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We bought an Subaru Ascent Premium a few weeks ago and now have about 800 miles on it.

I've been driving it VERY gently -- accelerating slowly, not speeding, keeping RPMs low, paying attention to fuel economy meter as I drive, etc.

The best mileage I've ever gotten on a tank (according to the average MPG on the dashboard) is 20.4, and that was mostly long (60 min +) highway trips with no traffic.

We just refilled the tank after an average amount of city/highway driving. The dashboard said 17.2 for that trip, but we calculated 16.2.

We live in California, but in a normal suburban area (not city). It has been hot here, and I do run the A/C when I drive, but I don't think that should make this much of a difference, should it?

We did get a tow package with trailer brakes installed on our car a couple days after purchase, but we haven't been towing anything, so that shouldn't make much of a difference, should it?

I'm so upset about this, as I was sort of okay with getting low 20s for gas mileage, but I'm not okay with getting 16.2 mpg.

Is there anything the dealer can do?
 

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We bought an Subaru Ascent Premium a few weeks ago and now have about 800 miles on it.

I've been driving it VERY gently -- accelerating slowly, not speeding, keeping RPMs low, paying attention to fuel economy meter as I drive, etc.

The best mileage I've ever gotten on a tank (according to the average MPG on the dashboard) is 20.4, and that was mostly long (60 min +) highway trips with no traffic.

We just refilled the tank after an average amount of city/highway driving. The dashboard said 17.2 for that trip, but we calculated 16.2.

We live in California, but in a normal suburban area (not city). It has been hot here, and I do run the A/C when I drive, but I don't think that should make this much of a difference, should it?

We did get a tow package with trailer brakes installed on our car a couple days after purchase, but we haven't been towing anything, so that shouldn't make much of a difference, should it?

I'm so upset about this, as I was sort of okay with getting low 20s for gas mileage, but I'm not okay with getting 16.2 mpg.

Is there anything the dealer can do?
One good way to determine if your vehicle is operating within the normal range is for you to monitor the instant MPG gauge up above the center console screen. Your challenge is to maintain the MPG at or above 25 MPG or so. You will soon learn how you drive makes a world of difference. Being gentle on acceleration is not the only determinate of MPG. Higher teens mpg is not unusual under certain conditions of both driving style, more stop and go traffic and AC usage. My mileage on my 2019 Limited has varied from mid teens to over 30 MPG.
 

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Miss Emmy Joe,

We've had our 2019 Ascent Limited for over 2 years and 21,000 miles and love it (it's our eighth Subaru). First the good news -- we are averaging just about 21 mpg (all mpg figures are from the car's trip computer) for the overall mileage and routinely get 24 to 27 miles/gallon on the highway averaging while driving around 77 mph on the interstate. Unfortunately we live in an urban area of Indianapolis and make a lot of short trips and get 17 to 18 mpg in the city -- my wife does most of these short trips and she has a light foot on the accelerator. However the Ascent if a big heavy car and ours can carry 8 passengers and this city mileage is probably as good as you will get with any of the other 3-row competitor vehicles that carry 7 or 8 passengers. For what it's worth, our city mileage seems to have improved about 1 to 1.5 mpg as the car has accumulated more miles.

One other suggestion -- one previous forum member suggested you might want to have the Instantaneous Gas Mileage installed as one of the favorites on your center dashboard display. I have not found this very useful since as soon as you put your foot on the accelerator, the mileage will drop close to zero and as soon as you release the gas pedal, the mileage shows 40 mpg. I have just changed from using the Instantaneous Gas Mileage and have installed the Accelerator Opening Ratio as one of the favorites on our color center multi-function display as I hope this will be more able to help us realize better gas mileage in the city. However, I am not sure if the Accelerator Opening Ratio is an option for the center display on the Ascent Premium since it has the Black and White multi-function display rather than the Color multi function display in our Limited model -- sorry.
 

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One other thing to note is how hilly an area you drive in. If I can get on the interstate which is fairly flat, we can get very good mileage >25mpg, flat city driving for us is ~20, and hilly city driving ~17. Of course YMMV (pun intended)
 

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I'm still getting used to the funky mileage on our Ascent, for it gets a really crazy city/highway split. Most cars I've driven have about a 5 mpg difference, or up to 10 at the very most, but for our Ascent we get anywhere from 14 to 16 mpg in the city, and upper 20's to 30 mpg on the highway. Big heavy car that absolutely HATES stop and go traffic, but cruises quite well. Overall we love it, though, so I put up with the low around town numbers. Sure wish I could avg at least 20 in town, though. Sigh...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I feel like people who are getting good mileage don't really understand that I strongly suspect this is the vehicle -- not my driving.

I do have that little instant MPG gauge on display, and I'm constantly trying to drive in a way that maximizes my MPG, but I'm still having this issue.

Regading highway mileage: we are currently on a road trip, and we just did a long stretch of highway only (pretty flat road, no traffic) and we still averaged 24.9 for just the highway stretch -- but these are the kind of ideal conditions where other drivers are reporting 30+.
 

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I feel like people who are getting good mileage don't really understand that I strongly suspect this is the vehicle -- not my driving.

I do have that little instant MPG gauge on display, and I'm constantly trying to drive in a way that maximizes my MPG, but I'm still having this issue.

Regading highway mileage: we are currently on a road trip, and we just did a long stretch of highway only (pretty flat road, no traffic) and we still averaged 24.9 for just the highway stretch -- but these are the kind of ideal conditions where other drivers are reporting 30+.
I believe EPA estimates are at relatively low highway speeds (55-60 mph) and from what I've seen in California on my one visit is there's zero people going that speed.

At 75 mph on the highway I've been getting around 24-26 mpg. The faster you go past around 55mph the worse the MPG.
 

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16-17 is usually pretty average for me. I’m usually pretty gentle with the throttle but don’t pay that much attention to it. There’s always a time or two in each tank I’m full throttle, so that helps bring it down too!
Anyway, on my current tank I’ve accelerated much slower and have been mindful to keep rpm’s below 2k. I still end up accelerating from traffic lights as fast or faster than traffic around me. I’ve had very little hwy driving on this tank, ac is blasting, about 100mi into the tank and I’m registering 21.9mpg. Fuel gauge is barely at ¾ mark.
Apart from random problems which haven’t been widespread, the key to mpg is in how you drive.
 

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We did not see great mileage until our first oil change. 800 miles isn't enough. Keep an eye on it.

I drove from South Bend, IN to Columbus, OH, and back. The AVG with the tailwind was 25.7. Overall round trip with city driving included was 23.7. Pretty happy with those results.
 

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One thing that will really help shed light on your driving environment is calculating your average speed. The car won't do this for you -- you'll need to do it manually. Make a note for EACH trip you take...how long was the engine running and how far did you drive? For example, if you cold-started the car at 8:00 am and drive 14 minutes to your kids' school, drop them off in the carpool lane, and then go to the grocery store and arrive at 8:26, that's a total driving time of 26 minutes, or 0.43 hours. Say your total driving distance is 5.6 miles. For that trip, and only that trip, here's how you calculate your average miles per hour.

Your driving time was 0.43 hours. Divide 1 by 0.43 and you get 2.33. This is how you'll "upscale" your distance driven. 5.6 miles times 2.33 is 13.05 -- this is your average speed, in miles per hour.

If your driving time was more than an hour, you can "downscale" your distance in the same way. If you drive 90 miles in an hour and a half (1.5 hours), divide 1 by 1.5 and you get 0.67. 90 miles times 0.67 is about 60 -- this is your average speed, in miles per hour.

The reason this is important is it can tell us (and you) a lot about how much time your car spends idling or driving very slowly. You can be a supreme hypermiler and very skilled on the right pedal, but it your driving environment has stop signs every 60 yards, it'll be impossible to get even close to the EPA city mileage estimate.

Another tip: sometimes you can actually accelerate "too slowly" and end up just using more gas. If you're accelerating to 45 mph (for example), but it takes you 30 seconds to get there, it may feel like you should be getting excellent fuel economy, but the truth is the car is always in an "acceleration mode" and may very well consume more fuel than it would if you had just accelerated at a moderately brisk pace, and then drove in "cruise mode".
 

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Just did Michigan to New Jersey, and back, last week. Average was 25mpg with 100% highway driving at 70-75mph. Sadly, that's all you'll get out of it at that speed.

When we have done "back highway" trips in Michigan where the avg speed was 55-60mph you'll see numbers more like 30mpg.
 

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To add to what I said above, I once owned a Cadillac that did keep track of the average speed (in MPH) for each tank...or at least each time I reset the trip meter. Years ago, I moved from a small town in southwestern VA to a much larger city in central NC. My average fuel economy jumped from the mid-teens to about 20 mpg. I also had a commensurate increase in average speed, from the upper teens to about 30 mph. The small town in VA had a lot of 25 mph roads and stop signs. The city in NC had a lot of wide 45 mph streets and flat highways. There was a direct correlation between average speed and fuel economy. My driving habits didn't change. The car didn't change. But its environment did, and that made a big difference in the amount of fuel consumed per mile.
 

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Many people have reported that the max highway MPG is something like 30 or 31 at 50 or 55 mph. You then lost 4mpg per 10 mph from there. Which makes sense given the EPA for this car.

The sad thing for me is the Ascent gets better MPG than my Forester right now. But the Forester is awaiting a short block.
 

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I feel like people who are getting good mileage don't really understand that I strongly suspect this is the vehicle -- not my driving.

I do have that little instant MPG gauge on display, and I'm constantly trying to drive in a way that maximizes my MPG, but I'm still having this issue.

Regading highway mileage: we are currently on a road trip, and we just did a long stretch of highway only (pretty flat road, no traffic) and we still averaged 24.9 for just the highway stretch -- but these are the kind of ideal conditions where other drivers are reporting 30+.
This is going to sound a little harsh but I mean it genuinely, what makes you feel like something is wrong with your vehicle? Several forum members, myself included, state the kind of mileage you're getting is something we see regularly. If you look at Subaru Ascent MPG - Actual MPG from 383 Subaru Ascent owners (fuelly.com) you will see that 20 is average and that lower numbers are common. There are more reported fill ups at 16 MPG than at 27, 28, 29, and 30 combined and it is more common than 26 MPG. My experience is that the folks on fuelly tend to be the ones who are trying to get the best mileage, put another way if you don't care what kind of mileage you are getting enough to track it using an app you probably don't try to maximize it either (before anyone gets mad I know this is a generalization).

My guess would be that if you take it to your dealer they will probably run some sort of diagnostics which will tell them the car thinks everything is fine. Call me grumpy but I don't have the a lot of faith in dealership technicians or the service writers.

This isn't to say that nothing can be done, others have made suggestions, and I'll add one. I have found that the tire pressure measured by my Ascent was high by about 4 PSI all the way around when it rolled off the dealer lot. I came to this conclusion using several tire pressure gauges that agree with one another and other TPMS systems. We all know that low tire pressure will significantly reduce your MPG so you might check it and see if you're tires are low, and if they are that is something the dealer can do something about.
 

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Keep in mind, most vehicles require a break in period before they start getting the mileage they will long term. I’ve read the Ascent takes a little over a couple thousand kms. So you might only be about half way there. I’m still only getting around what you are at what I think should have been enough of a break in. I’m not overjoyed with the fuel economy but not disappointed either. It’s approx same weight and power number to the 07 Ridgeline I traded in and gets a bit better mileage.
 

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Break-in period, like others have said. The first 1,000 miles are just the initial period. We notice substantial improvement in mpg as we got 3-4k miles on our new ascent (limited back back in March)
 

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Break-in period, like others have said. The first 1,000 miles are just the initial period. We notice substantial improvement in mpg as we got 3-4k miles on our new ascent (limited back back in March)
I'm calling bull on this. 4000 miles later, my milage is exactly the same as when the car had 400 miles. Makes not a difference.

For all of the wonderful things the vehicle brings to the table, decent MPGs is not one of them, which is painfully disappointing as I'm coming out of a Subaru that performed as advertised ('13 OB 2.5)
 

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We bought an Subaru Ascent Premium a few weeks ago and now have about 800 miles on it.

I've been driving it VERY gently -- accelerating slowly, not speeding, keeping RPMs low, paying attention to fuel economy meter as I drive, etc.

The best mileage I've ever gotten on a tank (according to the average MPG on the dashboard) is 20.4, and that was mostly long (60 min +) highway trips with no traffic.

We just refilled the tank after an average amount of city/highway driving. The dashboard said 17.2 for that trip, but we calculated 16.2.

We live in California, but in a normal suburban area (not city). It has been hot here, and I do run the A/C when I drive, but I don't think that should make this much of a difference, should it?

We did get a tow package with trailer brakes installed on our car a couple days after purchase, but we haven't been towing anything, so that shouldn't make much of a difference, should it?

I'm so upset about this, as I was sort of okay with getting low 20s for gas mileage, but I'm not okay with getting 16.2 mpg.

Is there anything the dealer can do?
IME running the A/C DOES affect the gas mileage, similar to other 4 cylinder vehicles and more so than with most 6 and 8 cylinder vehicles.

IME using the cruise control w/eyesight has a nearly equal impact on MPG.

Turn CC off, air off, windows down I easily get over 25 mpg.

But most days - nowhere near that. I'm nearing 20000 miles so can't blame any sort of break in.
 

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2019 Ascent Touring (CWP)
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I feel like people who are getting good mileage don't really understand that I strongly suspect this is the vehicle -- not my driving.
We do have to mention first that driving style and conditions do have a marked effect on fuel economy the majority of the time, especially with the Ascent. But you are correct...there really are some vehicles that get poor fuel economy no matter what because of something about that specific vehicle. That's regardless of make/model, too. If you feel confident that your Ascent is drinking more than it reasonably should based on your driving situations and style, you should get it evaluated by your dealer service department to get things on the record and try to identify what's causing the issue.
 
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