Over a year passed since Subaru Philippines previewed the Evoltis flagship crossover. It was supposed to be launched during the second half of 2020. However, we all know why that plan got derailed. The Evoltis preview was the last event we attended before lockdown.
Fast forward to 2021, and the large crossover is now sitting in local showrooms, ready to be taken home. That also means we get to see what the local-spec Evoltis has to offer. Keep in mind that only one variant is available, but we're glad to report that it is loaded.
All Evoltis models in the Philippines come with LED headlights with high beam assist and steering response capabilities. These headlights are also self-leveling for more effective illumination. The Evoltis wouldn't be a Subaru crossover if it wasn't available with a massive sunroof. Thankfully, it's standard for the local version. For extra utility, it also has load-bearing roof rails.
There are several neat features inside the Evoltis. At the front, it has 10-way power-adjustable seats for the driver and four-way power-adjust for the passenger. Not only that, these seats can be ventilated or heated at a press of a button. It also has the largest available infotainment screen for this model. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard as they should be in a flagship model.
Instead of a bench, the second row features a pair of captain's chairs. Those sitting there are also treated to their own climate control system. There are also window blinds to keep the sun's rays out or to complete the VIP experience. As for the third-row, the Evoltis is wide enough to accommodate three occupants. That makes this crossover a seven-seater despite having just two seats in the middle. Subaru is also proud of the fact that there are 19 cupholders inside.
Since this is a Subaru we're talking about, it comes with the EyeSight active safety suite. It includes adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane sway warning, automatic emergency braking, and pre-collision throttle management, just to name a few. It also has the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's seal of approval with its Top Safety Pick + badge.
Under the hood of the Evoltis is a new 2.4-liter boxer engine with 260 PS and 375 Nm of torque. The lone gearbox option is a continuously variable transmission, a first in its segment. Subaru claims up to 8.9 kilometers per liter in the city and 11.5 kilometers per liter on the highway.
The 2021 Evoltis is pitched as a premium crossover, so it's up against models such as the Hyundai Palisade, Mazda CX-9, and the recently (and quietly) launched Ford Explorer. As for pricing, it starts at PHP 3,480,000. That's because the Evoltis does not fall under JPEPA, a tax exemption for certain Japanese cars. There are two reasons why it's not exempt from the additional duties. One, the engine is less than 3,000 cc and, two, it's not assembled in Japan. In fact, the Evoltis/Ascent is assembled in the US at Subaru's Lafayette, Indiana facility.