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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My husband and I have test-drive the new Subaru Ascent. We were looking so forward to ordering a new one to replace our Subaru Outback . We really like Subaru, we also owned a Subaru Forester.
I would like to point at a safety design issue that it is a deal breaker for us and it will probably cause a serious accident sooner than later.

All other cars with a 2nd row seat tilt we have seen , has the tilt leaver in the top or top side of the seat. Subaru has one of those, but somehow another leaver was added to the bottom side of the seat, where the back positioning leaver usually is. That bottom leaver can be released with one finger and it will tilt the back of the seat to the front forcefully and release the back-front sliding lock.

Any child in a child safety seat or booster seat can unlock the bottom leaver, however their legs not touching the ground would prevent them to lock it back in place, as any adult would do if pressing the leaver by mistake (my husband and I tried to pull the bottom leaver while seating in the 2nd row captain chairs and that's what we did but we weight more than 100lbs). It would make them fold to the front even with a child car seat attached . If a parent panics and breaks, as the car seat is unlock it will slide to the front and slam the child against the front passenger or driver seats, crushing the child further, and then slide them to the back locking the seat again.

This is a serious safety issue which has several very easy solutions (change bottom leaver position, eliminate bottom leaver or create a lock mechanism for that leaver while in motion). I have to add that the top leaver released in the second row is not accessible for a child, it is difficult even for an adult to reach while seating in the captain chair so I have no complains about that one. I will post this review to several websites to highlight the issue to other parents considering buying the Ascent, as I am sure one child will try to pull up the bottom leaver at one point.
 

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We have our Ascent with child seats in both captains chairs and operationally haven't seen this be an issue at all. I spent a lot of time playing with all the levers before and after putting the seats in (and at the test drive before we bought ours). I will check them again tonight, but it didn't seem much different than other SUV/CUVs I've looked at.
 

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My husband and I have test-drive the new Subaru Ascent. We were looking so forward to ordering a new one to replace our Subaru Outback . We really like Subaru, we also owned a Subaru Forester.
I would like to point at a safety design issue that it is a deal breaker for us and it will probably cause a serious accident sooner than later.

All other cars with a 2nd row seat tilt we have seen , has the tilt leaver in the top or top side of the seat. Subaru has one of those, but somehow another leaver was added to the bottom side of the seat, where the back positioning leaver usually is. That bottom leaver can be released with one finger and it will tilt the back of the seat to the front forcefully and release the back-front sliding lock.

Any child in a child safety seat or booster seat can unlock the bottom leaver, however their legs not touching the ground would prevent them to lock it back in place, as any adult would do if pressing the leaver by mistake (my husband and I tried to pull the bottom leaver while seating in the 2nd row captain chairs and that's what we did but we weight more than 100lbs). It would make them fold to the front even with a child car seat attached . If a parent panics and breaks, as the car seat is unlock it will slide to the front and slam the child against the front passenger or driver seats, crushing the child further, and then slide them to the back locking the seat again.

This is a serious safety issue which has several very easy solutions (change bottom leaver position, eliminate bottom leaver or create a lock mechanism for that leaver while in motion). I have to add that the top leaver released in the second row is not accessible for a child, it is difficult even for an adult to reach while seating in the captain chair so I have no complains about that one. I will post this review to several websites to highlight the issue to other parents considering buying the Ascent, as I am sure one child will try to pull up the bottom leaver at one point.


Have you looked at other brands? Everyone puts the lever in the same place and I've never once heard of ^this^ happening.

Sure it could happen, but there is a very very small chance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Have you looked at other brands? Everyone puts the lever in the same place and I've never once heard of ^this^ happening.

Sure it could happen, but there is a very very small chance.
Other brands have the lever on the top side or very top of the 2nd row seat/s. Subaru actually put one of the levers in that same position, which is absolutely safe.
I have no idea why they decided to add another lever at the bottom side of the seat where a child can pull it up and unlock the seat position, and it is not even needed as you already have the one at the top of the seat.
My 6 yo would just do it out of curiosity, we have blocked the doors and the windows in our Forester and Outback because the kids would get bored and just press something:eek:

I am really surprised Subaru's engineers didn't realize and / or remediate it adding a lock in motion or making the lever harder to pull so an adult can do it but not a child.
I am afraid an accident would have to happen for the design to be corrected.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
We have our Ascent with child seats in both captains chairs and operationally haven't seen this be an issue at all. I spent a lot of time playing with all the levers before and after putting the seats in (and at the test drive before we bought ours). I will check them again tonight, but it didn't seem much different than other SUV/CUVs I've looked at.
Check the bottom side lever, if you put some weight in the car seat, let me know how it does in terms on moving the back of the seat to the front. Also check the sliding of the seat back and forth, free sliding towards the front seats if breaking.
 

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Check the bottom side lever, if you put some weight in the car seat, let me know how it does in terms on moving the back of the seat to the front. Also check the sliding of the seat back and forth, free sliding towards the front seats if breaking.
I did use all of them after install to check all the movement and I was fine with it. But I will do so again and let you know my thoughts.

To the other point, I've been in several cars that had levers on the side and below, I can't name them now of course but I do recall this not being unique.
 

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The bottom lever is actually far far more common than the newer more modern lever on the side of the seat back.

Even more so the bottom levers on many of the 3 row vehicles are paddle style levers that get stepped on by small kids. Toyota levers are lift up not press down for a reason.

I found the Subaru levers not only recessed under the seat edge ie less likely to be hit or stepped on but also by operation far less likely to be accidentally tripped.

I get the concern, but I can think of far far far bigger safety worries with far more common statistics of child fatalities than modern car seat functions. More kids die from distracted parents forgetting a child in the car.
 

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I've used a combination of them. The Honda Pilot and Ascent have the bottom lever to go aft or forward (front and rear), but the Honda has an electric "push button" to make the seat slide down and forward in addition, it was one of the extras for the EX-L trim. The Subaru one I've driven has CC's, so I only know of the specific lever.

Personally I don't use the button much since the Honda has a bench seat and I have two car seats strapped down. I use the lever more because I can squeeze into the back by moving the bench forward, I can't use the button because it gets stuck on the seats. I'm looking forward to the CC's for this reason.

I am really surprised Subaru's engineers didn't realize and / or remediate it adding a lock in motion or making the lever harder to pull so an adult can do it but not a child.
I am afraid an accident would have to happen for the design to be corrected.
Even if the child somehow managed to disengage the locking mechanism on the floor track, in the event of an impact, it would slide up or aft and then lock immediately into place.
 

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I just checked it out again, using either lever it won't go forward enough with either of our high back boosters to allow it to slide. I could lean them back slightly, but the carseat restricts them leaning forward. I used a lot of force.

Especially with a seat belt on it would be very difficult to do what you're saying, and unless it is a weird carseat I don't see how it could lean forward past vertical. In fact I would imagine a booster base alone would be enough to wedge in there to stop it from leaning forward.

I'm not at all concerned about this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I just checked it out again, using either lever it won't go forward enough with either of our high back boosters to allow it to slide. I could lean them back slightly, but the carseat restricts them leaning forward. I used a lot of force.

Especially with a seat belt on it would be very difficult to do what you're saying, and unless it is a weird carseat I don't see how it could lean forward past vertical. In fact I would imagine a booster base alone would be enough to wedge in there to stop it from leaning forward.

I'm not at all concerned about this.
Booster seats are not tall enough to stop the back of the seat tilting forward.
Every time we pull the bottom lever (or the top lever for that matter) the back of the seat tilted forward and the seat hatch was release so it slides forth and back.
I am curious, how did you stop the sliding once you release the lever? The salesman couldn’t help us/ didn’t know how to stop it.
The full back child car seat would prevent some of the forward tilting of the back of the seat but it did not stop the seat being out of the locked at the base.

Really we are trying to understand, as we love all the other car features and the sales guy was not able to demonstrate it wouldn’t stop sliding into the front seat first and then back to its base.
 

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I just checked it out again, using either lever it won't go forward enough with either of our high back boosters to allow it to slide. I could lean them back slightly, but the carseat restricts them leaning forward. I used a lot of force.

Especially with a seat belt on it would be very difficult to do what you're saying, and unless it is a weird carseat I don't see how it could lean forward past vertical. In fact I would imagine a booster base alone would be enough to wedge in there to stop it from leaning forward.

I'm not at all concerned about this.



Same here. They may need to have their seat professionally installed as a lot of people don't install the car seats properly which may account for their experience.
 

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Booster seats are not tall enough to stop the back of the seat tilting forward.
Every time we pull the bottom lever (or the top lever for that matter) the back of the seat tilted forward and the seat hatch was release so it slides forth and back.
I am curious, how did you stop the sliding once you release the lever? The salesman couldn’t help us/ didn’t know how to stop it.
The full back child car seat would prevent some of the forward tilting of the back of the seat but it did not stop the seat being out of the locked at the base.

Really we are trying to understand, as we love all the other car features and the sales guy was not able to demonstrate it wouldn’t stop sliding into the front seat first and then back to its base.
But it has to tilt forward enough to release the seat to slide, they don't happen simultaneously. That lever isn't just for allowing third row access, it is for adjusting the seat back angle.

Our car seats in vigorous testing last night prevented forward tilt which didn't release the seat to slide.

I don't personally see how any properly installed car seat would allow it to tilt forward enough to release the seat to slide.

I also imagine (but didn't test) a booster base, with no back, with a kid on it with a seat belt on would be enough from keeping it from tilting forward enough to release as well.

This all seemed rather standard to me as has been mentioned. I am trying hard to see a problem and I can't. I can imagine if you don't have a car seat fully installed it could be different, or with looking at it with no one sitting in the seat (or without a seatbelt on).

I'll be swapping a car seat in the next few days, I'll give it one more test when I do, but I'm struggling to find a problem. And this is without saying they have to be able to lean down far enough to grab it, which if they're buckled in would be difficult, to say the least. And I imagine by the time they're big enough to reach they should also be able to hold the seat back up so it doesn't release the seat to slide.
 

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I've been trying to not comment on this but the one thing everyone is kind of missing here, is in the event that the seat does (somehow, in the most unlikely of circumstances) become unlocked, the seatbelt is not contained within the seat. The inertia reel belt will prevent the seat from sliding very far forward and slamming into the end of the rail/front seat. It may move a few inches, but it will be contained by the safety belt.

Edit: Just went out to do some testing, on a properly installed child seat, the seat isn't going to be able to move forward enough to unlock with a child sitting on it. It essentially has to tilt all the way forward to reach an unlocked state, and if that did happen, the seatbelt inertia reel lock will prevent the majority of forward movement along the seat rails. I was unable to get the seat to even unlock unless i leaned all the way forward in the seat, which I don't think would go unnoticed by a driver and pretty uncomfortable, even for a child, if even possible. Not possible if it is a high back booster seat using LATCH.
 

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I've been trying to not comment on this but the one thing everyone is kind of missing here, is in the event that the seat does (somehow, in the most unlikely of circumstances) become unlocked, the seatbelt is not contained within the seat. The inertia reel belt will prevent the seat from sliding very far forward and slamming into the end of the rail/front seat. It may move a few inches, but it will be contained by the safety belt.

Edit: Just went out to do some testing, on a properly installed child seat, the seat isn't going to be able to move forward enough to unlock with a child sitting on it. It essentially has to tilt all the way forward to reach an unlocked state, and if that did happen, the seatbelt inertia reel lock will prevent the majority of forward movement along the seat rails. I was unable to get the seat to even unlock unless i leaned all the way forward in the seat, which I don't think would go unnoticed by a driver and pretty uncomfortable, even for a child, if even possible. Not possible if it is a high back booster seat using LATCH.
What I tried to say over several posts as I tried to figure out what could be the issue. I agree that this is a non-issue.
 
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