Subaru Ascent Concept Previews Brand's Next 3-Row Crossover

Dan Ilika
by Dan Ilika

Subaru is gearing up to get back into the three-row crossover segment, and it’s doing so exclusively in the North American market.

Slated to be badged as the Subaru Ascent, the successor to the B9 Tribeca was previewed at the New York Auto Show in concept form, showcasing a modern and rugged design that belies its stature.

Subaru says the burly CUV will be sold exclusively in North America. The automaker currently sells a three-row vehicle in other parts of the world, dubbed the Exiga, though it’s more of a wagon than a crossover. Power in the Ascent will come from an all-new turbocharged boxer engine, though Subaru didn’t announce specifics in terms of displacement or output.

Stretching 198.8 inches (5,050 millimeters) from bumper to bumper, the Ascent Concept — and, in all likelihood, the pending production version — is about the same length as the Ford Explorer while riding on a wheelbase that’s more than four inches (107 mm) longer. The result is shorter overhangs front and rear that give the Ascent Concept a more aggressive stance than something like the Explorer.

2017 New York Auto Show Coverage

Literally standing in contrast to that Explorer-like length is the Ascent Concept’s overall height, which is listed at 72.4 inches (1,839 mm) compared to the Ford’s 70 inches (1,778 mm). In fairness, some of that additional height could be attributed to wheel and tire size, though it does indicate that Subaru is after a high-riding look and feel to the Ascent.

When it comes to the interior, Subaru didn’t provide any measurements, though it’s easy to imagine passenger and cargo room in line with the Explorer. In terms of design, the concept’s cabin is handsome if a little impractical, with aesthetics taking precedence over practicality. Expect items like the touch-sensitive climate, window and door lock controls to be replaced with proper buttons and switches in the production version.

It’s rare that an automaker would proffer so many specific details about a concept, indicating that the Ascent is almost production-ready. Spy photographers have captured plenty of shots of the Ascent testing on U.S. soil, including as recently as last month. Subaru says the Ascent will be built at its plant in Indiana and will be sold exclusively in the North American market.

Discuss this story on our Subaru Ascent Forum

Dan Ilika
Dan Ilika

Dan is's Road Test Editor, a long-suffering Buffalo Bills fan, and a car guy since childhood. He enjoys long walks on the beach and long drives just about anywhere the road, track or trail will take him. You'll see him driving around evaluating cars and in front of a camera talking about them. Dan is a member of the World Car of the Year jury.

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