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Subaru US goes big: Ascent’s accent on three-row space

  • Only for US for now – but SA possible
  • Subaru goes bigger for American families
  • Includes Subaru’s excellent all-wheel drive
2018 SUBARU ASCENT: Three rows of seats and luxury spec for US market - and maybe South Africa. Image: Subaru US / Quickpic
2018 SUBARU ASCENT: Three rows of seats and luxury spec for US market – and maybe South Africa. Image: Subaru US / Quickpic

TOKYO, Japan – Subaru has debuted a three-row SUV for the North American market (though Subaru SA says it might import RHD if made) at the 2017 Los Angeles auto show.

It’s badged Subaru Ascent – which for sure, here in South Africa, would elict the query “…but I thought that was an Hyundai?” – and a host of opportunities for cheeky sub-editors to write unfortunate punny headlines. Sorry, couldn’t help it…

2018 SUBARU ASCENT: Three rows of seats and luxury spec for US market - and maybe South Africa. Image: Subaru US / Quickpic
2018 SUBARU ASCENT: Three rows of seats and luxury spec for US market – and maybe South Africa. Image: Subaru US / Quickpic

You’ll get no uphill with an Ascent!
Downside data on Hyundai Ascent
and, in later years, perhaps…
Is Hyundai’s Ascent getting over the hill?
(more suggestions welcome, mail to thecarmansa@gmail.com).

‘AMPLE ROOM INSIDE’

Subaru North America says the “three-row mid-size” SUV has been designed “for active families on the go” though it’s built on a Subaru global platform and is said to be the largest vehicle in the Subaru line-up and can be delivered as a seven- or eight-seater.

Both are said to have “ample interior space”.

The, er, accent is on an excellent balance between engine size and power using a turbocharged Boxer four-cylinder 2.4-litre direct-injection engine which the automaker tags as “having the drivability and fuel consumption equal to or better than that of six-cylinder engines”.

2018 SUBARU ASCENT: Three rows of seats and luxury spec for US market - and maybe South Africa. Image: Subaru US / Quickpic
2018 SUBARU ASCENT: Three rows of seats and luxury spec for US market – and maybe South Africa. Image: Subaru US / Quickpic

As with all Subarus, the drivetrain will be hooked to the brand’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and X-Mode for “the optimal blend of drivability and SUV capability”. It will be assembled in the US and reach showrooms some time in the middle of 2018 with “comfortable” Row 3 accommodation. Steps and grips supplied…

The tail door will have power operation.

2018 SUBARU ASCENT: Three rows of seats and luxury spec for US market - and maybe South Africa. Image: Subaru US / Quickpic
2018 SUBARU ASCENT: Three rows of seats and luxury spec for US market – and maybe South Africa. Image: Subaru US / Quickpic

The seven-passenger configuration uses two ‘captain’ seats in Row 2 for the first time in a Subaru to leave space to access Row 3. A three-abreast second-row is, however, standard in the eight-passenger configuration. Seat reclining is included.

READ MORE Subaru features on Carman’s Corner

Standard equipment in the US models will include a sunroof, sunshades, auto aircon and (another first for a Scooby) front seats with ventilated squabs. USB ports, we are told, will be abundant, and paddle-shifts will be included.

2018 SUBARU ASCENT: Three rows of seats and luxury spec for US market - and maybe South Africa. Image: Subaru US / Quickpic
2018 SUBARU ASCENT: Three rows of seats and luxury spec for US market – and maybe South Africa. Image: Subaru US / Quickpic

Gradient-descent control and 220mm of ground clearance with ample approach and departure angles and ramp breakover are built into the chassis and the Ascent will be rated to haul 2.5 metric tons – best-yet for a Subaru, we’re told.

CAMERAS AND BAGS

A battery of cameras around the car gives the driver all-round visibility but should things go wrong anyway even Row 3 passengers have crash-bag coverage: the balloons include driver and front passenger, driver’s knees, and side and side curtain bags to a total of seven.

Keen? Then go nag your local dealer.

2018 SUBARU ASCENT: Three rows of seats and luxury spec for US market - and maybe South Africa. Image: Subaru US / Quickpic
2018 SUBARU ASCENT: Three rows of seats and luxury spec for US market – and maybe South Africa. Image: Subaru US / Quickpic

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