Skip to main content

For every automaker, a new vehicle is always an extreme risk. A vehicle will either do well or it will not. And some automakers just don’t get it right on the first try. Subaru’s first attempt at a third-row SUV didn’t hit the mark. But is Subaru’s second attempt any better? Is the new 2020 Subaru Ascent the family crossover you need?

Subaru tries to move forward following a failure

Known for its generally reliable, high-quality, and safe vehicles, Subaru’s loyal following never saw the brand venture into larger vehicles. But for the 2006 model year, it introduced its first try.

And according to the Detroit Free Press, “Subaru’s unfortunate first attempt at building a three-row, the bafflingly named and generally appalling 2006-14 B9 Tribeca,” didn’t earn favoritism. According to Torque News, the Tribeca could not compete in the segment and had a variety of problems the meant people simply didn’t buy it.

Not only was the Tribeca limited in cargo space and third-row room, but it had poor fuel economy ratings, low tow capacities, and outdated design. Subaru needed to start over, and they did it with the brand-new Ascent.

Moving forward: the Ascent replaces the Tribeca

Subaru knew if it was going to give it a go at another three-row SUV, it would have to start from scratch. The COO of Subaru stated that the “Tribeca was too small, it was underpowered, and its styling was too different from the rest of the Subaru lineup,” according to Torque News.

Keeping with family tradition, the design of the 2019 Ascent matched the rest of the Subaru crossover lineup. The Ascent’s design is larger all-around, with larger cargo and passenger space. The seven-seater grows in size, as well as performance.

The 2019 Ascent premiered with an all-new turbocharged engine and increased tow ratings. The newest Ascent boasts a towing capacity of 5,000 lbs, according to Subaru. But was the redesign worth it? And will it become a fan favorite?

The 2020 Subaru Ascent: is it the crossover we’ve been waiting for?

It seems the Subaru Ascent is able to erase all memories of the Tribeca SUV because people are buying it. The sales numbers seen at CarSalesBase show that in 2018, Subaru sold a total of 36,211 Ascents.

But in 2019, nearly 82,000 Ascents were sold. In comparison to the B9 Tribeca, these numbers appear to be a win. According to Automotive News, within its first year of production, nearly 70,000 Ascents were sold. But in its last year of production, the Tribeca sold just 76,000. Not bad for the Subaru Ascent’s debut.

Consumer Reports gives the 2020 Ascent a good overall score of 82 and ranks it as sixth among midsized SUVs. It received an impressive road test score of 93 (out of 100), with impressive all-around performance.

But the Ascent isn’t without its flaws. The folks at Car Gurus say that the 2020 Subaru Ascent is “an appealing, family-size SUV charged with retaining existing customers and bringing new ones into the fold,” which seems to lack in a few areas.

Real-world fuel efficiency could be better and the drive isn’t always smooth. Even though Subaru increased the space in the Ascent, it still doesn’t seem to stack up to the roominess of competitors’.

The general reception of the Subaru Ascent seems to be cool. U.S. News ranks it as tenth in midsize SUVs, as well as SUVs with three rows and twenty-first in crossover SUVs. While it receives an unsurprisingly-high score of 9.8 (out of 10) in safety, it receives mediocre scores of 7.9 for its interior, 7.8 by the critics, and 7.3 in performance. It appears only time can tell whether the Ascent is a win for Subaru.