2020 Subaru Ascent Touring Review – Our Favorite Turbocharged Three-Row Crossover

By Steve & Tamami Laser

We’ve tested lots of Subaru models over the years, including the XV Crosstrek, Forester, Legacy, Outback 3.6R, Impreza, Baja, and even a right-hand-drive WRX. We also leased our own Outback Limited for three years, followed by our latest long-term Forester Touring that we’ve had for 18 months. It’s no secret that we’re fond of Subarus. And we’re falling in love all over again with the 2020 Ascent.

After our recent week-long test of the new 2020 Outback Onyx Edition XT, Subaru let us borrow the top-line 2020 Ascent Touring. We liked it so much that we’re thinking about buying or leasing an Ascent next year. Ascent delivers abundant cargo space, seating for seven or eight passengers, and all the virtues of other Subaru models.

This test-drive video from our CarNichiWa.com YouTube channel highlights our week in the 2020 Subaru Ascent Touring, and offers a quick look at some of its key features.

Ascent is a three-row crossover that Subaru added to its lineup last year. On the outside, it looks like a larger version of the Outback, especially at the front, with a big, hexagonal grille and C-shaped headlights.

The side view reveals a much larger vehicle that rides on a 113.8-inch wheelbase, about five inches longer than the Outback’s. Ascent is also wider and taller, yet it’s easy to drive and park. The rear view highlights its sporty good looks, wide stance, lower body cladding and large tailgate.

We liked Ascent’s smooth and well-controlled ride that reminded us of some luxury brand crossovers that we’ve driven. Our test Ascent rides on good-looking 20-inch Dark Gray alloy wheels with machine finish, wrapped with 245/50R20 Falken Ziex ZE001 all-season tires.

Under the hood is a turbocharged 2.4-liter 4-cylinder Subaru Boxer engine that puts out a healthy 260 horsepower and 277 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s the same engine that we enjoyed in the Outback Onyx Edition XT. There’s excellent power on tap for climbing hills, merging onto freeways, and passing slower moving traffic. The turbo engine is standard on all Ascent models for 2020, including the base, Premium, Limited and Touring.

Our second video delivers a Walkaround of the 2020 Ascent Touring, including a closer look at the exterior, interior, cargo compartment, engine bay, and underneath.

Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system with Active Torque Vectoring is standard on all Ascents. It provides an added sense of security on wet roads, and also delivers traction-enhancing benefits on completely dry roads. X-Mode, Hill Descent Control, 8.7-inches of ground clearance and a maximum 5,000-pound towing rating is also included.

The Boxer engine is teamed with a Lineartronic® High-Torque Continuously Variable Transmission (HCVT) with Adaptive Control, “8-speed” manual shift mode, and paddle shifters. We used the paddle shifters every day when going up and down the steep hills in our neighborhood.

Our Ascent Touring tester featured comfortable seats finished with Java Brown perforated leather-trimmed upholstery. There’s a 10-way power driver’s seat with memory, 4-way power front passenger’s seat, and both seats are heated and ventilated for four-season comfort.

As a seven-passenger model, Ascent Touring has second-row Captain’s Chairs that slide forward for easy access to the third row. Also standard is a large panoramic power moonroof. The glass panel over the front seats opens for increased ventilation, while the rear panel is fixed and brings extra light into the cabin for passengers.

The third-row seat offers room for three passengers. It’s a 60/40-split design that makes it easy to transport different combos of passengers and cargo. We should also mention that this Ascent has a total of 19 cupholders for added convenience on-the-go.

Access to the cargo compartment is easy thanks to a power tailgate that can be opened remotely. With the second and third rows folded, there’s an amazing 86.0 cu. ft. of space for cargo. The above photo highlights Ascent’s cargo carrying flexibility. We loaded a surfboard and gear, and there’s still room for four passengers.

We felt right at home behind the wheel of the Ascent, since the dash layout and design is very similar to our Forester. Yet the cabin is wider, and we sit up higher in the Ascent. There’s a combination meter in the instrument cluster, a multi-function display on top of the dash, and a touchscreen in the center.

The Starlink® multimedia navigation system is easy to use and its 8.0-inch touchscreen is bright and easy to see. Touring’s standard system has voice-activated navigation powered by TomTom, SiriusXM® Traffic and Travel Link, Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™, Harman Kardon® Quantum Logic Surround Sound audio with 14 speakers, and 4G LTE Wi-Fi capability.

We pressed the voice control button on the steering wheel to “find restaurant” and the system displayed a list of the ones nearby. We made a selection, and the navi system provided turn-by-turn directions. We also used it to “find hotel” and “find gas station.”

Ascent Touring is equipped with Subaru’s EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology safety systems. Features include Automatic Pre-Collision Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure and Sway Warning, Pre-Collision Throttle Management, Blind-Spot Detection, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Reverse Automatic Braking, Rear-Vision Camera, and 180-degree Front-View Monitor.

The MSRP for our 2020 Ascent Touring started out at $45,045. Adding destination and delivery brought the bottom line to $46,055. Ascent prices start at $31,995 for the base model that includes the turbo engine, All-Wheel Drive, 8-passenger seating and EyeSight® safety features.

After driving the Ascent for a week, we liked it so much that it’s a top choice for our next car. The only thing that we would change is to opt for a different trim level, like the Limited, that offers a bench seat for the second row. That configuration works best since we like to take our dogs along for the ride and the extra seating space keeps them happy.

For more information on the Ascent visit Subaru.com

Ascent press fleet vehicle reviewed in this story is provided by Subaru of America, Inc. MSRPs and vehicle information applies to U.S. market models at the time of posting. All product information, including prices, features and specifications, is subject to change without notice.

Story, photos and videos © 2020 CarNichiWa.com