2019 Subaru Ascent

Interior


MSRP
$31,995
U.S. News Best Price Program

2019 Subaru Ascent Interior Review

Scorecard

Interior: 7.9

The 2019 Subaru Ascent is all-new, and it's the company's only 3-row SUV currently for sale. The cabin uses plenty of high-quality materials, but some of its design quirks (like its many center-stack buttons) make it look less modern than rival interiors. The cargo hold and first two rows of seats are spacious, but the third row is a bit cramped for adults – a common complaint about 3-row SUVs. There are plenty of tech features, including several driver assistance options.

  • You could argue the Ascent looks a little dated already, with its button-happy center console, large shifter mechanism, and generic dashboard layout. But Subaru put the focus on functionality, even when it comes to the wide and comfortable seats." -- Motor Trend
  • "The interiors are rather warm and inviting, premium enough for a commodity brand. Imitation wood accents, when used, looks fairly convincing, and the Ascent Premium has heated cloth seats and imitation carbon-fiber interior accents, the latter in an odd (quirky?) cream color." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The Ascent isn't exactly plush, but it's far from spartan. Materials are high-quality and appealing, making them perfectly suited to an active lifestyle with mud, dirt, and kids. You can enjoy the Ascent without worrying about ruining an overly done interior." -- Boston Globe

Seating

The Ascent seats eight in its standard configuration and seven if you opt for the second-row captain's chairs. Cloth upholstery comes standard. Stain-resistant cloth upholstery, leather upholstery, power-adjustable front seats, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, and a heated steering wheel are available.

Large doors and a low step-in height make climbing in and out of the Ascent easy. The front seats provide plenty of space, and driver visibility is decent in all directions. The first two rows are comfortable, particularly if you opt for the second-row captain's chairs. Like many 3-row SUVs, the back row is a better fit for children.

For securing child safety seats, there are three complete sets of LATCH connectors for the Ascent’s second-row outboard seats and the third-row driver's-side seat. The second-row middle seat has one lower anchor, and it has the ability to borrow from an adjacent seat. For ease of use, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the system the highest rating of Good+.

  • "The door openings are wide, and the seats slide forward enough to make getting in and out of the third row less cumbersome for adults. Two can sit comfortably in the third row with plenty of room for heads and knees, but three is a stretch. Anything but a short trip won't be pleasant for three adults in the third row. Seating in the first and second rows is spacious and comfortable, though." -- Boston Globe
  • Technically, you can stuff eight people into the Ascent. However, as is true of most 3-row crossover SUVs, six people are going to be happiest unless the extras are children. Small ones. We're talking tiny." -- New York Daily News
  • "Riding to your destination in the Ascent is also pretty comfortable, especially in the front and captain's chairs." -- Jalopnik

Interior Features

Standard features in the Ascent include tri-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, four USB ports, a six-speaker audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio, and the Starlink infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 6.5-inch touch screen. Standard driver assistance features include a rearview camera, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and pre-collision braking. Some of these features are part of Subaru's EyeSight suite of active safety technology.

Available features include a panoramic moonroof, a Wi-Fi hot spot, four additional USB ports, a 14-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, and an upgraded Starlink system with an 8-inch touch screen and navigation. Available driver assistance features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane change assist, reverse automatic braking, automatic high beams, and a surround-view camera.

The Ascent's tech features make life easier for the driver. The controls and gauges are all easy to see and reach, and the infotainment system layouts are intuitive. The touch screen is easy to use as well, though some people may find the standard 6.5-inch screen a bit small. There are plenty of driver assistance features as well, and unlike in some vehicles, you can turn them off if you don't like them.

See 2019 Subaru Ascent specs »

  • I'd spend the extra coin and upgrade to the 8-inch system. With the aforementioned smartphone integration, there's really no need to get navigation, but the 14-speaker Harman Kardon audio upgrade is nice. The Subaru comes with a panoply of pre-installed apps like iHeartRadio, Yelp and Subaru's own eBird, crowdsourced bird-watching app. Only in a Subaru." -- CNET
  • "We found the audio and climate systems to be quite straightforward and easy to use." -- Consumer Guide
  • "From the driver's seat, the Ascent's packaging continues to display Subaru's pragmatic philosophy to car design. All the gauges are easy to see and read at a glance, knobs and buttons are easy to locate — both those of the software-based touchscreen infotainment system and the physical ones on the steering wheel and center stack." -- Autoblog

Cargo

The Ascent provides 47.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the third-row seats folded and 86.5 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded (slightly less in models equipped with a moonroof). Those are good totals for the class. A power liftgate is available, and it allows you to adjust the hatch's height in case you're in a parking structure with low overhead clearance.

  • "The underfloor storage compartment in the cargo area behind the third row is clever in that its lid can be Velcroed to the back of the third-row seat to hold it open, and the compartment can accommodate the removable cargo shade when it's not in use so it doesn't take up room in your garage." -- Car and Driver
  • "In back, the cargo area is quite tall and very spacious; Subaru claims cargo room is near the top of the class. The second- and third row seat backs fold nearly level with the cargo floor, the slight 'step' to the third row being covered with a cloth ramp. There's also a wide storage bin under the cargo floor, and the available cargo cover – which telescopes a bit – can be 'compressed' to fit into the bin ... a great convenience." -- Consumer Guide
  • "That spacious cabin also provides lots of room for cargo. There's up to 17.8 cubic feet behind the third row. … A wide liftgate opening gives more flexibility for loading large, bulky items, and a low load floor makes heavy items less of a chore. One last bit of cargo flexibility comes from the standard roof rack." -- Boston Globe
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2019 Subaru Ascent

MSRP: $31,995 - $44,695

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