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Yes, I Really Do Need That Many Cup Holders

With the introduction of the all-new Subaru Ascent 3-row crossover, one thing that everybody seems to be focusing on is how many cup holders it has. The grand total cup holder count in the Ascent is 19, which, even as a minivan driver, I must admit is pretty impressive. Granted, many of those are the cup holder indents in the doors that nobody actually uses, but it’s still a ton of beverage holders by anyone’s standards.

But many people scoff at how many cup holders large family vehicles have. Why does a vehicle that can only seat seven people need 19 cup holders? Good question. Are you also wondering why the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon needs 840 horsepower? Or why anyone really needs massaging, heated and cooled leather seats? Why do you need a car capable of going faster than the speed limit?

My point is this: When has automotive taste ever been about what we need, nothing more and nothing less? Of course, nobody actually needs two or three cup holders for every passenger, but it’s really nice to have more cup holders than you actually need, especially in a family vehicle. Nobody needs 840 horsepower, but last I heard, Dodge isn’t having any trouble selling Demons.

My 2007 Honda Odyssey has 17 cup holders, and I can’t believe how often several of them are in use. Like many other things about my Odyssey, the cup holder situation makes me wonder how I ever lived without a minivan. I have two kids, only one of whom is old enough to consume beverages from a normal cup, and my Odyssey is constantly filled with cups. But you know what? Those cups are never lying around on the floor of the van. They’re always neatly organized in the vast expanse of cup holders in my Odyssey. I’m not proud of how often I have to remove old, soggy takeout cups from one of my van’s 17 cup holders, but in those moments, I’m really glad I have more cup holders than I actually need.

I need 17 cup holders not because I’m transporting 17 cups with me at all times for my family of four, but because I just need to have a lot of places where cups can be held. It’s an extreme convenience that I’m happy to have. I’m not nearly enough of a killjoy to ask someone with a high-powered sports car why they really need all that power. For the same reason, don’t ask your friends who go out and buy the Subaru Ascent why they really need 19 cup holders. Cup holders are a lot like horsepower; having more than you need might not be necessary, but it sure is nice.

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  1. Imagine a world where the government mandated GPS controlled governors on cars that limit the speed it travels based on the speed limit… It would almost be as dull as having all cars drive themselves…

  2. Gotta say, the Ascent really hits the mark for what they were aiming. My mom just picked up hers and it’s literally the perfect 3-row, safe family-hauler. Apple CarPlay, Subie AWD, Turbo boxer 4, and plenty of space (especially with the 2nd row captain chairs.) It’s a Toyota Highlander that can actually handle off-road and winter weather.

  3. Totally agree.  My Wrangler only has (2) in the front (and (2) more if you count the little ghetto nets on the doors I put empty cans in) and once I’ve got a phone in one and a drive-through order or drinks coming in, I’d love to have a couple more somewhere nearby. 

    Plus, this Subie isn’t some off-road monster or speed-focused vehicle, people expect bins, cubbies, and cup holders.  Done.

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Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt is an author specializing in Oversteer content, new car reviews, and finding the best car, truck, and SUV deals each month. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Eric can often be found exploring the north woods on his 1983 Honda Gold Wing when the weather allows it. Father of four, husband of one, and unapologetic minivan enthusiast. Eric mastered driving stick by having a 3-cylinder Chevy... Read More about Eric Brandt

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