• 08 Mar 2019 11:37 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Brandon Girmus, Jeep Gladiator brand manager, presented the all-new open-air Jeep Gladiator to MAMA members earlier this week. Building on the success of its iconic Wrangler, Jeep recently introduced the all-new 2020 Gladiator – what Jeep refers to as the “most capable midsize truck ever.”

    The Gladiator has been in the works for years and is a concept Jeep fans and enthusiasts have been persistently requesting over the past two decades. While the Gladiator certainly builds upon the Wrangler’s success, the Gladiator is “100 percent truck and 100 percent Jeep,” according Girmus. In other words, Jeep took the best attributes of the Jeep products – open-air freedom, off-road capability and iconic design – and added real truck capabilities including towing (up to 7,650 lbs.) and payload (up to 1,600 lbs.). 

    The exterior design is authentic to the Jeep brand, including the iconic seven-slot grille, round headlamps and square taillights. The design team widened the grille openings to provide additional air intake to help with the truck’s increased towing capacity. When it comes to the removable tops, like the Wrangler, there are two options: a removable soft top or a three-piece hardtop.

    The interior design combines authentic styling, versatility and comfort. Exclusive to Gladiator, the rear seats and can be locked in place to provide secure storage. Additionally, the rear seat cushions can fold into “stadium” position to expose an open storage bin – utilizing the space under the seat. For the adventure-seeking owner, an optional lockable bin offers convenient secure storage space when the top or doors are removed.

    Advanced technology and safety features are also packed into the Gladiator. A 7.0- or an available 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system allows the driver to configure information in more than 100 ways including media (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration), tire pressure gauge, tire-fill alert or digital speed readout. removable Bluetooth wireless speaker is available so drivers and their friends can listen to their favorite music even while outside of the vehicle. Also, exclusive to Rubicon models, is a forward-facing off-road camera that allows the driver to better see and navigate trail obstructions.

    Available safety features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross path detection, forward-facing off-road camera, standard ParkView rear backup camera, adaptive cruise control and electronic stability control.

    Under the hood is a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine with engine stop-start. A 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 option will be available in 2020. Both engines will be available with either a 6-speed manual transmission or 8-speed automatic transmission. Jeep’s 2-speed 4WD transfer case is also standard. Front and rear axles are Dana 44s and the Rubicon model is available with the Wrangler’s trick electronic unlocking sway bar. 

    “Gladiator is the only open-air pickup on the market,” said Girmus. “There’s no other truck out there where you can take off the top and take off the doors.”

    The 2020 Jeep Gladiator comes in the following trim configurations: Sport, Sport S, Overland and Rubicon. The all-new pickup will arrive at dealerships this spring.

  • 07 Feb 2019 7:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Chicago, Illinois (Feb. 7, 2019) – The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) announced today at the Chicago Auto Show that the 2019 Subaru Ascent has been named the winner of its ninth annual Family Vehicle of the Year award, and the 2019 Volvo XC40 has been named the inaugural winner of the Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year award.

    MAMA is a nonprofit group of automotive journalists and public relations professionals, and it developed the awards to help car-shopping families make a wise decision when they’re ready for a new vehicle.

    “Choosing a family vehicle is an important decision. Whether it’s a premium-brand or mainstream model, it should be versatile, reliable, efficient, and reasonably priced. MAMA members pooled their expertise and experience to select the best family vehicles from an outstanding group of new and significantly refreshed models, and the Subaru Ascent and Volvo XC40 came out on top,” said MAMA award coordinator Tim Healey.

    To qualify for the award, vehicles had to have four doors, appear at one of MAMA’s two annual rallies, and be new or significantly updated within a year of the 2018 Spring Rally, which took place in May 2018. The MAMA Spring and Fall Rallies feature roughly 100 manufacturer vehicles for journalists to drive and evaluate.

    Voting took place at both rallies, and the field of contenders was narrowed down to 11 finalists in the mainstream category: the Buick Regal TourX, Ford Expedition, Honda Pilot, Hyundai Kona, Hyundai Santa Fe, Mazda6, Nissan Altima, Ram 1500, Subaru Ascent, Subaru Forester, and Volkswagen Jetta. There were six finalists in the luxury category: the Acura RDX, Kia Stinger, Land Rover Range Rover Velar, Lexus ES, Maserati Levante, and Volvo XC40.

    In each round of voting, three points were awarded for a first-place vote, two points were given for a second-place vote and third-place votes were valued at one point each.

    MAMA members then voted in one final round, and 91 automotive journalists participated. The 2019 Subaru Ascent was selected as Family Vehicle of the Year with 100 points, ahead of the 2018 Ford Expedition, which garnered 74 points. The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe placed third with 61 points.

    The 2019 Volvo XC40 was crowned Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year with 151 points, edging out the 2019 Acura RDX, which netted 133 points. The 2019 Kia Stinger rounded out the top three with 82 points.

    Voting for the 2020 Family Vehicle of the Year awards will begin at the 2019 MAMA Spring Rally, which is scheduled for May 22-23 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The 2019 MAMA Fall Rally is tentatively scheduled for October 2.

    For more information about the Midwest Automotive Media Association, please visit

    About the Midwest Automotive Media Association

    Founded in 1991, and now in its 28th year, the Midwest Automotive Media Association comprises 261 automotive journalists and public relations professionals from 23 states and the District of Columbia. Though based in the Chicago area, MAMA welcomes members from all parts of the country. The organization’s primary purpose is to provide a forum for newsworthy people, current issues, and new products in the auto industry.

  • 04 Feb 2019 9:32 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On January 30, 2017, longtime Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) member Jim Mateja lost his battle with cancer. An industry heavyweight, Jim’s powerful media reach and accessible reviews made him one of the most influential auto writers of his era.

    Jim was also a dedicated MAMA member, playing an active role in the organization he helped create. As MAMA’s first president, Jim charted the course for a group that now boasts more than 260 members and hosts two of the finest annual automotive media events in the country.

    Jim’s dedication to journalistic integrity; his potent, plain-language reviews; and his friendly, unguarded nature contributed to his legend and made him a welcome and respected fixture at MAMA events. Likewise, his counsel and support were always sought after and appreciated by subsequent MAMA leaders.

    Honoring Jim

    To honor Jim’s legacy, and to fully acknowledge his contributions to our industry, MAMA is partnering with the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism to establish a scholarship in his name.

    The James L. Mateja Memorial Scholarship

    Once fully funded, the James L. Mateja Memorial Scholarship will provide an annual sum of at least $4,000 to a promising journalism student as selected by Medill faculty. A new recipient will be selected every year.

    Funding the Legacy

    To fund the scholarship, MAMA must raise at least $100,000, contributed directly to Northwestern University’s 501 (c)(3) scholarship charity. This is the smallest amount of money the university will manage as part of a legacy program. While MAMA intends to make a significant contribution to the scholarship, we wanted to reach out to automotive manufacturers, as well as partner organizations and individual members, to be a part of this tribute to Jim.

    Our goal is to have the scholarship fully funded by June 30, 2018, so that we can award the first scholarship in September 2018.

    About the Scholarship

    Once funded, the James L. Mateja Memorial Scholarship will be managed by Northwestern University with no further input from MAMA—though additional contributions to the fund are always accepted. Most importantly, the name of the scholarship will never change.

    How to Contribute

    Whether you are representing an automaker, an organization or simply yourself, we welcome any contributions that will be made to honor our founding president. All contributions are tax-deductible and go directly to Northwestern University.

    1)  To donate via Northwestern's secure online portal, please click here

    2)  If you'd like to send a check, please make the check payable to Northwestern University and mail it to the following address (VERY IMPORTANT: indicate in the memo field or an enclosure that the gift is for the James L. Mateja Memorial Scholarship): 

    Julie Frahar

    Alumni Relations and Development

    Northwestern University 

    1201 Davis St. 

    Evanston, IL 60201 

    If you have additional questions, please contact the current MAMA President, Jill Ciminillo, at

  • 25 Jan 2019 8:46 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), an organization comprised of automotive journalists and related industry professionals, elected its 2019 board of directors during its annual business meeting.

    Damon Bell, formerly senior vice president, transitions to the role of MAMA president. Matt Avery, formerly vice president, membership, was elected to senior vice president and Jennifer Newman is newly elected to the MAMA board to carry out the role of vice president, membership, for a two-year term.

    Continuing to carry out second-year terms are Larry Nutson as the association’s treasurer and Kelley Enright as secretary. Jennifer Morand is also carrying out a second-year term under the title of communications director, formerly web director, to more accurately align with her association responsibilities. 

    Jill Ciminillo, who served a two-year term as MAMA president from 2017-2018, will transition into the role of president emeritus.

    During the annual business meeting it was reported that the association currently maintains a membership of 261 automotive journalists and industry professionals serving in the automotive industry or related fields.

    It was also announced that the very first recipient of the James L. Mateja Memorial Scholarship, Benjamin Winck, will be recognized during the MAMA opening breakfast to the 2019 Chicago Auto Show on Thursday, Feb. 7. In 2017, longtime automotive journalist and MAMA founding president Jim Mateja lost his battle with cancer. To honor Mateja’s legacy, MAMA partnered with the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism to establish a scholarship in his name.

    Also, during the Chicago Auto Show breakfast, MAMA will announce its 2019 Family Vehicle of the Year Award and Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year Award recipients. The Ford Expedition, Hyundai Santa Fe and Subaru Ascent are the finalists for the Family Vehicle of the Year Award, and the Acura RDX, Kia Stinger and Volvo XC40 are the finalists for the luxury category. Following the award presentations, Kia Motors America will present a program.

    For more information on the Midwest Automotive Media Association and upcoming events, visit

  • 26 Oct 2018 1:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Last week, Ford introduced the Edge ST – the first performance SUV from the Ford Performance team – to MAMA members. Craig Patterson, Ford Motor Company’s SUV marketing manager, highlighted the Edge ST’s special features, such as superior handling and braking, ST-tuned sport suspension, a driver-selectable Sport Mode, quick-shifting 8-speed transmission, standard all-wheel-drive, and the most powerful V6 engine in its class. Speaking of power, the Edge ST can reach 0-60 in under six seconds and hit a top speed of just over 130 mph.

    Not only is the Edge ST the most powerful in the Ede lineup, it's also the most expensive. The 335-hp Edge ST begins at a starting price of $43,350 but tops out around $50,000 with available upgrades. Ford improved the Edge’s suspension and braking to handle the increased power from the 2.7-liter V6 turbocharged EcoBoost engine that’s under the hood. The outcome is better body control and improved, tighter steering.

    Also available is wireless charging and an array of driver-assist features including pre-collision assist with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, automatic high-beam handlamps, and a rearview camera with a lens washer.

    Additional features that come standard on the Edge ST include post-impact braking, rain-sensing wipers, intelligent access with push-button start, SYNC infotainment system with a 4.2-inch color LCD screen, smart-charging USB port, Ford+Alexa and Waze navigation, and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay integration.

    Additional Edge trim levels include the SE, SEL and Titanium.

    Going forward, every Ford SUV will offer a HEV, PHEV or BEV; in 2021 Ford plans to be the number one seller of hybrids in the US. Ford is taking hybrids mainstream, according to Patterson. 

    Save the date for the next MAMA monthly meeting with Ram: Tuesday, Nov. 13.

  • 23 Oct 2018 2:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Last month, Hyundai’s Manager of Product Planning Trevor Lai introduced the all-new 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe to MAMA members in the form of a casual, tailgate-style event featuring lunch from local food trucks.

    The five-passenger 2019 Santa Fe was designed to look like an SUV, and “most definitely not a minivan” compared to Hyundai’s competitors in the segment, according to Lai. The latest model features more tech and is stronger, safer and more efficient than ever before.

    Beyond the Santa Fe’s refreshed design, Hyundai also aimed to increase visibility and utility in the vehicle. The beltline was lowered, the outside mirrors were repositioned lower and further rearward, and side windows are larger. To increase utility, Hyundai improved cargo space by adding a second-row, one-touch folding technology; cargo-area seat release; cargo underfloor storage; and selectable liftgate speed.

    In an effort to ensure accessible safety features for both drivers and passengers, Hyundai made the following SmartSense technology features standard on the Santa Fe: head-up display; forward collision-avoidance assist; blind-spot collision avoidance assist; safe exit assist; lane keeping assist; high beam assist; driver attention warning; smart cruise control with stop-and-go tech; and rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance assist.

    Available safety features include rear occupant alert, a system that detects and alerts the driver if there is something left in the backseat. Additionally, new to the Santa Fe, is the safe exit assist feature which keeps the rear doors locked if outside movement (i.e. an approaching vehicle) is detected.  

    Under the hood, the 2019 Santa Fe features improved engine options including a 2.4-liter CDI 4-cylinder engine with 8-speed A/T and a 2.0-liter Turbo GDI 4-cylinder engine with 8-speed A/T. Both engine options apply new electrically-actuated variable valve timing tech, which improves overall fuel economy and performance.

    The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe is priced around $25,000 and ranges to $35,450.

    The current long-wheelbase, three-row, seven-passenger model has been renamed to the Santa Fe XL for the 2019 model year. An all-new three-row, eight-passenger SUV is currently under development and will carry an all-new name, according to Hyundai.

  • 09 Oct 2018 4:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Joliet, Illinois (Oct. 8) – The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) held its annual Fall Rally last week, where nearly 80 media members gathered to test-drive 70 of the industry’s latest cars, trucks and SUVs. Held at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois, the 2019 MAMA Fall Rally offered journalists plentiful opportunities to put brand-new vehicles through their paces on track, on street and off road. The vehicle lineup was robust, ranging from a 2019 BMW i8, a 2019 Ford Mustang Bullitt, a 2019 GMC Sierra Denali to a 2019 Subaru Forester, to name just a few.

    Lexus kicked off the morning with a breakfast presentation to highlight the all-new 2019 ES – short for “elegant sedan” – including the ES 300h and first-ever ES 350 F Sport. Bob Gleich, education administrator at Lexus College, delivered the presentation.

    “The seventh-generation luxury sedan offers a more daring design, sharpened performance, advanced active safety technology and a level of craftsmanship rarely found in this segment,” said Gleich. “We were thrilled to be able to show off the vehicle’s dynamic capabilities at the MAMA Fall Rally, a key area for the Lexus brand.”

    The Lexus ES features an all-new Global Architecture-K platform – enabling a new, more daring design, a new level of dynamic performance and a new sense of confidence for the driver. All versions of the ES feature the new Lexus Safety System+ 2.0 as standard equipment. Already one of the most sophisticated systems of its kind, LSS+ 2.0 adds new features that further expand its capabilities such as daytime bicyclist detection and low light pedestrian detection. The ES is also Amazon Alexa-enabled, so drivers can use natural language commands to control a variety of functions, including car-to-home and home-to-car commands.

    Lexus had both the ES 300h and ES 350 F Sport on hand for media to test-drive.

    Following the morning session of driving on track, on street and off road, Maserati refueled Fall Rally attendees with lunch and a presentation on the 2019 Maserati Levante.

    Matt McAlear, head of product marketing for Maserati North America, led the presentation on the Levante, which is positioned as a good value compared to its competitors in the luxury SUV segment. While the base “S” model starts at $75,980, McAlear focused on the GTS trim level, which hovers around $119,000.

    “Our all-new 2019 Maserati Levante Trofeo and GTS SUVs represent the pinnacle of modern-day Maserati engineering. Their Ferrari-built twin-turbocharged V8 engines and standard all-wheel-drive systems are perfect for conquering any Midwest road, no matter the conditions,” said McAlear.

    “Presenting the 550-horsepower Levante GTS to the Midwest Automotive Media Association marks another important step as Maserati continues to grow in the Midwest and across North America.”

    Maserati didn’t miss the opportunity to have a Levante GTS on hand for media members to take for test drives.

    Throughout the day, journalists had the opportunity to maneuver 4WD and AWD trucks and SUVs through an off-road course, sponsored by Jeep. Participating vehicles included a 2019 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel, 2019 GMC Sierra AT4, 2019 Subaru Forester, 2018 Toyota 4Runner Limited and 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan 4MOTION.

    MAMA also encouraged members to test-drive contenders for the MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year Award and the new-for-2019 Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year Award. To qualify, candidates for each category must be four-door, family-capable vehicles and be present at our spring or fall rallies. Voting MAMA members chose the following FVOTY finalists at the 2018 Fall Rally: the 2019 Honda Pilot, 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe, 2019 Nissan Altima, 2019 Subaru Ascent and 2019 Subaru Forester. The LFVOTY finalists are the 2019 Lexus ES and the 2019 Maserati Levante. These finalists will join our 2019 Spring Rally finalists for a final round of online voting to decide the overall winner in each category.

    Both the MAMA Family Vehicle of the Year Award and Luxury Family Vehicle of the Year Award winners will be announced at the MAMA opening breakfast during the 2019 Chicago Auto Show on Feb. 7.

    The MAMA Fall Rally is one of two track events the organization hosts each year. MAMA also hosts monthly meetings for its members; the upcoming-event schedule can be found at

    Photo Credit: Christian Lantry, 


    About the Midwest Automotive Media Association

    The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA) is a professional non-profit press association, with a 27-year history, that brings together automotive journalists and manufacturers to provide a platform for automakers to release news. MAMA's membership has grown to more than 260 members and includes journalists covering print, broadcast, and online, as well as media-relations professionals within the automotive industry. For more information, visit

  • 30 Aug 2018 11:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Midwest Automotive Media Association Hosts Fourth Annual Track Driving School

    Dodge and Jeep Sponsor Performance School Held at GingerMan Raceway

    South Haven, Michigan (Aug. 30, 2018) – The Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), along with Dodge and Jeep, hosted the fourth annual MAMA Track Driving School this week at GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, Michigan. CGI Motorsports led nearly 20 automotive journalists in a track training session covering everything from braking techniques, vehicle weight management, vision instructions and appropriate driving position. The real schooling took place outside of the classroom and on the actual track, where MAMA media members were able to put a variety of Dodge and Jeep vehicles through their paces. Since the program’s inception, MAMA has provided professional instruction to a total of 75 students.

    “The MAMA Track School was started as an effort to ensure MAMA members are properly skilled and comfortable when driving on a racetrack, especially since we host two popular track events each year,” said MAMA President Jill Ciminillo.

    A total of ten performance vehicles were driven included the new 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack Widebody, Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, Dodge Durango SRT and Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT.

    Throughout the day, both novice and intermediate drivers were paired with driving instructors from CGI Motorsports to learn how to properly and safely drive these high-powered vehicles on a racetrack. In between the morning and afternoon sessions, Dodge Challenger brand manager, Kevin Hellman, discussed the 2019 Dodge Challenger lineup, which includes the most powerful SRT Hellcat ever with 797 horsepower, the SRT Hellcat Redeye, which was on display.

    “The Challenger continues to deliver on what our customers crave, which includes more muscle, customization, performance and in the case of the new Hellcat Redeye, more power,” said Hellman. “Teaming up with MAMA to educate their members on the joys and benefits of track driving helps to promote the Dodge message of enjoying our high horsepower vehicles in a more controlled environment.”

    MAMA members will be able to put their new skills to use at MAMA’s annual Fall Rally on Oct. 3. Held at the Autobahn Country Club in Joliet, Illinois, the Fall Rally will offer track time, street drives and an off-road course, sponsored by Jeep.

    For more information on the Midwest Automotive Media Association, please visit

  • 06 Aug 2018 3:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    During the July meeting, Buick’s Marketing Manager Brad Wolf showcased the sporty Regal GS and adventurous Regal TourX to MAMA members. According to Wolf, “Where spirited driving meets attainable luxury and sleek, sporty design meets modern usefulness, you’ll find the 2018 Regal GS. Where rugged utility meets upscale amenities, purpose-built for an active lifestyle, you’ll find the 2018 Regal TourX.”

    Wolf took MAMA members through the specifications of each vehicle, but there was a common theme: Buick aims to fill a void in the market by finding the “white space.”

    For example, the Regal GS may be a smart choice for buyers who are looking for a step above the mainstream but don’t want to break the bank for a BMW. The luxurious TourX wagon finds the sweet spot between a Subaru Outback and an Audi A4.

    Regal GS

    The Buick Regal GS combines sportiness with luxury into a spacious, all-wheel drive hatchback sedan. Notable vehicle features include massive cargo space; standard heated/cooled and massaging performance seats; intelligent AWD system with an active twin clutch; standard Brembo brakes; a standard 8-inch touchscreen and 8-inch reconfigurable instrument cluster; and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

    In terms of safety, a head-up display is available with an optional package that also includes several safety features including front pedestrian braking, lane keep assist with lane departure warning, forward collision alert and adaptive cruise control with forward automatic braking.

    Under the hood you’ll find a 3.6-liter that puts out 310 hp and 282 lb.-ft. of torque. It has some pep, reaching 0 to 60 in six seconds.

    Every Regal GS also features Buick’s Interactive Drive Control which allows the driver to tailor the car’s dynamics based on different drive experiences through a standard setting or Sport and GS modes.

    The Regal GS starts at $39,990, a more attainable price point than its competitors in the segment, according to Wolf.

    Regal TourX

    The Regal TourX is the rugged, more adventurous brother of the GS and is built for those with an active lifestyle. The five-passenger luxury wagon features best-in-class cargo space with 73.5 cubic ft. behind the first row as well as a lower roof and load height than most SUVs. Three trim levels are offered including the base, Preferred and Essence. Each trim level comes with a standard turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine, putting out 250 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque.

    Notable features on the base model include LED lights, heated mirrors, a rearview camera, OnStar communications package with 4G connection and in-vehicle Wi-Fi, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

    The next level up, Preferred, includes additional safety features such as rear parking sensors and blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems. The highest trim level, Essence, adds more luxurious features such as driver-seat memory functions and a wireless smartphone charging pad. Enhanced safety features include adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning.

    Another example of how Buick tries to fill the white space in this segment, the TourX is more likely to fit inside a garage with the roof racks on and gear (surf board, kayaks, etc.) loaded on top, compared to a traditional crossover. Wolf noted this is an extremely important feature to owners for convenience sake.

    The TourX starts at $29,070, roughly $10K lower than the Regal GS.  

    Stay tuned for communication for the next MAMA meeting, and remember to follow MAMA on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

  • 09 Jul 2018 4:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Subaru’s Car Line Planning Manager Peter Tenn recently presented the all-new Ascent to MAMA members during their monthly meeting. Now available in the Midwest, the Ascent is satisfying consumer demand as the need for a three-row SUV is on the rise. Tenn explained that Subaru is using its brand strength to conquest new customers in a segment that’s already crowded.

    Described as “family-sized, versatile and capable,” the Ascent has a bold, edgy and strong presence with sweeping lines. Tenn says comfort, styling, reliability, quality, space and safety are the main reasons for purchase in this segment, and he’s confident the Ascent delivers in each of these categories. Inside, the vehicle is spacious, elegant and functional.  

    The Ascent is designed for Americans – it easily accommodates large baby strollers, child seats, sports equipment, big luggage and enlarged coolers. One of Subaru’s main focuses when designing the Ascent was cargo capacity, and Tenn believes the vehicle is very competitive dimensionally. It offers seven-passenger seating with second-row captain's chairs or eight-passenger seating with a bench replacing the captain's chairs. With the eight-passenger bench seating, three child car seats can fit next to each other in the middle row. The door openings are extra wide to fit large child seats. 

    Subaru also focused heavily on holistic safety when designing the Ascent. All-wheel-drive and Subaru’s EyeSight system (which provides forward collision warning and emergency braking) come standard on the Ascent. Also available is lane keep assist, lane away (which, essentially, is lane departure warning with a beep warning), lead vehicle alert, EyeSight HUD (which alerts the driver when the car in front of them moves from a stationary position), reverse automatic braking, blind spot and rear traffic alert and overall excellent visibility. 

    In regards to fuel economy, the Ascent achieves 27 mpg (26 mpg for the more fully-loaded models) and doesn’t need premium gas to hit these numbers, unlike some of Ascent’s competitors. Subaru built the Ascent on its new Global Platform and the new 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine sits under the hood producing 260 hp and 277 lb.-ft. of torque. 

    Plus, the Ascent has some serious off-road cred with 8.7 ground clearance – which, surprisingly, is the same as the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk. Additionally, it has a 5,000 lb. towing capability – which is competitive for this segment – that includes trailer stability assist. 

    Technology abounds in the new the Ascent and features Subaru’s Starlink infotainment system including an eight-inch touchscreen with physical knobs (that come in handy for owners in the snowbelt states who consistently wear gloves), standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as available WiFi (the Ascent is the first Subaru vehicle to offer a WiFi hotspot). The “Entertainment Anywhere” package is also available which allows people to connect their own devices into the vehicle (i.e. two WiFi iPads or two Harman Kardon headphone sets). 

    Additional notable features include a panoramic moonroof with 100 percent UV blocking; ventilated and heated seats; rain sensing wipers; heated mirrors and windshield wipers; roof rails that can accommodate roof tents; 180-degree front-view camera; a new smart rear-view mirror (mitigating the issue when the vehicle is loaded to its gills); eight USB ports; and 19 in-vehicle cup holders. 

    The Ascent is now available at area dealerships with a starting price of $31,995 (though the price ranges upward through $45,000 for premium models). Tenn eluded to forthcoming hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Ascent; that announcement will likely come later this year. 

    Buick will host MAMA’s forthcoming July meeting to present the 2018 Buick Regal GS and the 2018 Regal TourX. 

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