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Hi all,

I am a longtime Outback owner considering purchasing an Ascent. I like the Touring trim and I went to test drive one today, but I was quite dismayed. It seemed very loud in the cabin on the freeway and the seat seemed high - really high - above the center console and shifter. I am currently driving an older Lexus GX, so obviously my perception of noise is a little skewed. However, I watched the review videos done by Alex on Autos for both the Ascent and the GX, and his measurements suggest the Ascent should be comparable to the GX - 72 dba in the Ascent vs. 71.5 in the GX. So I'm puzzled about this. Maybe its the tires?

Second - I felt like the seating position was very high above the console. I had to reach way down to shift from park to drive. It seemed like it had to be this way to see over the hood? But I have trouble with seating adjustments all the time so maybe I just didn't fuss with it enough. I'm 6-foot-2 so I should have plenty of height to not need to be up so high.

I really liked the car otherwise. The engine is definitely very lively and delivers great power with the CVT. Maybe some people on here have suggestions about what I can do on a subsequent test drive to address these concerns better?
 

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Exterior noise is generally related to both tires and the particular roads you are traveling on. Improperly inflated (overinflated) tires can exacerbate the noise level, too.

The driver's seat is fully adjustable in height. While I prefer it at the top, many folks prefer it as low as "go kart" height. The adjustments are on the door side and pretty much operate the same was as in most other vehicles. You additionally have the adjustable front portion of the driver's seat which is unique to the Touring trim on the Ascent. The steering column height/tilt is also adjustable as in most vehicles.

When you go back for another test drive take a few minutes to get your driver's position setup to where it's most comfortable to you. Don't let the dealer rush you on this. It's important. While most folks are very comfortable in a given vehicle, it's not universal and there is always someone that cannot get comfortable at all...which means it's not the best choice for a ride.

Enjoy!
 
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I just got my Ascent, and am very used to driving our 2018 Outback. The cockpit feel is very different between the 2 (IMO). I have my Ascent seat as low as it can go, and I still feel like I'm up a bit higher than I want to be, but not awkwardly so. In contrast, I feel like the floor is lower than I would expect for a vehicle of this size, so maybe the "tall" feeling in the seat is some compromise to account for that?

The Outback center console does feel much higher, which I actually prefer. It makes me feel much more "in" the cockpit vs just occupying it, like I feel in the Ascent. It's not off-putting, and I'm adjusting, but as stated above if you can't get comfortable then you can't get comfortable.

Good luck with the search!
 

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I'm not sure when compared to the Lexus, but I find the Ascent quieter than the rest of our Subarus. Especially my WRX.

Compared to the previous Yukon we had it still seems quiet overall.
 

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I have a 2019 Touring and find it to be exceptionally quiet. Also, I'm 6'2" and don't feel that the seating position is too high. Arrange for another test drive, but before you take that test drive, drive the same route in your outback, then make the same trip in the Ascent. Follow Jim-in-Pa's suggestion of taking the time to get the seat where you want it. Also, make certain all of the windows are fully up. The seat and the steering wheel are fully adjustable, so take the time to get everything right. Hope this helps!
 

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One of the things to remember is that many SUV vehicles are inherently designed for the seating position to be more upright. That's always been true of the Forester and the Ascent is the same way for me...almost identical to the Grand Cherokee I drove previously. Folks coming from sedans and wagons (like the Outback) are going to notice a difference. I was never overly comfortable in our Outbacks; but the Forester and Ascent are spot on for me.
 

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Also, were there cross bars on the roof? If so, they may add a bit of wind noise. Especially if they are installed backwards as some dealers tend to do. IIRC the "fat" end should face forward, though I'm not 100% sure on that.
 

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IIRC the "fat" end should face forward, though I'm not 100% sure on that.
That is correct....fat side forward into the wind. It's an airfoil.
 

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^ I've had my share of loud(er [BL-chassis LGT with a single-cat header-back, with P&P'ed aftermarket manifolds and a pair of Invidia axel-backs], and also louder-er ['95 TSi with a fully decatted GReddy SP, also with a P&P'ed manifold], cars!), but the Ascent is practically ASMR-quiet when compared against my wife's factory-stock WRX. :ROFLMAO: :p (y)

I must be getting old, as I now get annoyed when my wife sits in her car - in our detached garage - to finish up a work call. "You're rattling my windows, lady!!!!"

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I am a longtime Outback owner considering purchasing an Ascent. I like the Touring trim and I went to test drive one today, but I was quite dismayed. It seemed very loud in the cabin on the freeway and the seat seemed high - really high - above the center console and shifter. I am currently driving an older Lexus GX, so obviously my perception of noise is a little skewed. However, I watched the review videos done by Alex on Autos for both the Ascent and the GX, and his measurements suggest the Ascent should be comparable to the GX - 72 dba in the Ascent vs. 71.5 in the GX. So I'm puzzled about this. Maybe its the tires?
Cabin NVH measurements may not mesh objectively versus subjectively. There may be some specific harshness that you are simply more attuned-to for some reason. Nothing wrong with you - and nothing really wrong, per-se, with the vehicle, either. It's just a weird incompatibility,.

Back to my wife, who, as an example, loved her '16 WRX so much that I got her a '19 WRX to replace it with. She's NEVER even so much as cracked a smile when she test-drove a car, and she was practically giddy behind the wheel test-driving the '16, so I insisted that I was going to get it for her. One thing during that initial test drive, though -a cabin exhaust resonance at around the 25 MPH mark- bothered her so much that she thought she wouldn't be able to actually live with the car day-to-day....the solution? She just doesn't really putter around at that exact mark. ;)

If you really like the Ascent enough that you'd like to take another test-drive, ask for an extended test-drive, and pay attention to what is specifically bothering you. It's possible that it's something that can be easily addressed - or it may be a real deal-killer.

Even an older Lexus or other luxury vehicle carries a lot of sound-deadening and other cabin-NVH dampening measures that still work well despite the vehicle's aging chassis. The Ascent being a different class of vehicle may simply not be a good fit for you, in this respect. Nothing really wrong with that. :)

Second - I felt like the seating position was very high above the console. I had to reach way down to shift from park to drive. It seemed like it had to be this way to see over the hood? But I have trouble with seating adjustments all the time so maybe I just didn't fuss with it enough. I'm 6-foot-2 so I should have plenty of height to not need to be up so high.
I am one of those who, as @Jim_in_PA noted, love to have the seat so low that it replicates a go-cart. I'm 6' even, with "average" upper body length, and feel that I have more than enough visual height to clear the hood (that said, no modern vehicle of the last 20 years or so have had the "drop away to the road" feel that some previous-generation vehicles have had, due to pedestrian-impact safety standards), even with the seat bottomed-out. Combined with a rather generous recline (for the time being, as a recurring chronic right ankle injury currently has me in a left-foot-drive adaptive setup), there's headroom for days, even with the moonroof shade closed.

From looking at online pictures of a 2010 MY Lexus GX, it does seem that the seat-to-wheel-to-shift console relationship is somewhat different than that offered in the Ascent. I also had a 2016 Outback, and looking at an interior picture of it and taking- note of that same relationship, it also seems that the Ascent places the shifter a bit lower. Depending on your exact arm/torso lengths as well as how you have the seat adjusted, this could indeed be very noticeable. I've been out of my Outback for a while now (my immediate-previous was a '19 Ascent, I'm now in a '21, from a lease renewal [the '19 was actually leased in November of 2018]), so my recall is not as fresh as @rlb81 's - whose subjective impressions seem to match what I am "seeing" in pictures.
 

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When we traded in our 2018 Outback Premium for our 2021 Ascent Touring, we also cross tested the 21 Outback X. My wife loved the leather in the new Outback, I hated the HVAC stack. The seating position in the Outback was alot like the old one, more reclined and the softer leather seems to cradle you like a baseball glove. The Ascent leather is stiffer (?) or harder and yes you sit more upright. More like the 1990 Explorers (2nd gen) or Trailblazers or Envoys from the 2000's. We got the touring to have the seat memory, wish it included at least the door mirrors.
 

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When I took delivery of my Touring, the tires were WAAAYYYY overinflated. They probably do this for the delivery truck strap down and leave them high as they wait on the lot. Overinflated tires are going to be noisier than properly inflated tires. And the 20's are noisier than the 18's.

If you want to be certain about noise level install a sound meter app on your phone. While these aren't calibrated they're good enough to compare one car to another. Just be sure to check readings on the same stretch of road at the same speed for valid comparison.

Seating is always going to be the most personal aspects. I don't find any SUV particularly comfortable or familiar because I prefer sports cars that sit right on the floor with legs straight in front and pedal geometry designed to maximize response. The Ascent by comparison seems to have miles between pedals and requires me to lift off the floor to go from gas to brake vs just shifting my big toe left in my other cars. But, I adjust muscle memory for the ascent. Took a few hundred miles, so not on the test drive.
 

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I've always been impressed with how quiet our Ascent is on the freeway. Our progression, though, was from Kia minivan -- couldn't hold a conversation on the freeway in the rain, to a Dodge minivan, which we thought was amazingly quiet comparatively...to the Ascent, which is quieter yet. I can't compare it to a Lexus....no experience there, but my daughter's Toyota Corolla is definitely louder.(troll troll :) )
 

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but my daughter's Toyota Corolla is definitely louder.(troll troll :) )
Our 2018 Outback, while not super quiet, is good enough for me!

Our Ascent replaces a 2006 Camry, talk about loud! And I thought that was great when I got it (to replace a 1992 Accord). Should have started my Subaru love back then, or at least stuck with Honda...
 

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I think for the segment the car competes in, it's relatively quiet. I have driven the new Highlander & current CX9- I think the Mazda is a little quieter and the Toyota is louder, or at least more coarse sounding over all. These were all top level trims. The only car I think that is quieter might be the palisade and Telluride. Although the palisade has some window noise at highway speeds.

I do think the Ascent makes a bit of noise under any type of acceleration, but at steady state it's a quiet comfortable cruiser. You can't compare it to a car a segment above- I had GLS450 before this, currently have an F pace, and a Lincoln MKZ, and those cars were/are all quieter than the Ascent.

The higher trims all have pretty decent adjustments for the driver's seat. Hopefully you can find something that works. May be the thigh extender will help. But try the passenger seat as well, there are fewer adjustments and you might not be comfortable there. My wife, and I, always feel like we're going to slide out of it into the front foot well because it doesn't have a lot of adjustment. We have the touring.
 

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Oh yeah, the seats...forgot about those. They break in after a couple of months -- definitely stiff and less comfortable when new. I forget how long it was but after 2-to-several months I suddenly realized that the seats had been comfortable for a while. That came back when we had a new loaner.
 

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Oh yeah, the seats...forgot about those. They break in after a couple of months -- definitely stiff and less comfortable when new. I forget how long it was but after 2-to-several months I suddenly realized that the seats had been comfortable for a while. That came back when we had a new loaner.
the seats or your butt break in. One or the other, maybe a bit of both.
 

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On the issue of comfort and seating position, I'm 3 weeks into ownership and am still dialing it in. I started with the seat low because that felt most natural to me. However that put the console arm rest up too high do I've been slowly raising the seat to find the right spot. This makes the low shifter a bit more noticeable, but it's just different, not bad. Looking at the center stack arrangement you can see that the shifter needs to be that low to allow for some storage space
 

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For decades, I've been running with the seat at max height, more or less, other than a slight tilt to take pressure off the underside of my thighs. The more upright. "chair like" seating position is a whole lot more comfortable, especially on longer travels and visibility is also enhances. I'm just under 6' in case that's material to the image. If a seat is down low, I don't feel I have a proper view of my surroundings including the road ahead.
 
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I think I'd recommend heated seats for you, noodle'... ;)
 
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