Honey Badger rides again. Water buffalo isn't interested.
I have always been a fan of machines that would be the apex predators of their respective fields. Sleek, agile, pretty to behold, and savagely violent when pressed into service. The Aston Martin Vulcan springs to mind as do most Lamborghini and a handful of Ferrari. Zumwalt-class destroyers and the F-14. The Xerox Altalink B8000. These, of course, are the romantic views of what an apex predator is supposed to look like. However, we shan’t forget that the honey badger is considered an apex predator. The honey-badger-type of machines are scrappy; dirty things built more for winning at all costs rather than dominating as a species via a gorgeous, flowing mane. The A-10 Thunderbolt “Warthog,” the tunnel boring machine “Bertha,” Colin McRae’s 555 Subaru WRX STI, the Konica Minolta Bizhub Pro C6000 Copier Printer Scanner PF-602 LCT, FS-531 646k. These are all machines that make their purpose known simply by looking at them. They aren’t deceptive in any way; they do exactly what you expect without much fanfare or fuss.
The new Subaru Ascent is neither type of apex predator. It’s more of the bloated-water-buffalo-type of machine that is very popular with young, urban professionals. It may not be fair to comment on a vehicle that I have only seen pictures of, but, they put nineteen cup holders in it. Nineteen is exactly one more than the Volkswagen Atlas has, which allows Subaru to claim a moral victory in the beverage holstering business. Now, I am a man in my early thirties without any children. I have had my niece and nephew in their car seats in the back of my BRZ however, and at no point did I feel my four cup holders were in anyway inadequate. Their seats had cupholders built in, after all. Thing is the SUV has some cool features; it has eight USB ports, Subaru’s Eyesight system comes standard, it has lots of space for many things, and will no doubt be very capable when conditions get dicey in culs-de-sac around the world. It will also be competitively priced between 35-50 thousand of your US dollars.
But they put nineteen cup holders in it.
What features have they left off in order to add a dozen more cupholders than the average minivan? Or worse, is it a patronizing attempt to sell more cars to women? Women only buy cars based on the number of cups they can tote, you know. Not because they too can read spec sheets and decide for themselves what features best suit their needs. Hopefully, it will be brilliant to drive, and tremendous value as most Subaru are. As soon as I get my hands on one to test, rest assured I will be finding out. But if they managed to ruin this long-awaited Tribeca replacement for a cheap line on the features list and the coveted most-beverage-holder award, I’m gonna be very disappointed, indeed.