New York Auto Show: Subaru Ascents Toward Large SUV Status

April 12, 2017 by Carly Schaffner

Subaru introduced its Ascent large SUV design concept today at the New York International Auto show, a move that will pave the way for the production version.

The Ascent is a close relative to the VIZIV-7 three-row SUV concept the automaker revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show last year. Subaru alluded to adding a large utility vehicle to its lineup based on VIZIV-7, and the Ascent debut confirms its moniker.

The production Ascent will feature an all-new turbocharged direct injection boxer engine, and will be based on a modified version of the Subaru Global Platform that debuted last year.

Subaru Ascent SUV concept

Subaru Ascent SUV concept. (Photo: Subaru)

While the VIZIV-7 established the brand’s intention to enter the three-row category, the Ascent concept shows off the extra roomy interior of the large SUV.

“This thing is huge,” said Tom Doll, president and chief operating officer for Subaru.

The rear seats of the 7-passenger SUV offer comfort and utility. The second-row area is split by two captain’s chairs that enhance the space and versatility. A full third row accommodates three adults comfortably.

Subaru did not give specific dimensions for rear cargo space, but said there would be “tons of storage room and flexibility for all [types of] daily adventures.”

The cockpit also features a distinctive design that the automaker said will be intuitive and user friendly. The SUV will have the latest in technology features for safety and convenience.  In true Subaru fashion, the large panoramic moonroof promises to “keep passengers connected with the outdoors.”

The Ascent reveal tops off a year of utility vehicle introductions for Subaru.

Subaru Ascent SUV concept

Subaru Ascent SUV concept. (Photo: Subaru)

Earlier this week, Subaru debuted 2018 Outback with upgrades it says will provide a smoother, quieter ride. The company also focused on enhanced comfort and luxury with new interior materials and design accents. Several standard safety features have been upgraded or introduced as new equipment.

Subaru also showed off its all-new Crosstrek compact SUV, which is a smidge larger than the outgoing model and reflects the new design language. It is also the second vehicle to be built on the Subaru Global Platform.

The Outback is Subaru’s best-selling vehicle. Outback sales rose 14.2 percent through the first three months of 2017 compared with the same period in 2016, according to Autodata Corp., an industry research firm.

Crosstrek sales have surpassed 20,000 so far this year, but year-over-year growth of the smaller utility vehicle is flat.

Subaru sales rose 11.3 percent in March, and have grown by 9 percent through the first three months of 2017 compared with the same period in 2016. The brands growth has come at a time when overall U.S. auto sales have dipped 1.5 percent.

Related: New York Auto Show: Refreshed 2018 Subaru Outback Takes Premium Approach

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