In what was probably a wise move, Subaru didn't deviate from the familiar silhouettes of the brand's popular Forester and Outback when styling the Ascent. From afar, this big-boy Subie looks more like an Outback than anything else, even though the Ascent's 196-inch shadow is a good size longer than its comparatively-diminutive sibling.
Of course, Subaru didn't just up-size their smaller offerings to make their three-row crossover. There's a number of unique details here, such as dramatically squared-up fenders, a larger and more upright trapezoidal grille, and a hatch that's noticeably more erect and SUV-like than the Outback's sloping rear door.
One look at the interior and any comparisons to Outbacks or Foresters fall apart. It's clear Subaru has gone decidedly upscale with the Ascent, with higher-spec models in particular offering luxury amenities aplenty. Features such as contrasting-stitching leather upholstery, heated seats for the front two rows, tri-zone climate control, and an 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen all are present and accounted for on at least two of the four Ascent trim levels. If one pulls out all the stops on the ordering sheet, there's also a 14-speaker Harmon-Kardon stereo, panoramic moonroof, and rear-seat entertainment system.
All these doohickies and gizmos are nestled in a cabin that's well laid out and crafted with quality materials. It's attractive, functional, and well-assembled, and should please buyers of all stripes. There's plenty of room as well: 47.5 cubic feet of cargo room with the third row folded, and up to 86.5 cubic feet with the second row lowered. Second-row occupants enjoy 41.5 inches of head room and 38.5 inches of leg room, both dimensions bettering what the Chevy Transverse and Toyota Highlander can boast.