The Ascent is a more recent nameplate added to Subaru’s offerings. The midsize SUV has only been on the market in North America for a few years but has already racked up quite a following thanks to its refined style and presentation. Due to its steadily increasing popularity, you’re bound to start seeing more Subaru Ascent dealerships popping up all over the place.
What’s interesting, though, is that the Ascent may not be a segment specialist like Jeep’s popular off-road-ready Wrangler or the Cadillac’s luxury-infused Escalade, but what it does, it does quite well. There are several things that the Subaru Ascent does better than a few of the nearest rivals within the midsize segment. That’s something we’re going to take a look at here today, as we outline 8 of our favorite features that we absolutely love about the 2022 Subaru Ascent.
#8 – Steering-Wheel Mounted Paddle Shifters
Options are always the spice of life. More options mean more ways to customize and personalize the driving experience to your liking. One of the things that helps make the 2022 Subaru Ascent stand out is the ability to make use of sports-like driving functionality thanks to the manual-shifting made available via steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters.
The Lineartronic continuously variable transmission fitted to the Ascent will automatically search for the right gear ratio to get maximum efficiency out of the 4-cylinder Subaru Boxer engine. However, if you want to take more control of the driving experience, you can put the vehicle into manual mode and use the steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters to shift between 6 different transmission speeds. It’s a great way to take advantage of the Ascent’s sportier aspects while on the road.
#7 – Tri-Zone Climate Control
Coming off the ability to manually shift gears, one might think that tri-zone climate control isn’t that big of a deal. However, for a three-row SUV, it makes a huge difference, especially when the driver and front passenger have the cabin temperature set at a specific level, but those in the second and third rows may not agree with that decision. Tri-zone climate control puts the temperature control back into the hands of each group of passengers in each row.
This feature appears across various trims for other popular nameplates, and it’s nice to see this feature spread across the industry for more SUVs such as the Ascent. The ability for those in the second and third row to alter the temperature based on their own preferences makes it so much more comfortable during long rides, where those up front might prefer it warmer while those in the back might prefer a more chilly atmosphere. Thanks to air vents being available across all three rows, everyone can modify the temperature to their liking.
#6 – Reclining Second and Third-Row Seats
In conjunction with the tri-zone climate control, another benefit of the Subaru Ascent that’s well worth mentioning is the ability to recline the second and third-row seats. This may not seem like much of a big deal, but usually, it’s only the first-row captain chairs that allow you to recline the seats. Having the option to do so for the second and third row is a nice little option to bring comfort for those who aren’t sitting in the very front.
It’s great having the option to relax during the ride while sitting in the second or third row. But the best part about it is that the functionality of the 60/40 seats still allows for folding the seats down if you need to make extra room for additional cargo. So you have both the comfort aspects and the functionality there if you need to make available space for more cargo volume.
#5 – Second-Row Customizable Captain Chairs
If the second-row split-bench just doesn’t do it for you, there are captain chairs available. These are perfect if you would prefer the availability of the extra aisle to reach the third row much easier. The Subaru Ascent makes this option available by cutting down one extra seat from 8 passengers to 7 passengers. This is done by exchanging the second bench for two chairs.
The highlight here is that you get more free space in the center aisle to the third bench. Additionally, you have more comfort available with two captain chairs over a bench. Lastly, your passengers have more legroom and space to stretch or recline the chairs with a bit more autonomy than the bench seats.
#4 – Power Tilt-Sliding Panoramic Moonroof
A moonroof is nothing new, but a power-tilt, sliding panoramic moonroof with a special UV glass that reduces rays by up to 95% is a real nice addition to any SUV line-up. The Subaru Ascent’s moonroof gives it that extra bit of luxury. The added fact that it retracts enough to give light to all three rows thanks to being 54-inches long is an extra benefit.
The added power tilt and UV protection mean that you get to enjoy a lot of great, clear blue skies on sunny days without it blinding the driver or passengers. This is a nice luxury feature that really adds to the Ascent’s overall appeal. The length of the moonroof is also an added bonus. It stretches far enough across the roofline so that all three rows get to enjoy the top-down outdoor lighting.
#3 – Reverse Automatic Braking
A lot of vehicles have automatic braking with front pedestrian detection. But how many vehicles do you know come equipped with reverse automatic braking? Well, this has been a feature for the Subaru Ascent, and it’s a very welcomed one at that. So how exactly does it work? Well, very similar to the front emergency braking systems in most other vehicles.
The Ascent’s reverse automatic braking system automatically detects objects in the path of the Ascent while backing up. To avoid colliding with objects, the Ascent will automatically alert the driver and provide braking assistance so that you don’t crash, run over, or bump into anything while in reverse. This is helpful both as a safety aid and especially when attempting to park in reverse.
#2 – Subaru Starlink Multimedia Suite
Not every SUV out there has a well-made and properly tailored infotainment suite. Some of them are clunkier than others, while a few more seem to be designed to be as user-friendly as possible. Subaru’s Starlink Multimedia suite fits in well among the offerings from competitors. It features a lot of the basics and a few extra bonuses.
Like most infotainment systems, you have software integration for smartphone pairing, as well as hands-free operation thanks to Bluetooth connectivity. This means Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are available as standard trim-wide features, allowing you to access apps, multimedia, and navigation with ease. The ability to make use of voice-activated navigation from TomTom also means you don’t have to fumble around with GPS controls while driving.
#1 – Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive with X-MODE
Standard symmetrical all-wheel drive with X-MODE is a great way to embrace the Ascent’s capabilities without having to worry about exercising any kind of overt or technical driving skills; it’s one thing you’ll appreciate about this SUV if you visit a Subaru Ascent dealership. Once X-MODE is activated, the vehicle will make use of the symmetrical all-wheel drive system to stabilize the vehicle. This goes a long way in improving handling across a number of different driving conditions.
For instance, X-MODE will not only make it easy to traverse snow, ice, sleet, sand, dirt, or wet surfaces; it will also help with balancing the vehicle’s weight distribution by sensing and automatically applying torque to the wheels that need the most traction. This makes X-MODE perfect both for off-road traversal and for maintaining steady travels on winding roads with twisty turns where you could potentially oversteer or understeer.
With the symmetrical all-wheel drive, the Ascent applies braking, torque, and power distribution to help correct some common driver mistakes, regardless of the driving situation. It’s also one of the reasons why this midsize SUV makes for a safe and fun drive. All that being said, X-MODE is an invaluable feature for the Ascent, and that’s why it’s one of our favorite features.