Subaru Ascent covers Palm Desert

The 2024 Subaru Ascent at Palm Desert, Calif. (Jan Wells photo)

A roomy, three-row crossover added flashes of “crimson red pearl” to a four-day relaxation in California earlier in February.

The crimson-finished 2024 Subaru Ascent was waiting when four of us – Jan and I, daughter Kim and granddaughter Missy – landed at Palm Springs, then carried us the few miles to Palm Desert, where we joined Dale and Sandy Wells, who were vacationing from their home in Johnstown.

The Ascent, which competes with the Chevy Traverse, Hyundai Santa Fe, Jeep Grand Cherokee L, Volkswagen Atlas and others, is large enough for six adults, though in row-by-row comparison, of course, the third row was third-rate.

Awaiting lunch at Riverside, Calif., are, from left, Kim Parker, Dale Wells, Kent Wells, Jan and Bud Wells

We drove 70 miles along Calif. 74 to Riverside, where we enjoyed lunch with younger brother, James Kent Wells, who resides in Seal Beach. The Ascent was also smooth and good-handling on a drive to LaQuinta and the PGA West Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course.

Performance was very adequate from the Subaru’s 2.4-liter boxer engine; the continuous variable transmission’s 8-speed manual-shift mode worked well, droning occasionally on acceleration demand, of course. The overall fuel-mileage average was 20.2 (EPA rating is 19-25).

The all-wheel-drive Ascent, built in Lafayette, Ind., was introduced for the 2019 model year. For 2024, it starts at $34,195. The Touring model I drove carried a sticker price of $49,931, featuring Cabin Connect, Surround View Monitor, Harman Kardon surround sound, Eyesight Driver Assist, panoramic moonroof.