wheel biased AWD systems?
That's quite very possibly incorrect and based on ancient information. I've seen that touted over and over and over again, there and elsewhere. Subaru stopped making the 90/10 splits a long time ago. There's a reason their "new" (2009+) systems are called "full time symmetrical AWD".

Here's 2012, a few years after they dropped the 90/10 split:
Here's the newest from Subaru Global, shows pretty much the same thing, even though perhaps not as detailed:

Read this one... it shows the 90/10, which was replaced with 80/20 in 1996 and 60/40 in 2009+

 

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I checked out the Ascent at the Baltimore Auto show and compared it to a bunch of vehicles and it came out on top.


Chevy Traverse Highcountry - Great interior but some things really feel cheap. A bit larger than my wife wanted and to get the safety gear you have to get a top of the line model which is pricey at 55K maybe 48K with discounts.


Ford Explorer Sport - We actually liked this vehicle a lot and it was second on our list. They changed the dash so the front seat had more room. Tons of power a I would have bought the V6 twin turbo. Downside being it has been out a long time and is due for a refresh. Carbon Monoxide leaking is also a concern. AWD system that really isn't meant for more than a couple inches of snow if that.


VW Atlas - This is huge inside but at the same time drives like a tank. seats are comfy and I felt it had a bit more room in the third row although only two seats. Eliminated as my wife didn't like the feel and I keep hearing about issues with the digital cockpit flaking out which really worried me.


Dodge Durango - Dated design makes it harder to use than newer offerings. Fantastic V8 but really thirsty for fuel.


Audi Q7 - Third row is so tight my kids couldn't fit back there and zero storage in the car for items like flashlights or anything else you keep in the car.


Ford Expedition - To me honest I still love this car but the high price really eliminated it. I just can't justify spending around 65K on a car when something in the 45K range fits my needs.


Toyota Highlander - No Android Auto so we didn't even look.


Now here is why we are getting the Ascent. Nice usable interior with nice storage and the seats felt really comfortable. Third row is usable for adults although I think me being 5' 11" is the largest that could fit as I had to duck my head a half an inch or so. Lower door sills that are really easy to get in and out of for kids or elderly adults. Lower front dash than other cars which makes it easier to see out. Eye sight safety system which is considered top notch and includes lane keep and radar cruise control. Subaru AWD which is one of the best you can get maybe second behind Land Rover.


What I'm worried about with the car is the new engine and the fact it has less power than the competitors but it at least makes up for it with amazing MPG. I'm also a little worried about the CVT as I wonder how it will hold up to hauling around all that weight especially when loaded up. I also wish I could get the bench in the second row in the Touring but I can deal with not having it.


Sorry lots of information but I keep a car for 10+ years normally so I put a lot of research in before making a decision and these are just the basic notes.
I am going to be coming out of a lease on a BMW fully loaded X3. I feel my needs have changed in the car world. While I do not need the third row, I do want the storage space associated with it. I spend a lot more time fishing these days and having something a little bigger will make carrying fishing rods inside a little more comfortable.

I have been looking into many of the same cars you are. I crossed the Atlas off as I just cannot trust that brand. I am pretty much down to the Honda Pilot Elite or the Ascent.
 

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I am going to be coming out of a lease on a BMW fully loaded X3. I feel my needs have changed in the car world. While I do not need the third row, I do want the storage space associated with it. I spend a lot more time fishing these days and having something a little bigger will make carrying fishing rods inside a little more comfortable.

I have been looking into many of the same cars you are. I crossed the Atlas off as I just cannot trust that brand. I am pretty much down to the Honda Pilot Elite or the Ascent.
Our household also does not trust the VW brand from personal experience. As we were navigating our auto show we ended up very close to VW and the Atlas despite not intentionally seeking their display. It does a lot of things right. While others are likely to disagree, I think it's a nice looking vehicle. The interior is very nice and feels more spacious than the Ascent.

I don't lease my cars but at the same time I like keeping my options as open as they can be. From my experience, if you're going to purchase a VW you better be prepared to stay with it because the depreciation is significant; especially when compared to others like Toyota, Honda and Subaru. The new VW super-warranty is supposed to quell confidence issues with their brand but that's for someone other than me to figure out.

That aside, I was surprised to hear how poor the fuel economy is on the Atlas VR6 4Motion compared to similar vehicles with similar output.
 
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