B9 Tribeca was Subaru’s view on mid-size SUV segment. When introduced in 2005 it was just too weird looking, and sales confirmed that. Japanese quickly tried to mend the things and only two years later we had a facelift when odd appearance turn to dull one and even the name was changed by dropping B9 prefix. That hasn’t changed anything as sales start to drop significantly and that was it from Subaru and large SUVs.
Since in the last years brand is experiencing unseen level of sales in the US, it would be natural to ignite old ideas, so 2018 Subaru Ascent is on the way, to erase bitter taste left by Tribeca.
2018 Subaru Ascent STYLING
We were all excited when Subaru launched Viziv-7 concept, which was there to preview future mid-size crossover. The concept was not revolutionary in its design, but it was muscular, imposing and powerful in some strong way. Prepare to be disappointed as spy photos reveal that not much is carried over from it to a new vehicle. It is masked, but we see that it could easily appear as brand’s model that debuted five years ago.
We have nothing of concept’s imposing fascia, but instead, we have a smaller grille, headlights which are evidently not in full LED configuration and an incredibly less exciting area around fog lamps. All macho stance was lost on the side, as fenders are not pronounced at all and aggressively raising waist line near the end is non-existing, while it appears as plain as Forester is.
Grand Cherokee styled rear end is also absent, tail lights are differently shaped, we are afraid again in more plain manner and repeatedly in resemblance to Forester. All these visual ties to Forester suggest that we are going to witness elevated estate more than proper looking SUV from Subaru once more.
We have nothing on the cabin, as far as photos go, and while concept suggested that we are going to witness some more exciting things from the brand, it is all under a big question mark, considering what was done on the outside. It will probably turn out to be another plain looking one, trying to buy you with space and quality. Ascent will come with third row sitting as standard and as size suggest it would be generous in space, but you decide whether that is enough.
2018 Subaru Ascent UNDER THE HOOD
Upcoming SUV will use new platform that debuted with latest Impreza, and it will lean heavily on high strength steel while boxer engine is about to be mounted quite low. That means that it will drive great, pretty much as all other models in the lineup, while it will definitely use 2.0-liter turbocharged I4 delivering 241 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque from Forester.
It obviously needs V6 for US market, so expect flat 3.6-liter one, that once made 260 hp in Tribeca, but that figure should go up for sure. CVT is only thing mated with an engine that we could expect off course, along with legendary AWD as standard.
2018 Subaru Ascent is about to enter production next year, while it could debut this year at New York Auto Show. Price is probably going to reflect most of the competition and start around $30,000, while we are all pretty much baffled about what is going on here. Why did Subaru present that concept to us, and then made something totally different? Is it fear? Did they originally planned to offer something more exciting and then backed up and resorted to enlarging Forester, not having guts to avoid playing on safest card possible.
We know that Forester was selling great during the last few years, but so what? Viziv could have brought everything that is good with Subaru and spice it up with some imposing, masculine appearance, and we just don’t see how that could fail.