We just made what is unquestionably our most long-awaited vehicle purchase ever, trading in our 2014 Subaru Forester XT for a brand-new, 7-passenger Subaru Ascent Touring. I wanted to say a few words not only about our previous car (and our love of Subarus in general) but also about the multitudinous reasons we pre-ordered Subaru’s latest creation sight-unseen and find ourselves in possession of Oregon City’s first Ascent Touring.
Although our Forester was easily our most-loved car ever, we fit quite precisely into the perfect target demographic for Subaru’s new largest-ever SUV, given that we bought our Forester with only 2 kids, and then suddenly ended up with 3.
We’ve owned a Honda Odyssey in the past, which we absolutely adored. However, another aspect that further aligns us with the Subaru demographic is that we actually need and use the features that make Subarus bona-fide SUVs, namely the all-wheel-drive and ground clearance that sets them apart from other wanna-be’s. I know some people only buy SUVs because they don’t want to be spotted in a minivan. However, our previous four Subarus have frequently ventured off-road, much more so since we moved back to Oregon, and some of our favorite spots (like Silver Star Mountain, Mt. Adams, and some other spots in the Oregon wild) can only be reached by a vehicle that has more than passenger-car ground clearance. For example, our Odyssey would never be able to make it up to the Silver Star trailhead as we watched a few other passenger cars have to stop halfway up the access road.
The new Ascent has basically checked all the boxes, being roughly as fuel-efficient as our outgoing Forester XT whilst being dramatically more spacious inside, yet somehow driving just as nimbly. It’s got close to 9″ of ground clearance, has legit off-road ability, yet comfortably seats 7 and squirts around town with ease.
I’ll give it a full review for anyone who’s interested after we’ve had a few weeks to digest how it performs, and after we’ve gotten a chance to take it out camping. But in the meanwhile, I wanted to at least give a little tribute to our outgoing Forester XT and our other three Subarus as I’m absolutely hoping to use our new Ascent in the same spirit.
Our Previous Four Subarus
First off, especially with the Michelin X-ICE Xi3 snow tires installed, our Forester XT was the best car I’ve ever driven in the snow, full stop.
Definitely hoping that our Ascent has the same aplomb and general effortless stability in the white stuff, seeing as we’re up on the mountain all winter now that our kids all ski.
Our Forester has been literally all over the country. We got it with only 7 miles on the clock back in 2014, and it’s since taken us on a cross-country voyage and on uncountable camping and ski trips.
Our previous Subarus have seen similar duty as well, though.
Our first Subaru was a 2006 Impreza Outback, which – after towing a trailer with all our stuff across the country from Oregon -> DC, got us through DC’s biggest snowstorm in decades.
Our next Subaru, a 2009 Outback with a 6-speed manual, was my first-ever new car purchase. We would have kept that one for significantly longer, but then we found ourselves needing a 3-row vehicle after having 2 years of au pairs in the family as well. A manual-transmission Outback like this wonderful machine is unfortunately is something you’ll never find in the USA anymore, as all Outbacks are now automatics.
Our 3rd Subaru was a 2013 WRX, which was my commuter car when I had bi-weekly trips I had to take back & forth from DC to Tennessee for work. The stock summer tires on the car were the only thing that really limited its “Subaruing” as those tires made it squirrely in even a light rain, never mind snow and mud.