NEW YORK – Subaru's been out of the large SUV game since the 2014 discontinuation of the Tribeca. Not since the Edsel had a vehicle been so maligned by the automotive press – at its 2009 debut it was likened to the "south-bound end of a north-bound moose". Ouch.
But there's a strong market for full-size crossovers, and Subaru wasn't about to miss out on those looking to move up from their wagon. Subaru CEO Yasuyuki Yoshinaga said he doesn't believe the Ascent will be a conquest vehicle, enticing Dodge Durango and Ford Explorers away, but helps retain loyal Subaru customers who have need for more room.
Making its world debut today at the New York Auto Show, the Ascent is a near-production concept, but Subaru has confirmed that it will arrive sometime next year. Built on a modified version of Subaru's new Global platform, the architecture that will underpin every future Subaru from now until 2025.
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Following Subaru's "Dynamic x Solid" design language, the Ascent has a strong presence, with bulky shoulders, aggressive lines and a large grille. Formerly called the Viziv-7, the Ascent is a genuine three-row, seven-passenger vehicle with available second-row captain's chairs.
It appears to be a premium environment, a sweeping, wraparound design featuring quality stitched leather, soft touch materials, a sleek centre console with large touchscreen, simple HVAC knobs and a BMW-like shifter, and large digital gauges with centre TFT display. The concept has what appear to be touchpad seat controls on the armrests – but it's doubtful those will make it to production.
The Global platform was lengthened by nine inches to give the Ascent a 117 inch wheelbase. Width is 78.3 inches and height is 72.4.
Built in Lafayette, Indiana, the Ascent should arrive sometime in 2018.