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Hi there. We packed up our her shiny new Ascent and drove it across Kansas and into Colorado for a family vacation, and my wife and I felt I should write a review.

We have the Touring model, the titanium gray one. We put around 1,600 miles on it during the trip, mostly with the 8-hour initial and return legs, and got around 22 MPG. I did all of the driving on the trip, so this is all from my perspective. The family is my wife and two boys, 15 and 9. We had the third row flat and filled with suitcases and such. I'm 6', 250 and almost 40 now. My daily driver is a 2016 STI, and when I'm engaged in the activity, I'm an aggressive driver. That being said, I pay attention to the road and to the car, to the cross winds, road conditions and what the other drivers (and pedestrians and animals) are doing, and I'm very conscious of following distances, lane change gaps, etc. Once I've developed a baseline for the vehicle I'm driving, I expect certain behaviors and I notice when things change. As everyone does, no doubt.

We took off on our trip, cruise control set at a respectable number over the speed limit (not quite 10). I thought it was neat that the cruise control changes the speed in multiples of five. I was disappointed to find there wasn't a setting to change this, even after we stopped for gas and I could access all of the options. While the cruise control felt like the one in my STI, the presence of the EyeSight buttons kept throwing me off. More than once I toggled lane-keeping (accidentally) when I meant to hit the Cancel button. In my STI, the volume controls and cruise control are shaped differently, while in the Ascent they are the same. It was confusing at a subconscious level. A couple times, I hit the volume control when I meant to adjust the speed, or vice versa. Not really a complaint, just something I noticed. The cruise control irritated me for a while before I figured out the sequence to set the speed where I want it without having to use the pedal. Then I changed the acceleration profile to the highest and the cruise control was my best friend.

I was incredibly impressed with the way the Ascent handled the mountains. I kept premium gas in it the whole trip, to make sure we could get all the power we needed up around 10,000 ft, and it did not disappoint. Whether it needed premium for that, I don't know. I forgot to take the ODBII adapter out of my STI for the trip, so I couldn't use Torque to see what the engine was doing. Speaking of which... I would really have appreciated the car's display having a bit more information. A digital boost gauge would be nice. An altimeter as well. Her 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander provides a lot more environmental information than the Ascent does. Just saying. So anyway, in the mountains, where going downhill is as much of a challenge as going up, the Ascent was a champ. You could feel it using the CVT for engine braking until the overspeed exceeded a certain limit, then using the brakes to keep the speed under control. From the sound of it, it seemed like it was actually shifting the brake load between the wheels to keep them cool.

Overall, the adaptive cruise control was awesome. When mountain traffic speeds dropped from 75 to 25, EyeSight handled it with aplomb. A couple of hours in the mountains, when the speed had really dropped in the passing lane, I mentioned to my wife that I hadn't touched the pedals since we left. Her blood pressure went up. :D I watched, and I was ready to intervene, but I only had to do so in two situations throughout. In tight curves, when EyeSight loses the lock on the car in front of you, it switches to "lane clear" mode and accelerates back to speed. It would probably be a good safety feature for EyeSight to consider the angle of the steering wheel and the direction of the road before deciding to hit the gas. Especially if all it can see is a guard rail and the valley floor a couple thousand feet below it. It definitely surprised me the first time, but as I was in the middle of a curve in the mountains, I wasn't sleeping or anything, so I just cancelled the cruise control.

In all, the Ascent's driver assists only really surprised me a handful of times on the trip. In before all of the "keep your hands on the wheel" and "you're supposed to be in control at all times," understand that I was always in control. Sometimes I just had to work for it. The LKA had some issues with crossing bridges. And when passing semi-trucks. And especially when passing semi-trucks across bridges. If you've driven the Ascent with LKA enabled, undoubtedly you've felt EyeSight expressing an opinion about how you aren't where you should be; within the order of things. More than four times (on the entire trip), EyeSight decided that the most important place to be was somewhere underneath the back wheels of an obscure white semi-truck trailer. We weren't "almost" killed, or anything like that, I just had my eyebrows lifted when I felt that pressure on the steering wheel trying to move me closer to a truck I was passing. A couple of those times, LKA dinged and disabled itself shortly for a few seconds after that. There were some odd times where the LKA felt like driving between two rails with a foot of play. Each time I reached one side, I'd get a bump the other direction. A couple of times, I felt like I was in the crazy taxi ride at Worlds of Fun. Honestly, I just disabled LKA for the latter half of the trip. I don't take my eyes off the road, and after a while, LKA starts to feel like your power steering is going out. It was too inconsistent, and put a strain on my poor abused wrist.

I started using the rear-view mirror camera in the middle of our trip, when additional luggage filled up the rear window. The most difficult adjustment for me was having to focus my eyes from the distance to close-up to look at the screen. The glance to check the mirror always felt like it took too much time. I don't even know if there's a way to resolve that. By the end of the trip, it didn't bother me that much.

The last thing I remember having an issue with was acceleration from traffic lights. It was inconsistent. I'm used to the way the selectable Sport control in my STI works, where it basically remaps the pedal so that what is 25% throttle in Sport Intelligent, is 50% throttle in Sport, and 85% throttle in Sport sharp. (Just a random example, not the real numbers, I'm sure.) The Ascent didn't feel like that when this was happening. I'd start giving it some gas, and it would move less than I expect, so I'd compensate by giving it a little more, and it would suddenly go from nothing to everything. Pulling back the pedal to where I started did not reduce the acceleration one bit, I had to nearly come off the pedal before it would ease off. It didn't always do this, and I really don't know what caused it, but there it is.

So, with that all out of the way, I loved it. Also, it is apparent that Colorado (as a people) knows about Subaru. Don't wave at them, you'll only tire yourself out needlessly.
 

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Also, it is apparent that Colorado (as a people) knows about Subaru. Don't wave at them, you'll only tire yourself out needlessly.
Yeah, the same goes for Jeeps. You would need 15 arms for any short trip around the Front Range. The place is littered with them, 6-Stars and Slotted-Grills I mean.
 

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Funny about not touching the pedal? Nice pictures too! Good to hear you liked it! This will be my first subaru with LKA. I didn't notice anything on my several ? test drives. I am curious to check it out. I have a Nissan Rogue now that dings alot .lol. while I am driving to tell me that I am getting close to line. I don't feel I am too close to the line.
 

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Awesome write up!
 

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This was a great read, thanks for posting it.

As for the start, I think the bigger thing is that you're getting used to a larger car with a different engine. You'll get used to it, I am buttery smooth with my CVT now because it's almost like a feathering-in type of approach.

When I'm driving for max economy I'm usually barely touching the pedal at all, holding around 2000 rpm's on a gentle acceleration, and same way with slowing down - no reason to accelerate into a red light.

Having previously owned a Legacy that had the Sport Mode function on the shifter, I appreciated the option for more aggressive shifts and downshifts, but I'm sure the Ascent is not necessarily the market for such.
 

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You'll get used to it, I am buttery smooth with my CVT now because it's almost like a feathering-in type of approach.
I always say while pilots like power (climb and speed), they also make the smoothest car drivers. It's that forever quest to never feel that touchdown that hones those skills. And a jerky airplane is not cool either...


And yup, the P in my forum name means something.
 

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Awesome write up, thanks!! I can't wait to get our Ascent next month! I'm trading in my 50th Anniversary WRX for this car (we found out we're having twins and I can't fit 3 car seats into it) and I know I'm going to miss the WRX but after test driving the Ascent twice, I'm really looking forward to getting it. It was nice to hear that power wasn't an issue even in the mountains with a load of gear and the family in it.
 
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Awesome write up, thanks!! I can't wait to get our Ascent next month! I'm trading in my 50th Anniversary WRX for this car (we found out we're having twins and I can't fit 3 car seats into it) and I know I'm going to miss the WRX but after test driving the Ascent twice, I'm really looking forward to getting it. It was nice to hear that power wasn't an issue even in the mountains with a load of gear and the family in it.
That's a quick trade. Those 50th Anniversary Editions have not been out for that long. You will love the Ascent!!
 

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Hi there. We packed up our her shiny new Ascent and drove it across Kansas and into Colorado for a family vacation, and my wife and I felt I should write a review.

I was incredibly impressed with the way the Ascent handled the mountains.
Thank you for the review. I am glad you liked the handling of the Ascent!! The picture you included of the sign welcoming you to Colorado made me laugh. Evidently people are placing a small placard at the bottom edge of those 11 signs scattered throughout Colorado that says, "No vacancy." We do let tourists pass through though.
 

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Great write up of your trip and the car.

I agree with your opinion on LKA. I find it works great most of the time but when something is right next to you such as a Semi and you want to move over a bit it seems to think you shouldn't give an inch. I didn't have any trouble on the bridges or tunnels I've been in but that might be because I always take the left hand lane and ride as close as comfortable to the edge.
 

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Dustin Loftis--We took off on our trip, cruise control set at a respectable number over the speed limit (not quite 10). I thought it was neat that the cruise control changes the speed in multiples of five. I was disappointed to find there wasn't a setting to change this, even after we stopped for gas and I could access all of the options.

I hope you've read by now that the cruise control can be adjusted in 1 mph increments if you hold the toggle instead of just tapping it. You'll be much happier on your next trip.
 

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Dustin Loftis--We took off on our trip, cruise control set at a respectable number over the speed limit (not quite 10). I thought it was neat that the cruise control changes the speed in multiples of five. I was disappointed to find there wasn't a setting to change this, even after we stopped for gas and I could access all of the options.

I hope you've read by now that the cruise control can be adjusted in 1 mph increments if you hold the toggle instead of just tapping it. You'll be much happier on your next trip.
I was going to chime in on the cruise control adjustment in 1mph increments as well. I'm currently in a 2017 Outback loaner and did an almost 200 mile round trip in it this weekend and thought I could only go up in multiples of five (as I did for the road trip). When I got back, my husband showed me that you can indeed adjust the cruise control in 1mp increments, just depends on how you touch the toggle. Hopefully this helps!
 

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Can't wait for more self-driving like systems to come on board because it could very well mean systems like cruise control eventually learn the speeds we actually want at different times rather than some static number.
 

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That's a quick trade. Those 50th Anniversary Editions have not been out for that long. You will love the Ascent!!
Yeah, it certainly wasn't planned. I was really hoping to keep this car for a long long time. I love the WRX and the Heritage Blue color is amazing, I'm really gonna miss it :crying:. Unfortunately it's just not going to be practical with 3 kids in car seats. We tried thinking of ways to keep it, and my wife even said I could use her Outback since she works from home and I would be driving the kids to daycare. It just doesn't make sense to me to pay that much for a car I can't drive. Someday I'll get another WRX, in the meantime I'm going to enjoy the heck out of the Ascent! :smile:
 

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Thanks for sharing; great write up!

We recently did a 17 day 3600m road trip just a few days after pickup up our Ascent. I had many of the same reactions as you.
I was amazed at how little time my foot spent on the pedal :)
 

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I thought it was neat that the cruise control changes the speed in multiples of five. I was disappointed to find there wasn't a setting to change this, even after we stopped for gas and I could access all of the options.
If you hold the Cruise +/- up/down for about 1 second, it will begin incrementing/decrementing in 1-MPH increments.
 

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The last thing I remember having an issue with was acceleration from traffic lights. It was inconsistent. I'm used to the way the selectable Sport control in my STI works, where it basically remaps the pedal so that what is 25% throttle in Sport Intelligent, is 50% throttle in Sport, and 85% throttle in Sport sharp. (Just a random example, not the real numbers, I'm sure.) The Ascent didn't feel like that when this was happening. I'd start giving it some gas, and it would move less than I expect, so I'd compensate by giving it a little more, and it would suddenly go from nothing to everything. Pulling back the pedal to where I started did not reduce the acceleration one bit, I had to nearly come off the pedal before it would ease off. It didn't always do this, and I really don't know what caused it, but there it is.

I had that same feeling a few times as well. Did you have the Auto Vehicle Hold on? That took me a bit to get used to. I'd take my foot off the brake and think I should be starting to roll forward. When I didn't I pressed harder on the gas than I needed to, thinking I was stuck. I usually leave it off now, unless I'm in a hilly city...


Nice review...thanks for sharing!
 

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22 mpg is not that great. I thought turbo 4 should be better than 6 cylinder but clearly they are not.
 
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