Subaru’s last attempt to build a seven-seater, the 2005-2014 Tribeca, didn’t go over so well. No surprise, then, the new 2019 Subaru Ascent looks rather like the oversized lovechild of an Outback and a Forester. There’s plenty here to please Subaru purists: a 260-hp turbocharged boxer four set low in the engine bay, standard all-wheel drive, the EyeSight safety suite, and a massive cargo bay. Ride and handling are remarkably good, particularly for a vehicle this tall, and a 5,000-pound towing capacity enables adventure-minded buyers to haul the gear they need.
“The 2019 Subaru Ascent feels nicely planted, handling the curvy roads near Coastal Oregon, some 50 miles south of Portland—where Outbacks are as common as Ford F-150s elsewhere in the country—without giving up comfort over uneven road surfaces,” noted Detroit editor Todd Lassa in his first drive of the 2019 Ascent. “Its steering precision and feel is exceptional.”
The Ascent’s mission is to give family-minded Impreza, Forester, and Outback buyers a larger alternative. Mission accomplished.
On sale: Now
Base price: $32,970
2020 Subaru WRX/STI
The new Impreza hit the road in 2017, and if history is any indicator, we should see the WRX and STI migrate to the new platform for the 2020 model year. But what form will they take? The Viziv concept, revealed at the 2018 Geneva auto show, gives us some idea of the styling direction, and radical changes under the hood are likely. Subaru’s top engineering brass have said the STI’s turbo engine won’t hit upcoming emissions targets and that hybrid powertrains are the future—even for the STI. With the new Impreza’s modular architecture designed expressly to accommodate a hybrid powertrain, it’s likely the next STI could feature a downsized engine with an electric motor providing additional thrust. In the short term, the 2019 STI gets a 5-hp bump to 310 hp (same as last year’s STI RA), along with an updated infotainment system shared with the WRX. Both cars will be offered in a limited edition Series.Gray. There’s also a price bump: The 2019 WRX lists for $28,080, and the STI goes for $37,480.
On sale: Late 2019
Base price: $40,000 (est) (STI)