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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I hit 1,000 miles today and figured I'd give the standard report out. Let me set the stage by saying this is my first Subaru--it's a 21 Limited. The review is going to be honest and give credit where credit is due and the same with lumps---keep in mind it is a focus group of one, but it is honest. As a comparison, when shopping I looked at the Outback, Tiguan, Cx9, Edge, CRV, NX300, Highlander, Rav4, Escape, and Grand Cherokee, so I did some homework.

1. Overall, the car is "OK". I would not call this a great driving car, I would not call this a bad driving car. Fit and finish seems ok, but nothing stellar. I'll get into details down the line.

2. Engine---it's light on power--both HP and torque. I was driving this morning and really paid attention to what the engine RPM's were doing. At 73 mph, the drivetrain did the equivalent of downshifting while going over most overpasses. The RPM's jumped from about 1900 to almost 2800 using cruise. It did this repeatedly--albeit smoothly. These were roads I have driven for 14 years and never had a vehicle do that. That seems pretty excessive. I've read so many posts about the torque and HP, but frankly, I'm not seeing it. I can't imagine towing a trailer with this. The engine is very quiet at idle, but does drone a bit, especially when cold.

3. Handling. The vehicle itself seems to handle reasonably well for it's size. It has very little body roll through the corners, but the seats have so little bolstering that you tend to get thrown around before the suspension hits it's limits. If they would have given a little more bolstering, it would have really helped. The car does seem to track pretty well at highway speeds. The vehicle drives "big", which is good. Not the easiest to park due to sight lines, but pretty manageable.

4. Gas Mileage. I realize I'm only at 1000 miles, but the mileage is pretty poor. I'm averaging 15 in town and 21 on the road. Sticker is significantly higher. My 12 year old full size 4wd V8 SUV does almost the same as this. So far, that's a big disappointment. Maybe it will improve

5. Seat comfort. It may be to early to tell, but so far, not a huge fan. I drove the car today for 80 miles and I was getting numbness from the seats already....That doesn't bode well for longer trips

6. Wind noise---I have a lot of it and it drives me crazy...much worse into a headwind. I actually have to turn up the radio driving into a headwind.

7. Lighting. The headlights and fog lights are very very good. The most articulation I've seen steering responsive headlights.

8. There are a lot of bells, chirps, alarms, warnings, etc. I'm not saying this is good or bad, but there sure are a lot of them. I've turned off as many as I could.

9. Interior space is good. Very roomy. A main reason for the purchase.

10. All-wheel drive. I haven't had a chance to test this yet as we currently have no snow on the ground, but being in MN, it's going to get a chance to shine or tarnish before the season's over.

11. Driving position/front seating. . This is very personal I realize. My wife seems to like it, but I'm still trying to find a comfortable position. Surprised the passenger seat doesn't have a height adjustment on it. My other callout is that the driver's side seems to radiate cold from the door. Not airflow, but cold. In 22f today, my left leg was cold from the mid-thigh to the ankle. No air leakage though.

12. Wireless charging pad is nearly useless. I put my phone on it and after driving 42 miles this morning, the battery went up 12%. That's a pretty slow charging rate for nearly an hour.

So, overall, what do I think about the Ascent....I'm pretty indifferent. I rent a lot of cars each year (20+) on business so I drive many different vehicles that I can compare. . I can't really say the Ascent stands out to me so far. It's not a bad vehicle, but it also doesn't inspire me to drive it. I understand that Subaru's have an impeccable safety record, which is always a great thing. I also am starting to believe that Subaru drivers seem to be looking for similar things out of a vehicle (based strictly on what I've read on the forums) which is why they have such high loyalty. I'm not sure I'm in that group. Do I wish I had bought a different vehicle? I'm not ready to say that yet, and I'm hoping it will grow on me. I want to love the car, but I don't just yet. Let's see what the next 1,000 miles brings.
 

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I agree with you on many points. I just hit 2,000 miles on my Touring and did a Thanksgiving trip from Orlando to Atlanta and back. Here are a few thoughts from my experience:

On points 1-3.. I am same.
4. Gas Mileage: Avg. 25.4 on Thanksgiving trip at 75mph. In suburbia around 19 MPG
5. Agree. Seats are just ok.
6. I have no remarkable wind noise.
7. same
8. same. Too many chirps
9. Same
10. Excellent AWD
11. Mine is perfect for both driver and passenger adjustments.
12. My wireless charging pad works great. Something is wrong with yours or your case is blocking some of the energy?

EyeSight: I have issues..see my post

Overall I like it as well as our previous Honda Pilot. Its nothing outstanding but seems like a good solid mid size SUV. Much better fit/ finish and paint than my new Tesla Model Y.
 

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2020 Ascent, 2011 WRX, 2009 Outback
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It sort of depends on what you expect. When we went from our 2015 Yukon to the 2020 Ascent it felt like a downgrade (sound system, premium trim, etc). We sort of set the bar high. However, when you put it into the perspective of the Ascent is half the price of a new Yukon it tends to elevate the Ascent. Also, if you drive an Outback for a while the Ascent feels like an upgrade. My wife was thankful we sold our Yukon before we bought the Ascent and that she had to drive a 2001 Forester for a while. It made accepting the Ascent far easier.

Do I miss the premium features of the Yukon over the Ascent, of course. Will I go back to a Yukon, probably not. Do I miss the pricing of the Yukon, heck no!
 

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Not happy , there's plenty of other to trade it in for. The perfect suv is probably the beast but that's only for POTUS. Lol
 

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I also came from a Yukon - 2013 Denali - 6.2l.

My kids feel they have more room in the 3 row with the Ascent.

The Yukon had basically zero usable space behind the 3 row; hence the Ascent shines there.

I also have a 2018 Outback with EyeSight, the beeps and chirps I have come to recognize and hence for me it was a natural progression. I am not sold on the heads up display as I am used to the beeps.

The 2.4 turbo is no 6.2; yet, it throws you in your seat quite nicely when asked.

I'm only 300 miles in though; hence, my initial impressions.
 

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2020 Ascent, 2011 WRX, 2009 Outback
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3rd row of the Yukon (non-XL) is useless too...lol. but yes, feels like way more room in the Ascent over the Yukon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I will say that for the $$$, it does seem to be a good value. Only time will tell if it's a long term winner. Here's to hoping.

Oh, BTW, does anyone else's seat heaters seem spotty? On the driver's side, there are parts that get very warm, but it seems pretty localized. Some areas are hot, others are cold. Also, do the seat heaters heat the upright portion of the seats?
 

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1. Yep. An overall OK
2. Engine power and torque are fine for me when I need and want it. RPM variation is the ECU and TCU doing what they were programmed to do by engineers with a lot of data and testing at their disposal, so I figure it's good and I'm happy letting the engine and CVT do their thing.

(all my following comments are based solely on previous experience and seat of the pants impressions)

3. Handles a somewhat better than I expected considering its size and height and compared to my previous vehicles.
4. Mileage has met exceeded my expectations considering size/weight and experience with previous vehicles. I average in the low 20s with my usual driving but have seen in the upper teens just around town and upper 20s on long highway trips...after getting used to the sensitive gas pedal.
5. The Premium's seats are OK, for us. My wife particularly likes them.
6. No usual amount of wind or road noise.
7. Premium's original QH headlights were a bit feeble and narrow. The un- DOT approved LEDs I substituted are awesome.
8. Mainly getting the usual seat belt chirps (which can be disabled if you know the secret method), doors locking/unlocking/open, and a warning if I'm about to hit something. That's similar to our other vehicles. (turned of lane departure warning)
9. Good room and space, but would prefer a flat cargo area with the the 3rd row down and a more level transition with the second row down.
10. AWD has been fine in my driving through one winter's snow in the Denver area. So far, it's comparable to my previous Audis, Lexus, Mercury...I've had no opportunity for more strenuous testing, but I assume it will work very well with its active method of apply the brake on any wheel that's spinning. I'm not an off-roading enthusiast.
11. I would prefer if I could lower the seat and particularly the front edge of the seat more. Also would like to move the steering wheel down further and further away, toward the dash.
12. No wireless charging in mine.
 

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Mine’s a ‘20 base model. I’m @ around 3000kms.
1. I’m coming from an ‘07 Ridgeline that I loved and I feel the Ascent is fantastic.
2. While it’s no rocket, it is better than I expected. Minimal lag or delays from the CVT giving a very predictable acceleration. More than enough for passing. Not sure what you’re looking for in an 8 passenger family hauler.
3. Handling is outstanding! Rides soft and smooth yet somehow is super tight and planted around corners. I was shocked at how good the handling is actually.
4. I’m getting 20mpg city, better on the hwy but don’t do much of that now that it’s winter here. Speaking of winter, mileage will suffer due to warmup time as we get deeper into the season. I’m happy with the mileage I’m getting, similar power numbers to what I had in the Ridgeline 3.5v6 and similar weight but about 4 or 5 mpg better.
5. Seats are fine, look more bolstered than they are. Nothing to write home about fine.
6. I get no wind noise at all. This thing is super quiet.
7. Lights are lights to me, never notice much difference from car to car. I don’t have the adaptive lights, seems like a neat idea if you live out in the country with unlit roads I guess. 8. Bells, chimes, warnings, I’m getting used to them. They don’t go off terribly often for me but it wants me to drive more cautiously, not a horrible thing.
9. Interior space, that was an important factor in the purchase and we are pleased with the space.
10. Awd, the other main factor in going with Subaru. So far so good on stock tires in just a few inches of snow over ice.
11. Seating position, easy for me to find a great position and the wife liked it too. (I’m 5’8” 180lb and she’s 5’3” 105lb)
12. I don’t have wireless charging and have no use for it so can’t comment.
 

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1. I tend to agree that the car is "OK". But I expected that. This is a $34k (mine's a 2019 premium) mid-tier SUV. Fit and finish are actually pretty decent IMO. It's the quality of the materials that's a bit lacking.

2. Engine - it's not as much the motor as it's the CVT. I've taken the Ascent over Donner Pass and over the passes in Yosemite with a full load of 3 kids, wife, dog, and all our gear. I did not feel lacking for "oomph" going up the hills. What I find lacking is the ability to downshift a couple of gears and rocket pass someone if I need to. There is no downshifting with a CVT.

3. Handling - just adequate. This is a tall, softly sprung SUV that leans and wallows a bit too much in the twisties. I do not feel like the motions are very well controlled in turns. The lack of control is so disconcerting that I tend to drive it like a grandma in corners since I've got the family with me and I'm just not confident that it's going to hold my line in a turn. My Audi allroad never had that problem. It would claw its way through turns with confidence and I always knew how close I was to the limit. Heck, my F450 with its dual rear wheels feels more confident in turns at speed.

4. Gas mileage - here I'm pleasantly surprised. I'm getting about 23 mpg in rural city driving, which doesn't have that many stop signs or stop lights. On the freeway we typically get 27 or more. And that's with a roof box. With 3 kids, wife, dawg, roofbox, and lots of gear, I'm more than satisfied to get 27 mpg.

5. Seat Comfort - LOVE the seats. That's why I ordered the cloth seats. I hate leather. Leather is hard and cold in the winter, burns me and is sweaty in the summer. The cloth seats feel softer and I never feel sweaty. They also grip much better. My wife's Odyssey has rock hard leather seats. I can't drive her van for more than 1.5 hrs before my buttocks (Forrest Gump voice) start to ache!

6. Wind noise - haven't noticed it.

7. Lighting - Premium comes with crappy headlights. I installed aftermarket Beamtech hi and lo LED bulbs, which have greatly improved the lighting. I've also replaced all the interior bulbs with LEDs. The rear trunk light is a POS. Whomever designed that atrocity needs to be fired. I'm going to be modifying the thing and adding a light to the ceiling where it should have been in the first place.

8. Chirps and warnings don't bother me at all. I've got triplet boys in the car. A few electronic buzzes and chirps are nothing compared to my kids lol.

9. Interior Space - pretty decent. Not cavernous but it's efficient. I like the captains chairs because it allows kid #3 to scramble into the back seat without having to put the seatback down on a second row seat. I can fold down the 2/3 part of the back seat so that we have more room for stuff. Nevertheless, on a long trip with the fam, we need the rooftop box to fit in all our gear.

10. AWD - Subaru's AWD system is definitely one of the better systems out there. No it's not a rock crawling machine. That's not what this thing is for. But it will get you down some nasty roads if you have the right tires. And when it's pouring rain out there and other cars are having a tough time, the Subaru just works. This was a huge selling point for us. Our previous Subie was an Outback which we also loved.

11. Driving position - seems fine to me. Seats are comfortable and my mirrors are adjustable so that I don't really have blind spots. The BLIS system really helps. So does adaptive cruise. Eyesight really takes a lot of stress out of driving.

12. Wireless charging - don't have it and frankly I don't care since Car Play requires a wired connection. I do love the Car Play integration.

Overall the Ascent is what I expected of it. This is a mid to lower priced SUV that's practical, not overly large, drives decently well, and is safe. I believe that's how Subaru designed and marketed it. I have several other cars but I drive the Ascent the most because it's practical, comfortable and easy to drive.

I do have a Ford Bronco 4 door with the big Sasquatch pkg on order so we'll see if I decide to keep the Ascent after I take delivery of the Bronco. The Bronco won't hold as many people or as much stuff, but it'll get us further off-road when we want some adventure.

So, I hit 1,000 miles today and figured I'd give the standard report out. Let me set the stage by saying this is my first Subaru--it's a 21 Limited. The review is going to be honest and give credit where credit is due and the same with lumps---keep in mind it is a focus group of one, but it is honest. As a comparison, when shopping I looked at the Outback, Tiguan, Cx9, Edge, CRV, NX300, Highlander, Rav4, Escape, and Grand Cherokee, so I did some homework.

1. Overall, the car is "OK". I would not call this a great driving car, I would not call this a bad driving car. Fit and finish seems ok, but nothing stellar. I'll get into details down the line.

2. Engine---it's light on power--both HP and torque. I was driving this morning and really paid attention to what the engine RPM's were doing. At 73 mph, the drivetrain did the equivalent of downshifting while going over most overpasses. The RPM's jumped from about 1900 to almost 2800 using cruise. It did this repeatedly--albeit smoothly. These were roads I have driven for 14 years and never had a vehicle do that. That seems pretty excessive. I've read so many posts about the torque and HP, but frankly, I'm not seeing it. I can't imagine towing a trailer with this. The engine is very quiet at idle, but does drone a bit, especially when cold.

3. Handling. The vehicle itself seems to handle reasonably well for it's size. It has very little body roll through the corners, but the seats have so little bolstering that you tend to get thrown around before the suspension hits it's limits. If they would have given a little more bolstering, it would have really helped. The car does seem to track pretty well at highway speeds. The vehicle drives "big", which is good. Not the easiest to park due to sight lines, but pretty manageable.

4. Gas Mileage. I realize I'm only at 1000 miles, but the mileage is pretty poor. I'm averaging 15 in town and 21 on the road. Sticker is significantly higher. My 12 year old full size 4wd V8 SUV does almost the same as this. So far, that's a big disappointment. Maybe it will improve

5. Seat comfort. It may be to early to tell, but so far, not a huge fan. I drove the car today for 80 miles and I was getting numbness from the seats already....That doesn't bode well for longer trips

6. Wind noise---I have a lot of it and it drives me crazy...much worse into a headwind. I actually have to turn up the radio driving into a headwind.

7. Lighting. The headlights and fog lights are very very good. The most articulation I've seen steering responsive headlights.

8. There are a lot of bells, chirps, alarms, warnings, etc. I'm not saying this is good or bad, but there sure are a lot of them. I've turned off as many as I could.

9. Interior space is good. Very roomy. A main reason for the purchase.

10. All-wheel drive. I haven't had a chance to test this yet as we currently have no snow on the ground, but being in MN, it's going to get a chance to shine or tarnish before the season's over.

11. Driving position/front seating. . This is very personal I realize. My wife seems to like it, but I'm still trying to find a comfortable position. Surprised the passenger seat doesn't have a height adjustment on it. My other callout is that the driver's side seems to radiate cold from the door. Not airflow, but cold. In 22f today, my left leg was cold from the mid-thigh to the ankle. No air leakage though.

12. Wireless charging pad is nearly useless. I put my phone on it and after driving 42 miles this morning, the battery went up 12%. That's a pretty slow charging rate for nearly an hour.

So, overall, what do I think about the Ascent....I'm pretty indifferent. I rent a lot of cars each year (20+) on business so I drive many different vehicles that I can compare. . I can't really say the Ascent stands out to me so far. It's not a bad vehicle, but it also doesn't inspire me to drive it. I understand that Subaru's have an impeccable safety record, which is always a great thing. I also am starting to believe that Subaru drivers seem to be looking for similar things out of a vehicle (based strictly on what I've read on the forums) which is why they have such high loyalty. I'm not sure I'm in that group. Do I wish I had bought a different vehicle? I'm not ready to say that yet, and I'm hoping it will grow on me. I want to love the car, but I don't just yet. Let's see what the next 1,000 miles brings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks to all who have added/tagged onto my points. It seems that my impressions aren't that far off from some users. The biggest difference I'm seeing (based on what's posted) is the MPG. At this point, even when looking at the instant MPG calculator, I'm no where near what's being reported. Maybe I don't drive like a stereotypical Subaru owner (I usually pass them in the right lane because they are 3mph under in the left lane around here).....LOL. Maybe it's just not broken in. When I fill the tank, the DTE says 450 which is not realistic, and so far, I haven't made it to 300 before the fuel light comes on. I knew going in that it was not going to be a sporty vehicle, but I did think there were be a little more spirit out of it. Heck, my full size SUV is more spirited on the road than the Ascent. My biggest challenge right now is the accelerator tip in. It seems to move off the line initially ok under normal acceleration, but when it hits the "1-2 shift", it falls flat....really really flat, then when I stab the gas, it begins to move again. It's not turbo lag, its more like the 2nd "gear" is too tall on the CVT. Admittedly, this is my first CVT, so maybe that's normal, but it's almost dangerous...almost like the car loses power for a second then catches up. I mean it drops to 1100 rpm after the "faux shift" around 15mph then resumes. That's not much above idle. It actually feels like the engine is lugging for a quick second.

We'll see how it does in the snow/ice, which was a huge reason for the purchase (the reputation). Anyway, thanks for the input everyone.
 

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I agree with you on many points. I just hit 2,000 miles on my Touring and did a Thanksgiving trip from Orlando to Atlanta and back. Here are a few thoughts from my experience:

On points 1-3.. I am same.
4. Gas Mileage: Avg. 25.4 on Thanksgiving trip at 75mph. In suburbia around 19 MPG
5. Agree. Seats are just ok.
6. I have no remarkable wind noise.
7. same
8. same. Too many chirps
9. Same
10. Excellent AWD
11. Mine is perfect for both driver and passenger adjustments.
12. My wireless charging pad works great. Something is wrong with yours or your case is blocking some of the energy?

EyeSight: I have issues..see my post

Overall I like it as well as our previous Honda Pilot. Its nothing outstanding but seems like a good solid mid size SUV. Much better fit/ finish and paint than my new Tesla Model Y.
Funny you mention the Model Y. I actually traded in a model 3 for the ascent. I felt the quality control, fit/finish, material quality was not worth the price. Last straw was when it shorted out and lost power on the highway. I do miss the driving experience. Ascent is meh, but I feel my family is safer in it.
 

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Interesting that you mention the loss of power at the "1-2 shift". I had this exact same phenomenon on both my Outback and the Ascent. I had to bring the Subie in for a TSB where they reprogrammed the CVT. After that that hesitation is gone. I can't imagine that a '21 model wouldn't already have the latest software but it might not hurt to search the forum for the TSB.

Thanks to all who have added/tagged onto my points. It seems that my impressions aren't that far off from some users. The biggest difference I'm seeing (based on what's posted) is the MPG. At this point, even when looking at the instant MPG calculator, I'm no where near what's being reported. Maybe I don't drive like a stereotypical Subaru owner (I usually pass them in the right lane because they are 3mph under in the left lane around here).....LOL. Maybe it's just not broken in. When I fill the tank, the DTE says 450 which is not realistic, and so far, I haven't made it to 300 before the fuel light comes on. I knew going in that it was not going to be a sporty vehicle, but I did think there were be a little more spirit out of it. Heck, my full size SUV is more spirited on the road than the Ascent. My biggest challenge right now is the accelerator tip in. It seems to move off the line initially ok under normal acceleration, but when it hits the "1-2 shift", it falls flat....really really flat, then when I stab the gas, it begins to move again. It's not turbo lag, its more like the 2nd "gear" is too tall on the CVT. Admittedly, this is my first CVT, so maybe that's normal, but it's almost dangerous...almost like the car loses power for a second then catches up. I mean it drops to 1100 rpm after the "faux shift" around 15mph then resumes. That's not much above idle. It actually feels like the engine is lugging for a quick second.

We'll see how it does in the snow/ice, which was a huge reason for the purchase (the reputation). Anyway, thanks for the input everyone.
 

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So, I hit 1,000 miles today and figured I'd give the standard report out. Let me set the stage by saying this is my first Subaru--it's a 21 Limited. The review is going to be honest and give credit where credit is due and the same with lumps---keep in mind it is a focus group of one, but it is honest. As a comparison, when shopping I looked at the Outback, Tiguan, Cx9, Edge, CRV, NX300, Highlander, Rav4, Escape, and Grand Cherokee, so I did some homework.

1. Overall, the car is "OK". I would not call this a great driving car, I would not call this a bad driving car. Fit and finish seems ok, but nothing stellar. I'll get into details down the line.

2. Engine---it's light on power--both HP and torque. I was driving this morning and really paid attention to what the engine RPM's were doing. At 73 mph, the drivetrain did the equivalent of downshifting while going over most overpasses. The RPM's jumped from about 1900 to almost 2800 using cruise. It did this repeatedly--albeit smoothly. These were roads I have driven for 14 years and never had a vehicle do that. That seems pretty excessive. I've read so many posts about the torque and HP, but frankly, I'm not seeing it. I can't imagine towing a trailer with this. The engine is very quiet at idle, but does drone a bit, especially when cold.

3. Handling. The vehicle itself seems to handle reasonably well for it's size. It has very little body roll through the corners, but the seats have so little bolstering that you tend to get thrown around before the suspension hits it's limits. If they would have given a little more bolstering, it would have really helped. The car does seem to track pretty well at highway speeds. The vehicle drives "big", which is good. Not the easiest to park due to sight lines, but pretty manageable.

4. Gas Mileage. I realize I'm only at 1000 miles, but the mileage is pretty poor. I'm averaging 15 in town and 21 on the road. Sticker is significantly higher. My 12 year old full size 4wd V8 SUV does almost the same as this. So far, that's a big disappointment. Maybe it will improve

5. Seat comfort. It may be to early to tell, but so far, not a huge fan. I drove the car today for 80 miles and I was getting numbness from the seats already....That doesn't bode well for longer trips

6. Wind noise---I have a lot of it and it drives me crazy...much worse into a headwind. I actually have to turn up the radio driving into a headwind.

7. Lighting. The headlights and fog lights are very very good. The most articulation I've seen steering responsive headlights.

8. There are a lot of bells, chirps, alarms, warnings, etc. I'm not saying this is good or bad, but there sure are a lot of them. I've turned off as many as I could.

9. Interior space is good. Very roomy. A main reason for the purchase.

10. All-wheel drive. I haven't had a chance to test this yet as we currently have no snow on the ground, but being in MN, it's going to get a chance to shine or tarnish before the season's over.

11. Driving position/front seating. . This is very personal I realize. My wife seems to like it, but I'm still trying to find a comfortable position. Surprised the passenger seat doesn't have a height adjustment on it. My other callout is that the driver's side seems to radiate cold from the door. Not airflow, but cold. In 22f today, my left leg was cold from the mid-thigh to the ankle. No air leakage though.

12. Wireless charging pad is nearly useless. I put my phone on it and after driving 42 miles this morning, the battery went up 12%. That's a pretty slow charging rate for nearly an hour.

So, overall, what do I think about the Ascent....I'm pretty indifferent. I rent a lot of cars each year (20+) on business so I drive many different vehicles that I can compare. . I can't really say the Ascent stands out to me so far. It's not a bad vehicle, but it also doesn't inspire me to drive it. I understand that Subaru's have an impeccable safety record, which is always a great thing. I also am starting to believe that Subaru drivers seem to be looking for similar things out of a vehicle (based strictly on what I've read on the forums) which is why they have such high loyalty. I'm not sure I'm in that group. Do I wish I had bought a different vehicle? I'm not ready to say that yet, and I'm hoping it will grow on me. I want to love the car, but I don't just yet. Let's see what the next 1,000 miles brings.
I've just passed 7 months (21 Touring) I don't have all the same issues you mention but can identify with a few. I would add that my biggest complaint is under light acceleration turning into traffic the engine RPMs fall flat! It's to the point I'm embarrassed when driving friends. I don't dislike the car but if I needed to replace it in an emergency would I run to the dealership and buy another one the answer is no. The Subaru replaced a 2014 Grand Cherokee Limited and I would definitely go back. I chose the Subaru (my third) because of the size and I didn't want to buy a new car that looked almost identical to the one I traded in.
 

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I've just passed 7 months (21 Touring) I don't have all the same issues you mention but can identify with a few. I would add that my biggest complaint is under light acceleration turning into traffic the engine RPMs fall flat! It's to the point I'm embarrassed when driving friends. I don't dislike the car but if I needed to replace it in an emergency would I run to the dealership and buy another one the answer is no.
This is a very commonly discussed topic on this board. There are a few ways to combat this.

1) Write a letter to Subaru. Please! Here's mine. Please write something similar and send it their way: CVT Programming | Subaru Ascent Forum (ascentforums.com)

2) Drive it in manual mode when it's bothersome. The engine falling flat isn't an engine issue, but simply the CVT shifting into a ratio that is consistent with the virtual "third gear". So it's as if you had an 8-speed transmission that shifted from 1st (take off) to 3rd (right after take off). That'd be silly, right? Our transmission does it. If you drive it in manual mode and use the paddle shifters, this is entirely eliminated...because you're telling the transmission what to do.

3) Time your right foot. I think many of us have gotten pretty good at this...but it's a bit of a dance. As you take off with a light foot, the engine speed will surge up to near 1800-2000 rpm or so and you'll start moving. A second or two later, and if you don't increase the throttle, the CVT will change the ratios (sometimes aggressively) and put the engine down to about 1200 rpm. But if you increase the throttle just as it is doing (or about to do) this, it'll basically hold the engine speed where it is and will smoothly continue to accelerate. I found the throttle % tile very helpful (in the dash-top display) when training myself on this. I will typically start out at about 10-12% throttle and then, timed just right after a lot of practice, will quickly but smoothly increase it to about 25% throttle. This keeps the acceleration rate (and engine speed) pretty smooth.

This issue doesn't really impact drivers with a heavier foot. My wife doesn't really notice this problem because she's on the gas when she's driving. :ROFLMAO: But I intentionally try to drive very smoothly and moderately...and the Ascent's CVT programming doesn't handle that very well.

Please join the chorus of those who have spoken out to Subaru and write them to voice your frustration. As I noted in my letter to them, even Motor Trend called them out on this programming behavior. If an automotive rag identifies something as an annoyance to be fixed...then I think it's a legitimate issue.
 

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This is a very commonly discussed topic on this board. There are a few ways to combat this.

1) Write a letter to Subaru. Please! Here's mine. Please write something similar and send it their way: CVT Programming | Subaru Ascent Forum (ascentforums.com)

2) Drive it in manual mode when it's bothersome. The engine falling flat isn't an engine issue, but simply the CVT shifting into a ratio that is consistent with the virtual "third gear". So it's as if you had an 8-speed transmission that shifted from 1st (take off) to 3rd (right after take off). That'd be silly, right? Our transmission does it. If you drive it in manual mode and use the paddle shifters, this is entirely eliminated...because you're telling the transmission what to do.

3) Time your right foot. I think many of us have gotten pretty good at this...but it's a bit of a dance. As you take off with a light foot, the engine speed will surge up to near 1800-2000 rpm or so and you'll start moving. A second or two later, and if you don't increase the throttle, the CVT will change the ratios (sometimes aggressively) and put the engine down to about 1200 rpm. But if you increase the throttle just as it is doing (or about to do) this, it'll basically hold the engine speed where it is and will smoothly continue to accelerate. I found the throttle % tile very helpful (in the dash-top display) when training myself on this. I will typically start out at about 10-12% throttle and then, timed just right after a lot of practice, will quickly but smoothly increase it to about 25% throttle. This keeps the acceleration rate (and engine speed) pretty smooth.

This issue doesn't really impact drivers with a heavier foot. My wife doesn't really notice this problem because she's on the gas when she's driving. :ROFLMAO: But I intentionally try to drive very smoothly and moderately...and the Ascent's CVT programming doesn't handle that very well.

Please join the chorus of those who have spoken out to Subaru and write them to voice your frustration. As I noted in my letter to them, even Motor Trend called them out on this programming behavior. If an automotive rag identifies something as an annoyance to be fixed...then I think it's a legitimate issue.
Thanks! Yes I did contact Subaru and got the standard response. I'm told they monitor this Forum and I'm not kidding when I say I'll not buy another Subaru unless this is addressed. I know RPMs relate directly to MPG and I believe that is the only issue here. Doesn't it seem a little strange having to figure out how to drive a 40K something car to make it accelerate smoothly? Thanks again.
 

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Thanks! Yes I did contact Subaru and got the standard response. I'm told they monitor this Forum and I'm not kidding when I say I'll not buy another Subaru unless this is addressed. I know RPMs relate directly to MPG and I believe that is the only issue here. Doesn't it seem a little strange having to figure out how to drive a 40K something car to make it accelerate smoothly? Thanks again.
I find the diagonal foot, toes-only on the pedal method works for excruciatingly precise control (which is fortunate, considering that exacting control is necessary for some of the off-roading I do where I am making climbs at the edges of hills or even cliffs).

If this does not work for you (or you're already doing it and it isn't working for you), there are a couple of ECU updates that may help. Right most image/position is the most utterly horrible for our style gas pedal - and apparently a very common method.

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As for "the standard response", it really means what it says - they actually do track owner input, and, often make changes based on owner input. So, in the case of Subaru, it's a good thing. Many of the refinements in the 2020 and 2021 model year were because people wrote them, and got that same standard response. ;)
 

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Thanks! Yes I did contact Subaru and got the standard response. I'm told they monitor this Forum and I'm not kidding when I say I'll not buy another Subaru unless this is addressed. I know RPMs relate directly to MPG and I believe that is the only issue here. Doesn't it seem a little strange having to figure out how to drive a 40K something car to make it accelerate smoothly? Thanks again.
Subaru told Motor Trend that they did this to dampen the turbocharged engine's output. In other words, keeping the engine speed low at initial take off keeps the car from feeling too jumpy. Fair enough -- if you drive it in manual mode you'll indeed find that there's no lag or bog and, relative to how it responds in automatic mode, it feels like it wants to run away on you. The throttle is pretty sensitive on this car and the weird CVT programming doesn't help. From what I understand, the Outback XT models (with the same FA24F engine) behave pretty similarly, which is consistent with Subaru saying they're trying to mitigate turbo surge. And the naturally-aspirated models (Outback, Forester, etc.) don't drive anything like our Ascent. They drive about as you'd expect a car to drive. Which, again, is consistent with Subaru saying they're trying to mitigate turbo surge.

I think they probably could have accomplished their goal using a different approach. Unfortunately, we have what we have. I hope a flood of complains compels them to try to attack it from a different angle somehow. I'd absolutely buy another Subaru (I love the Outback loaners I've had), but I wouldn't buy another FA24F-powered model (Outback XT, Ascent, etc.) unless they fix this. This programming doesn't bother some people, and it drives others totally nuts. You and I both are in the second category, apparently. :cool:

Trying to work the throttle smoothly is about the only thing I think about in the Ascent (because I find it so difficult to pull off truly smooth driving). I wanted to try a CVT-powered car because I'm so intentional about driving smoothly. I had higher hopes for it. I'm okay with it with the workarounds I've suggested above, including the driving foot position Robert suggests above. But I'd avoid this powertrain next time if I have the choice. We love the car. I sorely dislike the throttle programming.
 
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