Having whet our appetite with the Viziv-7 Concept last year, Subaru has followed through and confirmed its plans to build a hulking family four-wheel drive for America. Although it's just a concept at the moment, a car looking very similar to the Ascent you see here will be popping up in showrooms soon, with its sights set on taking down the new VW Atlas.
In traditional Subaru fashion, details about the Ascent are incredibly scant. Most brands go to the trouble of giving their concept cars a definitive power output, or perhaps a bit of information about why the design team chose to do certain things. Subaru isn't really like most other manufacturers, though, so the Ascent Concept is more the strong and silent type.
We know the production car will be powered by a turbocharged boxer four-cylinder engine and, seeing it's a Subaru, all-wheel drive is a given. The company has also been generous enough to divulge the 198.8 x 78.3 x 72.4 in (505 x 199 x 184 cm) measurements, which put the car squarely in line with the Volkswagen Atlas. Coincidence? We think not.
Just like VW, Subaru is targeting one of the most lucrative segments in America with the Ascent. In spite of growing congestion, rising fuel costs and the obvious environmental impact of gas-guzzling four-wheel drives, US families can't get enough of giant seven-seaters like the Chevrolet Tahoe. Subaru has actually tried to crack the market before, but the B9 Tribeca was simply too small. The Ascent proves Subaru is determined not to make the same mistake twice.
On the outside, the Ascent is instantly recognizable as a Subaru, although all the details we know and love have been scaled up. Up front, there's a set of hawkish headlights and bold grille, while the taillights could have been borrowed from the Impreza launched in New York last year. It looks pretty good to us, but Subaru is notorious for turning out pretty concepts and toned-down production cars. We're hoping it breaks with tradition this time.
Behind the wheel, the concept looks close to production ready. Tone down a few of the materials, swap the tech-heavy speedo display for a traditional set of dials and you're just about ready for the showroom. Subaru isn't known for its luxurious interiors, but all the materials look to be high quality, and the basic design is prettier than the function-first layout you get in the VW.
The Subaru Ascent Concept is on show in New York, where New Atlas is on the ground covering all the action. Stay tuned for the latest.