Up, Up and Away

7/31/2018

Fall 2018

An on-the-go family hits the road for a weekend getaway in the all-new 2019 Subaru Ascent – but not before first taking care of business on the home front.

For our family of four (plus dog) in suburban New Jersey, the 5-hour road trip we take each year to see cousins near Cape Cod can be … a challenge. Let’s just say I’ve spent a lot of time fantasizing about the invention of the teleport.

Then, I slide into the driver’s seat of the all-new three-row Subaru Ascent. Our model has the available captain’s chairs, and my daughter climbs into the second row. “Mom, Lucca and I won’t even fight!” she says, waving her arms madly in the empty space that separates the two leather captain chairs. Then she notices the climate controls. “Mom! I can control my air conditioning!” 

Clearly, she’s ready to hit the road. But, still a week away from the vacation, we’ve got a lot to do around here before we leave. Soccer games, grocery runs and other shopping trips, namely. Of course, I’m just as excited to have the Ascent for these daily chores as I am for the long drive. As a soccer family, carpooling is a big part of how we roll. Every week we’re bringing kids to practice, and almost every weekend throughout the season we’re driving who-knows-where for a tournament. This week, I find that picking up the team in the Ascent is a game-changer. There’s plenty of room for goals, cones, soccer balls and a lively pack of sweaty third-graders. The largest Subaru model ever, it is genuinely enormous. 

The standard Rear-Vison Camera provides extra safety when reversing.
Up to 153.5 cubic feet of passenger volume with ample cargo space and underfloor storage

I also quickly fall in love with the SUV’s safety features, which are unlike anything I’ve had in previous SUVs. Our driveway backs out onto a busy-ish street. Other drivers fly past my house. It’s a problem. In the Ascent one day, as I inch backwards out of my garage and get close to the street, my side mirrors start flashing and my dashboard beeps loudly with an unmissable warning. Sure enough, a crazy driver comes zooming around the corner past my rear bumper. My kids are as ecstatic as I am about the cameras that just saved us from a fender bender. “Did you see that?!” they cheer from the back seat. “The new car made us not crash!” 

At the store the next day, I score a new cooler for our quickly approaching trip, plus a ton of other supplies. I grab a coffee on the way out. Thanks to the easy-peasy Power Rear Gate I can command from my key fob, I unload the entire haul into my trunk one-handed, sipping my dark roast all the while. No jumping up and struggling to open and close the back hatch. 

For the Zack family, a soccer game is always around the corner.
For the Zack family, a soccer game is always around the corner. Photo: Steve Greer Photography

By Thursday, my husband, the kids and I have already started packing for the weekend getaway. I start to line the tote bags by the door. We’re only four people, mind you, and the dog is staying at home. But we do not pack light. And man, does this trunk handle our thousand bags like a champ … this thing is huge! We manage to pack the cargo area to the limit, which normally means sacrificing the view of traffic in the rearview mirror. But later, on the drive, I come to love the Rear-Vision Camera, which offers a great view behind the vehicle regardless of what’s in the cargo area.

Inside the main cabin, I strategically snuggle backpacks and snacks into the aisle, where there’s plenty of room for them to be completely accessible throughout the ride.

My kids grab blankets knowing that our arrival time will likely be well after midnight. Devices and headphones remained charged and connected thanks to available Wi-Fi connectivity and USB charging, which means the kids will be happy and quiet. It’s bright out, so we make use of the nifty sun shades over each rear door on our model.

SUBARU STARLINK Multimedia with Apple CarPlay™
Spacious interior for 7 or 8 passengers

In the front seat, the technology makes our trek a breeze. I love using SUBARU STARLINK Multimedia1 with Apple CarPlay to dictate texts to the rest of the fam about our eventual arrival time, and play music from our music apps. And EyeSight2 Driver Assist Technology’s Adaptive Cruise Control is next-level. Usually on these epic trips north my feet and knees get cramped from sitting on the accelerator, not moving for hour after hour. And often with cruise control, the second you encounter any kind of traffic, you must hit the brakes and then start it up again. There’s no such issue here. You set your speed once, determine how far you want to be from the car in front of you, and the Ascent does the rest. End up behind a slowpoke? The Ascent gently slows down so you maintain a safe distance. Once you get into the clear again, the SUV brings you back up to cruising speed. It even starts to accelerate as you move into the passing lane, just like you would if you were controlling the speed. It’s flawless, and is as close to being on auto-pilot as I’ve ever come. 

The Ascent’s trunk is great for over-packers.
Available heated seats on the Ascent

On the comfort side, one small but important feature in particular helps get us through our late night journey: heated seats, which are available on the Ascent. My husband tends to like the interior on the arctic side. When he wins the coin toss, the rest of us usually just bundle up. No need this time. I flip on my seat warmer and my kids flip on theirs. Between this function and the individual climate controls, we all drive through the night in perfect, individual comfort. Road trip peace, maintained. 

Finally, we arrive at our house in the beautiful town of South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, the drive made infinitely better by our new chariot. When we wake up the next morning, the cousins, eight of them all under the age of 11, greet one another like carefree puppies, with rolling hugs and giggles. “Show us the new SUV!” they demand. And for the rest of our weekend, they all jockey for who gets to travel to the beach and to dinner and to the ice cream parlor in our sweet ride.

Liz Zack ready to hit the road in the all-new 2019 Subaru Ascent.
Liz Zack ready to hit the road in the all-new 2019 Subaru Ascent. Photo: Steve Greer Photography

To get to the beach, we easily shuttle five kids and two adults, along with all the chairs and bags and towels necessary for a day on the water with littles. 

My brother and sister both have big cars and three kids each, but none rival the comfort, space or technology of the Ascent. There is much discussion of how, in the Ascent, every seat in the vehicle is equally comfortable. In a lot of SUVs, the third row becomes a kind of default space for the kids – but I can tell you that every single ride of this weekend, we have someone over the age of 30 gladly sitting in our third row. It’s spacious and comfortable – and I get the feeling, over the weekend, that we convert a lot of people to the Ascent for their next SUV. 

When we leave New England for our ride back home, my exhausted but happy kids tumble into the Ascent. They buckle in, lever their seats back and immediately fall asleep. That’s the best review I could ever give a family car. Happy, safe, comfortable, sleeping kids.

The all-new 2019 Subaru Ascent is now on sale. Schedule a test drive at your local retailer.

Cousins at the beach.
Cousins at the beach.

1 Compatible smartphone and application required. For applications to operate, latest version of each application and optional integrated audio and navigation system unit required. Data provided by smartphone is displayed on navigation screen. Some state laws prohibit the operation of handheld electronic devices while operating a vehicle. Smartphone apps should only be launched when vehicle is safely parked. Your wireless carrier’s rates may apply. 2 EyeSight is a Driver Assist Technology which may not operate optimally under all driving conditions. The driver is always responsible for safe and attentive driving. Technology effectiveness depends on many factors such as vehicle maintenance, weather and road conditions. See Owner’s Manual for complete details on system operation and limitations. 3 Maximum towing capacity varies by trim level. Trailer brakes may be needed. See your retailer for details.