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I currently drive a 2019 Outback 3.6R Limited. As we approach retirement, we are hoping to do more road trips and are thinking an upgrade to a more roomy SUV would make these trips easier and more comfortable. Note: we are empty nesters with no kids, grandkids or dogs. The 3rd row/cargo area would be more valuable as extra space (12 cu ft of additional space behind 2nd row compared to my Outback) so I couldn't care less about how cramped the 3rd row is for passengers. I would love to hear from any Ascent owners who upgraded from a 6 cylinder 2015-2019 Outback. Are you happy with the decision? How about the 4 cylinder turbo performance? Do you regret the reduction in fuel mileage? Do you miss your Outback? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. BTW- I would likely do a Limited 8 passenger Ascent since I don't care for the captain's seats in the 7 passenger. Plus it must have an Ivory interior to match the dumb trim pieces that don't change color regardless of interior color. Thanks.
 

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We have a 2016 Outback, a 2019 Ascent and now a 2020 Forester in our driveway. I love traveling in the Ascent and I specifically bought it because of the extra space that a "three row" delivers, knowing it would be very rare to actually use the third row seats. The higher, more upright seating position is my preference. I feel "ok" in the Outback, but "great" in the Ascent. (The new Forester is like a "mini-me" of my Ascent, quite literally, and is also comfortable) So my comment can at least be helpful relative to the vehicle for the purpose you mentioned.

I can't help about the v6 Outback comparison as I've never driven one with the V6. But I can say that I get very good fuel economy in my Ascent...just hair under 28 for highway average and about 20 in general rural driving. I also have a light foot. If I do stamp on the skinny pedal, the Ascent accelerates nearly as well as the Hemi-equipped Jeep Grand Cherokee I previously drove.
 

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We own a 2019 Outback 3.6 and an Ascent Limited. Gas mileage is pretty much the same although the Outback does oddly well on long drives (29+ mpg). City driving in Pittsburgh mauls both drivetrains 14-16 mpg. The Ascent is punchier and the Outback more mature and composed. Both CVT’s are fine. The Ascent sits higher and is a bit more bothered by pot holes The Outback tends to be a bit less composed at highway speeds during turns and curves. Winter and wet driving are equally excellent (Pittsburgh winter - water, ice, and occasional snow -never too deep). I love the Outback in the city and the Ascent on the highway. The Ascent steering took a bit of time to adjust to on the highway but now It is great.
 

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I also own a 2019 Outback and Ascent limited. I like the extra room in the Ascent and keep the 3rd row seat down. I think the 3.6R is more refined (or at least sounds that way) than the 4-cylinder turbo in the Ascent, which seems work harder. The turbo does have more punch to it.
 

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Traded my 2016 Outback 3.6R on a 2019 Ascent Touring in Sept 2018. I loved the Outback and was ultra happy with the 3.6R, but wanted more cargo space and some of the features included on the Touring. I have no regrets. I did have a concern about performance going from the 6 cyl to the Ascent's 4 cyl, but I need not have worried. Performance seems better on the Turbo 4 and it pulls my 2000 lb boat and trailer better than the Outback. Fuel economy is a bit of a disappointment. The Outback averaged 22 mpg over the 38,000 miles I owned it; the Ascent is averaging 19 mpg since new (15,000 miles).
 

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I currently drive a 2019 Outback 3.6R Limited. As we approach retirement, we are hoping to do more road trips and are thinking an upgrade to a more roomy SUV would make these trips easier and more comfortable. Note: we are empty nesters with no kids, grandkids or dogs. The 3rd row/cargo area would be more valuable as extra space (12 cu ft of additional space behind 2nd row compared to my Outback) so I couldn't care less about how cramped the 3rd row is for passengers. I would love to hear from any Ascent owners who upgraded from a 6 cylinder 2015-2019 Outback. Are you happy with the decision? How about the 4 cylinder turbo performance? Do you regret the reduction in fuel mileage? Do you miss your Outback? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. BTW- I would likely do a Limited 8 passenger Ascent since I don't care for the captain's seats in the 7 passenger. Plus it must have an Ivory interior to match the dumb trim pieces that don't change color regardless of interior color. Thanks.
I went from a 2015 Outback and absolutely love the Ascent Touring. The front camera and "rear view mirror camera" are worth every penny in the difference in price between the Limited and Touring. As most all (including me) that hated the Java Brown seats will tell you - it grows on you or you become use to it, not sure which. But it didn't bother me at all after a couple of days. Are you able to test drive a Touring? If so, make sure they will show you how to use the Rear View Mirror Camera and take it out for a test drive. You can pack the vehicle up from floor to ceiling and have a 180 degree view of the road/cars behind you. This is my 4th Subaru (3 Outbacks) and I'll never buy a vehicle in the future without these features.
 

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I went from a 2017 Outback 2.5 Touring to a2019 Ascent Limited. I put 72000 miles on the outback in 30 months and loved everything about it. We travel with and Aliner camper and need more oompf in the mountains out west. The trailer was probably at the towing limits of the Outback and definitely over the hitch weight but did a decent job. We've put 18000 miles on the Ascent in 10 months and really like it. We'll be leaving Maine for a 6000 mile trip next week and then a 10000 mile trip out west in the fall. The Ascent tows like a dream and the mileage thus far with the trailer is about 20. We got the limited because we needed the bench seat for our Lab. We'll probably have to change the tires before the fall trip. The original tires on the Outback didn't last long either.
 

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2018 Subaru Outback Limited 3.6R, 2003 Honda Pilot EX
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First post on the forum...
We have a 2018 Outback 3.6R limited and are now considering adding the Ascent to it. I drive a Honda Pilot which has 8 seats, but we have never used the 3rd row for anyone to sit in...
I dont know whether to get 7 or 8 seat, but am really liking the features in the Touring which makes that seat choice for me, but i saw today that the silver is not available in Touring.
Am very interested in peoples opinions about power, mpg and general driving dynamics in the Ascent vs the 3.6 Outback.
Will be keeping an eye on this thread.
 

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Denvrfan: In 2018 I was facing almost the same decision you are: Retirement was imminent, my 2011 Outback Premium 2.5 had 140,000 mile on the clock and we were looking at doing long trips with LOTS of stuff aboard. We had tried a couple of trips in the Outback and by the time we got everything in it it wallowed down the road like a boat. Under those conditions the OB would deliver 26 or 27 MPG. Choices were get an Ascent, a Pilot or a Highlander. The Highlander went off the list the first time I sat in the middle row seats, no way I would subject another adult to that, I'm large, 6'-2", 250 lbs and those seats were NOT comfortable. The front camera and control layout for the Ascent made it a clear choice over the Pilot. I ordered the Ascent in February of 2018 and took delivery in July. No doubt I made the right choice. With the back seat folded down we can get everything we need into the cargo area and still have the center row seats available. If we run 70 to 75 on the highway the Ascent returns a solid 24 MPG. If I can keep my foot out of it and drive 60-65 it will easily do 27 MPG, sometimes better. it gets 16 to 17 MPG around town AFTER I learned how to drive it. I got 11 MPG around town until I realized that I didn't really need to run it up to 3000 RPM all the time just to feel it shove me back in the seat! If the ascent died tomorrow, I would go order another one, no hesitation at all.
 

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When I needed to go from 2 vehicles down to 1, I traded in my 2018 GMC Canyon and my 2017 Outback in on the 2019 Ascent (Sept 2018). The Ascent would tow enough that I didn't need the Canyon. I did lose about 7mpg going from the 2.5 Outback to the Ascent. But it's also about 1,000lbs heavier.

I was very pleasantly surprised that the Ascent felt as nimble as the Outback. I'm not sure if it's really the case, but it definitely feels like it. While taking a windy road up Mt Lemmon near Tuscon, I had a friend in a BRZ following me up. When we got to the campground, he came over and said, "Wow, you can sure make that thing move! I was working hard to keep up with you!"

When we rented a Ford Expedition and a GMC Yukon, they both felt like driving a truck (because....well you are!). The Ascent does not feel like that at all.... more like a really big car.
 

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I currently drive a 2019 Outback 3.6R Limited. As we approach retirement, we are hoping to do more road trips and are thinking an upgrade to a more roomy SUV would make these trips easier and more comfortable. Note: we are empty nesters with no kids, grandkids or dogs. The 3rd row/cargo area would be more valuable as extra space (12 cu ft of additional space behind 2nd row compared to my Outback) so I couldn't care less about how cramped the 3rd row is for passengers. I would love to hear from any Ascent owners who upgraded from a 6 cylinder 2015-2019 Outback. Are you happy with the decision? How about the 4 cylinder turbo performance? Do you regret the reduction in fuel mileage? Do you miss your Outback? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. BTW- I would likely do a Limited 8 passenger Ascent since I don't care for the captain's seats in the 7 passenger. Plus it must have an Ivory interior to match the dumb trim pieces that don't change color regardless of interior color. Thanks.
I traded in my 2012 3.6L Outback for an Ascent Limited. Embarrassed to admit that I struggled with the interior color as well, since I loved my ivory interior on the Outback...Actually considered buying a Touring JUST for the saddle interior, but glad I didn't! Thought I'd hate the black interior of the Ascent (with ivory trim...), but I actually like it. Anyway, I don't have kids, do have dogs ( & horses, so I carry around a lot of stuff). I removed the middle row captain's chairs, so I'd have more room for cargo, and put up a 'cargo barrier' for the dogs in the way back. The floor is really uneven with the seats gone (It would be REALLY nice if the Ascent could be designed so that the middle row seats fold flat - then I wouldn't have had to remove the seats!) but it does give a huge amount of storage space.
I live on top of a big hill, so I had loved my 3.6L Outback for it's ability to zip right up that without a blink. When I test drove the Ascent, I made a point of testing it on big hills, to see if the 4 cylinder turbo could do as well. Yes, and no. It hesitates a little until the turbo kicks in... and then it carries me up the hill. So, it's got the power, but it'll never be as nimble as the Outback was in comparison. For the first couple of weeks, I mourned the loss of my 'spunky' Outback. But then, I started really appreciating the roominess & more secure feeling I have, by traveling in the larger vehicle. I've put 25,000 miles on the Ascent in its first year... so I do drive a lot, and appreciate being more comfortable. As for fuel economy -that took some getting used to as well. But any large vehicle like the Ascent gets lower mileage anyway.... Long story short - I'm happy with the Ascent - especially for long trips.
 

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I've had two 3.6R Outbacks, at 2013 and 2017 Limiteds.

I got the 2019 Ascent to replace the Outback, as we were having issues with our dealer repairing the Outback. (Long story, but they kept saying there was nothing wrong with it, even though it kept dying in the middle of highway traffic under heavy acceleration.. so it got traded in for the Ascent 'cause "there's nothing wrong with it.")

It's got significantly better cargo room.

The Ascent EATS gas if you step on the pedal regularly. Where the Outbacks would be, at worst, ~19MPG, the Ascent gets 11MPH when you are constantly stomping on it.

The Ascent also eats gas if you are towing anything heavy.

The Ascent WILL get around 22-23 MPG when you are generally taking it easy / limited city driving.

(The differences are dramatic.)

Handling on the Ascent is not quite a tight as the Outback, but that's to be expected.

I think the center console in the Ascent is better than either if the Outbacks. (Subaru has a tendency to do a poor, at best, job updating the infotainment centers on their cars... to the point of a clear disregard for recent model years.)
 

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We currently own a 16 3.6R White with beige interior Outback and a 19 Ascent Premium with the same color combination. The Ascent is our road trip car now with just over 26K on it which includes several PA to SC trips and 2 PA to FL trips. The Ascent sits higher and is wider than the Outback and a much more comfortable ride for the long haul. Gas mileage is comparable but the interior room is great in the Ascent. We have the seven passenger version and have done out long hauls with all seats folded down and plenty of room to all a large cooler and all the needed suitcases and supplies for our extended stayovers. Would highly recommend the Ascent. As to the trim level that is a personal choice depending on how much tech you want. We are fine with the base trim, and 18 inch wheels. Still comes with all the safety packages and rear camera, don't miss fog lights, sunroof or nav or upgraded stereo. Our cloth seats don't get hot in the FL sun either GRIN. Good luck regardless what you decide.
 

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We currently own a 16 3.6R White with beige interior Outback and a 19 Ascent Premium with the same color combination. The Ascent is our road trip car now with just over 26K on it which includes several PA to SC trips and 2 PA to FL trips. The Ascent sits higher and is wider than the Outback and a much more comfortable ride for the long haul. Gas mileage is comparable but the interior room is great in the Ascent. We have the seven passenger version and have done out long hauls with all seats folded down and plenty of room to all a large cooler and all the needed suitcases and supplies for our extended stayovers. Would highly recommend the Ascent. As to the trim level that is a personal choice depending on how much tech you want. We are fine with the base trim, and 18 inch wheels. Still comes with all the safety packages and rear camera, don't miss fog lights, sunroof or nav or upgraded stereo. Our cloth seats don't get hot in the FL sun either GRIN. Good luck regardless what you decide.
Thanks for the good info... we have a 3.6R limited in white also and i was wondering how the gas mileage compares to the the Ascent... so its good to know you're getting similar results.
How does the power feel? I know its going to be different as they are totally different enginers/power trains and of course weight is different... when i took one for the test drive, it felt OK, but certainly not powerful, whereas our Outback i can feel the power from start... didnt want to push the test drive car so didnt really get a good feel for when the power comes on.
 

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FWIW: The Ascent is 6" longer, 6" taller and 3" wider than the Outback.
And yet the rear opening isn't much bigger than the Outback.
Just an inch larger and a 4x8 would have fit. The sides of the car are 'thicker' if that makes any sense. From the outside skin to the interior plastics is greater than the Outback so wile the Ascent is wider the interior dimensions aren't much more than the Outback. It is longer inside I will give it that.
I roll with my seats removed most of the time giving me almost a minivan. Depending on how adventurous you are (or crazy) you can remove the 3rd row and gain more space.

I had a 2010 Outback 3.6 5EAT and just like you wanted a new car as I moved into retirement. I got the base Ascent. Didn't want most of the things the other trims had...except the adjustable seats would have been nice (even though I set the Outback once and never adjusted it). Just forward, back and height on the base model.
The throttle response/acceleration on the Ascent takes some getting used to. Unlike the 3.6 the Ascent goes from nothing to 'hold on' around 2k rpm. My 1.8T Passat did the same.
There's no replacement for displacement. The 3.6 normally aspirated makes more power down low where a turbo cant but the get-up-and-go feels about the same as the 3.6 overall.

So there are things I don't like, things I'm changing and things I like about the Ascent but I'm not unhappy with my decision of it over the Outback.
 

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So I had a 2016 Outback 2.5 Premium and we moved to the Ascent. The biggest thing the Outback has going for it is that it drives more like a car than an SUV. The Ascent isn't bad but you definitely notice the Outback is more connected. The other thing on the new Outback is the display is like 12"; something you don't get in the Ascent. The main reason we went to the Ascent was for the towing capacity. we were every bit of 2700 when we went camping with the pop-up. Unless you need the additional cargo space with the 3rd row down, need the 3rd row for additional passengers or additional towing capacity I would lean to the Outback.

That said; Since you have the 3.6; if you are looking at an Outback with the turbo 2.4 (Ascent engine); after you upgrade an outback with the 2.4L you are pretty close to an Ascent price. I am getting about 20mpg with our Ascent but that includes a good portion of it while towing a 3000lb camper (typically ~12mpg).
 

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Just an inch larger and a 4x8 would have fit.
A little under 3" wider to put it in flat. Something that depressed me a little.

3605


 

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I've had three Outbacks ('12, '17, '18), base for the first and premium for the second two, and all four cylinders with the first two being Pzev. I have a 2020 Ascent Limited now and here is my take.

You are going to enjoy sitting higher up like a truck (I owned a few trucks in my day), you are going to like the ability to get in and out of situations quickly with the turbo charged engine (though you mentioned you have a six-cylinder so I'm not quite sure what those are like). To be honest, the ascent is far superior to any Outback I ever had in all aspects except for one. Not fuel economy like most people complain about, but the fuel tank size. At 19.7 gallons, it's too small for the size and weight of the vehicle. They should have put a 21 or 23 gallon tank to offset the less-than-stellar Subaru fuel mileage.

Other than that, I'm perfectly happy with it
 

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We were ready to replace our Acura MDX, and my wife wanted to look at the Outback. I waited six months, for the 2020's to come out. One thing that was very important to her, was to be able to fit two kayaks, on their sides, inside with the rear seats folded down. The length was not important, because she knew she would have to tie down the lift gate, as she did with the MDX.

So when we test drove the Outback, we took it home to try fitting in two kayaks. We were very disappointed, because we could not do it, because the rear opening was too small. We then change our sights on a larger vehicle. We test drove the Ascent, Pilot and Highlander. The two kayaks barely fit in the Ascent on their sides, but they fit. For various other reasons, we chose the Ascent Limited.
 
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