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#4810193 - 07/10/18 12:14 PM Subaru Ascent - my quick observations
nthach Offline


Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 3992
Loc: California
Last year, a friend's mom(whose family are my parent's neighbors) decided to drop her name in the hat for then in-vitro Subaru Ascent after deliberating between a Pilot or Highlander. 6 months ago the local dealer called her in to ask her about options. She got the wagon last weekend.

I was able to take out for a quick spin and to me, it felt and handled like any other Subaru but I did notice a definite power jump, while it's no WRX/STI with a hotter FA20DIT/EJ255 it certainly felt like it can go when commanded unlike the 4-cylinder Legacy/Outback and Forester. The FA24DIT is rated for 260HP and 275ft-lb. The Highlander and Pilot do make more but those are also 3.5L NA V6s. The CVT was transparent. I didn't get to take it on the freeway but around town there wasn't any obtrusive rubberbanding or lag. There is torque vectoring, but it seems like it's based off the ABS/ESP system. The rear diff looks like standard Subaru fare, I didn't see any additional electrical connectors that would have tipped me off to a multi-plate clutch like the SH-AWD implementation of Honda's VTM-4.

The interior is probably one of Subaru's better efforts, the materials while some did look or feel cheap certainly felt better than Toyota/Ford spec. The doors closed with a solid feeling thump, not the nice, satisfying German thump of a pre-2000s Mercedes product but better than the typical Japanese one. The Legacy/Outback have in higher trim levels the more "luxurious" of interiors in their class and the Ascent felt like a step up from the usual Honda/Toyota fare. This was a 7-passenger model so there was a center aisle to access the 3rd row like a minivan but the 2nd row seats do slide forward like a coupe. The back row looked like a tight squeeze. As typical for a car-based SUV/CUV there isn't too much cargo space if the 3rd row is used.

I feel this will be a hit for Subaru - families that had a Forester or Outback will now have a "natural" upgrade path. It's certainly a much better effort than the old B9 Tribeca. Yes, I will say Subaru has become "norm-core" and in a way, the new Volvo while the latter is trying too hard to snipe down Mercedes/Audi/BMW in the luxury market. Now if Subaru sticks the Ascent motor into a WRX and tweak it to hit 320+HP in stock form...


Edited by nthach (07/10/18 12:15 PM)

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#4810218 - 07/10/18 12:26 PM Re: Subaru Ascent - my quick observations [Re: nthach]
Old Mustang Guy Offline


Registered: 11/16/05
Posts: 971
Loc: Rockwall, Texas
Does this have the V6 from the Outback?

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#4810240 - 07/10/18 12:39 PM Re: Subaru Ascent - my quick observations [Re: Old Mustang Guy]
nthach Offline


Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 3992
Loc: California
Nope, 2.4L twin-turbo DI H4. Subaru except for a brief time in the 1980s-1990s with the Justy has always used boxer engines.

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#4810256 - 07/10/18 12:51 PM Re: Subaru Ascent - my quick observations [Re: nthach]
CKN Offline


Registered: 10/14/14
Posts: 3768
Loc: Utah
The "Subaru Zombies" will buy it. Nobody else will with that 4 cylinder motor.


Edited by CKN (07/10/18 12:52 PM)

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#4810298 - 07/10/18 01:26 PM Re: Subaru Ascent - my quick observations [Re: CKN]
nthach Offline


Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 3992
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: CKN
Nobody else will with that 4 cylinder motor.

I'll say this - that turbo 4 is pretty powerful and certainly a lot more livable than the ones used by Mercedes and BMW(who merely dropped the Mini Cooper S 2.0L into the porky X1). I think Subaru, despite the problems on the WRX/FXT with head gaskets and pistons has done a good job making their turbo models feel a bit transparent to the driver.

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#4810310 - 07/10/18 01:40 PM Re: Subaru Ascent - my quick observations [Re: nthach]
AZjeff Offline


Registered: 01/14/11
Posts: 2731
Loc: PV Az
Is this a Subaru product or something else re-badged and Subarized?
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#4810353 - 07/10/18 02:21 PM Re: Subaru Ascent - my quick observations [Re: CKN]
maxdustington Offline


Registered: 01/21/17
Posts: 886
Loc: Toronna
I wonder how far they can take a flat four cylinder engine power wise. I thought the whole point of a flat engine was center of gravity and having to pull the mill to change the HGs. As their vehicles get bigger with higher centers of gravity a flat engine makes less and less sense.


Originally Posted By: CKN
The "Subaru Zombies" will buy it. Nobody else will with that 4 cylinder motor.

Originally Posted By: nthach
I feel this will be a hit for Subaru - families that had a Forester or Outback will now have a "natural" upgrade path. It's certainly a much better effort than the old B9 Tribeca. Yes, I will say Subaru has become "norm-core" and in a way, the new Volvo while the latter is trying too hard to snipe down Mercedes/Audi/BMW in the luxury market. Now if Subaru sticks the Ascent motor into a WRX and tweak it to hit 320+HP in stock form...

They are trying to cash in on their popularity now by trying to break into new markets, they are becoming mainstream. I'll bet they release a larger SUV with a conventional engine design within 7 years. The flat Subaru motor will go the way of the VR6 once people forget about it. I fear they are going to follow other brands: Establish a reputation for quality and reliability, then cash in on it with mainstream models, then have their quality drop off and lose their identity in the process.

Forester/Outback is to the 2010s what the Toyota Corolla was to the 2000s, the ultimate normie/appliance car. The Kool-Aid is strong on this board, too (not you OP).
VW used to have VW zombies back when they were quirky too, now they are mainstream and were competing on price (!) recently.





Edited by maxdustington (07/10/18 02:21 PM)
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#4810355 - 07/10/18 02:21 PM Re: Subaru Ascent - my quick observations [Re: AZjeff]
Kira Offline


Registered: 08/19/10
Posts: 5436
Loc: Champlain/Hudson Valley
Twin turbochargers in a family hauler? Let me get off this train.

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#4810390 - 07/10/18 03:01 PM Re: Subaru Ascent - my quick observations [Re: nthach]
carguy996 Offline


Registered: 10/26/06
Posts: 261
Loc: Illinois
A local dealer was offering test drives of the Ascent over the weekend so I stopped to take a look. The test drive vehicle was a fully loaded Touring with the window sticker just over 48K. First impressions were the outside was nicely done, conservative but attractive, looks like a large Outback really. Inside, I had some mixed reviews. The seats were a little too firm and there is an odd secondary screen at the top of the dash I didnt care for. The main screen is large, bright and crisp. The screen at the top of the dash showed fuel economy, radio, vehicle info or would oddly display the front camera. The screen is far away from the driver so made that an odd choice to display the front camera. Also, the heated steering wheel switch was oddly sticking out of the steering wheel in the same place where vehicles used to put the cruise switch. That switch felt it could easily break. Performance was ok, nothing insanely fast, but adequate for around town, the CVT was one of the better ones I have experienced, better than our Nissan's. At 48K, Subaru needs to offer their excellent H6 3.6R motor, and to make that motor better, put a small turbo on it and that would really enhance the feel of the Ascent. I think the middle model is going to sell the best, seems to have the best feature per dollar in the upper 30's low 40's/
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#4810394 - 07/10/18 03:04 PM Re: Subaru Ascent - my quick observations [Re: nthach]
earlyre Offline


Registered: 11/22/11
Posts: 3892
Loc: Lima, Ohio, USA
Originally Posted By: Old Mustang Guy
Does this have the V6 from the Outback?

Originally Posted By: nthach
Nope, 2.4L twin-turbo DI H4. Subaru except for a brief time in the 1980s-1990s with the Justy has always used boxer engines.


yeah, Their 6 cyl are Flat 6/H6/boxer(how ever you want to refer to it) layouts.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Subaru_engines#Six_Cylinder
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#4810400 - 07/10/18 03:08 PM Re: Subaru Ascent - my quick observations [Re: Kira]
Virtus_Probi Offline


Registered: 06/25/15
Posts: 4067
Loc: New England
Originally Posted By: maxdustington
I wonder how far they can take a flat four cylinder engine power wise. I thought the whole point of a flat engine was center of gravity and having to pull the mill to change the HGs. As their vehicles get bigger with higher centers of gravity a flat engine makes less and less sense.

The old 2.5l PFI turbo in the WRX STI is about 305HP/290ft-lbs, I would think they could do better with a 2.4l DIT if they decide to push it.
Somebody on here suggested that the less than incredible power numbers for the Ascent might reflect the use of 87 octane, which would probably be a selling point for something that is more of a people mover than a zippy fun car (93 is recommended for my FA20DIT with 91 considered acceptable, manual warns that anything less down to 87 will likely result in poor performance but will not cause damage).

Originally Posted By: Kira
Twin turbochargers in a family hauler? Let me get off this train.

It's actually a single twin scroll turbo, not two separate turbos.
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#4810423 - 07/10/18 03:28 PM Re: Subaru Ascent - my quick observations [Re: carguy996]
earlyre Offline


Registered: 11/22/11
Posts: 3892
Loc: Lima, Ohio, USA
Originally Posted By: carguy996
At 48K, Subaru needs to offer their excellent H6 3.6R motor, and to make that motor better, put a small turbo on it and that would really enhance the feel of the Ascent.


that would technically require some re-engineering of the EZ36. It was never designed with boost in mind.

that's not saying that people haven't turbo'd them, Mighty Car Mods Super Gramps for example. Tuned, running E85, with around 8-10 psi makes 277.1Kw(371.6BHP) at the wheels, and runs in the 11's at the dragstrip(1/4mi)...

but much more boost, and they're in danger of grenading the the engine.
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Mine:
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Mine to Maintain:
03 Pontiac Vibe : 4.5qts VWB 5w30,WIX 51394

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#4810442 - 07/10/18 03:41 PM Re: Subaru Ascent - my quick observations [Re: maxdustington]
nthach Offline


Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 3992
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: maxdustington

The flat Subaru motor will go the way of the VR6 once people forget about it. I fear they are going to follow other brands: Establish a reputation for quality and reliability, then cash in on it with mainstream models, then have their quality drop off and lose their identity in the process.

Forester/Outback is to the 2010s what the Toyota Corolla was to the 2000s, the ultimate normie/appliance car. The Kool-Aid is strong on this board, too (not you OP).
VW used to have VW zombies back when they were quirky too, now they are mainstream and were competing on price (!) recently.





Toyota is taking a laissez-faire approach with Subaru - let them do their thing, but we'll provide assistance when asked and vice-versa. Even though Toyota doesn't totally control Subaru, at least they aren't pulling a Nissan, Hyundai, GM or VAG on them with creative rebranding(but the FT86/BRZ is an exception, built by Subaru, Toyota provided the engine control and tranny and both brands use different interiors to a point). Nissan also took a hands-off approach with Subaru, but it was GM that was trying to force Subaru to walk down the plank.

If Toyota really wanted to cannibalize Subaru, the Ascent could have been the [censored] child of the Highlander. Subaru is using their own platform instead of TNGA and there's still quite a bit of the old Nissan/GM influence in their switchgear and interior. As a matter of fact, you can see some Nissan-sourced switches alongside Toyota ones in a modern Subie. Rumor in the Subaru world is that the new Crosstrek Hybrid will be using the Prius Prime's battery pack/charger and I assume the Lexus GS450h/LS600hL(also used on the JDM Crown Hybrid/Athlete) hybrid drive unit and inverter.

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#4810450 - 07/10/18 03:49 PM Re: Subaru Ascent - my quick observations [Re: carguy996]
nthach Offline


Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 3992
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: carguy996
At 48K, Subaru needs to offer their excellent H6 3.6R motor, and to make that motor better, put a small turbo on it and that would really enhance the feel of the Ascent.

The EZ36D doesn't need turbos. It's a porky engine that can use Toyota's help to make more power - I think it's good for 250HP but Toyo's own 2GR-FE makes 268-270hp and around 300 in Lexus/Sienna/new Camry form with D4-S.

Maybe add on D4-S, free up the intake/exhaust flow and it should be good for 270-280HP?

I've never driven a Legacy/Outback 3.6R, but a friend has a Outback 3.0R with the EZ30D and it's a nice motor. Reminds me of a Porsche.

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#4810481 - 07/10/18 04:18 PM Re: Subaru Ascent - my quick observations [Re: nthach]
gathermewool Offline


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 6064
Twin-scroll, not twin-turbo.

If you havenít driven a twin-scroll turbo 4, then please refrain from comparing it with other single-scroll turbo 4s and V6s. While an STI (EJ257, btw, not 255) will lag and then SURGE when the turbo finally spoils, the FA20DIT has minimal lag. At highway speeds, boost is instantaneous.

Not saying itís better or worse than the Highlander or Pilot, just that, based on my experience with the FA20DIT, the FA24DIT should be a pretty lively engine, and I suspect not many would be left wanting a V6, all else being equal.

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