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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me start by saying I've been a member of auto forums for many years, and fully understand that the majority of people generally only come to a forum to complain or look for solutions to a problem they're having. My concern is for the sheer quantity of posts in the complaints/issues/problems forum here. I'm looking at the same 3 or 4 models I'm sure most of you looked at before buying your Ascents, and one key piece of research is going to the forums of each and trying to get a general feel for the types of problems, and the number of people with the same problem. Comparing this forum to the identical forum on the Pilot side (piloteers.org, which I have been a member of for years), the number of issues in this forum greatly exceeds the qty posted in the competing forum. Granted, that vehicle has been on the road much longer, but I'd have to assume they sell more Pilots than Acents. I was leaning toward the Ascent before I spent a few days digging deep into the issues in the forums, and the quantity of people with the same issues. I have to say, it's not even close. The volume of posts on this forum is very roughly double that of the Pilot. Haven't looked at the others yet as this can be very time consuming. Anyone else experience the same, or in the same position, and notice the same thing? Any other feedback is welcomed!
 

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You’re probably going to receive a lot of defensive posts in favor of the Ascent here as a result of this post. Its good to have an open mind about these things, especially considering how forums seem to amplify issues as you stated.
My opinion on the volume of complaints has to do with the demographics of who buys Subarus vs Hondas. Hondas are very mainstream and do tend to have a high level of quality, yet they’re boring. I feel like they’re probably less likely to seek out a forum to complain. Personally I’d rather enjoy driving even if it comes with a few complaints.
That’s just my opinion. Are you looking to purchase soon?
 

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The Pilot sells at a rate that's approximately 75% higher than the Ascent.

A difficult thing in this forum is actually tracking either (a) real issues or (b) individual issues. So, in perusing it, you may want to keep that in mind. For instance:
  • (a) Real Issues - a decent number of "issues" aren't real.
    There are a large number of posts about people complaining about the CVT, thinking it's broken, when instead it's operating normally (such as variable ratio changes, chirping when shifting from D to R after just starting, etc). You will find a bunch of posts about Eyesight "issues" that turn out to be improper use (such as the people doing hands free driving and expecting the car to drive itself.

  • (b) Individual Issues vs Post Volume
    There are people who post a number of times about their real problem. For instance, over 2/3 of all of the CVT failure posts in the forum are from one person and those replying to that person.By number of posts, it makes it seem like there's a big problem, when, instead,over 2/3 of the posts are about one particular incident. There are others who take almost every opportunity to turn a thread into something about the problem they're experiencing (real or imagined) as well.

Yes, there are people with real problems with their Ascents. There are also people with real problems with their Pilots. Once you count up individual problems here, there's a lot less left. I think one thing that doesn't help are that very few people in the country have ever driven a TR690 CVT, and very many of them expect it to act like the TR580 in a lighter, and/or lower powered car - and complain about normal operation (heck, I complain about the fake shifting I hate - so, I am part of the problem too). Once you remove those posts, and take over 2/3 of the CVT posts and assign it to one incident, we only have hundreds of complaints instead of 8,000 posts.

But, compare for yourself.
 

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Before the Ascent we had a Mazda, and I think you're right that this forum is a somewhat more heavy on complaint. That being said, so far we didn't have any issues with the 2020 Ascent, and neither with the Mazda (aside from a broken wheel bearing replaced within warranty; I blame the NY state/NYC roads). OTOH Audi's were a pain. Any way, this is sample size 1, so everyone experience can be vastly different. So I'd take all complaints with a grain of salt.

It's probably safe to say that because the Ascent is a very new/recent model, there is a larger set of annoyances to be {discovered, ironed out}, i.e. think rear hatch battery drain, and also a slightly higher chance that /something/ will be wrong with your car that will need to be recalled in the future, but the overall chance is still rather tiny. I personally treat the complaint forum more as a guidance on what to watch out for & how to fix issues if they should ever arise.

If you're looking for the most reliable car, and you don't care about the features, I'd probably go with something battle-proven that has been produced & unchanged for a long time. If you're okay with having to potentially go to the dealership once for a recall, I wouldn't worry too much about it. It's always a trade-off :)

(...I do wish the front seat warmers on the Limited trim would be a bit warmer though...)
 

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Welcome! I've had a long line of reliable Hondas since '91 so last Fall, 2018 I first looked at the 2019 Pilot and just couldn't get excited about it. After driving the Ascent there was no comparison, and I really wanted one. My last Subarus were in the '80s and were great cars but my concern was with the Accent being a new model, so I started lurking on this forum to get a feel for it. Safety was a major factor because of the amount of traveling we do, I bought my 2019 Ascent Limited the day the crash test results were published in September of 2018.

After a year and 16,000+ miles I've had no problems other than a dead battery caused by my carelessness.

I've been impressed with the integrity of Subaru in dealing with potential and real problems this past year.

The Ascent isn't perfect, no vehicle is however I have no reservations in recommending it to my friends. It is on a par with our Hondas in every way and my wife now leaves her beloved Accord Hybrid in the garage most of the time.

This is the first car forum I have joined and have found a very informed and supportive community here.

I hope you find the right vehicle for you.
 

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It's vital to know how to properly interpret data in forums which is often very difficult and unpredictable. Complaints in any vehicle forum are statistically irrelevant unless they reach significant levels in comparison to the total number of units sold. @Robert.Mauro has done an excellent job of demonstrating that this is not the case with the Ascent.

I believe Subaru owners are more likely to be vocal about issues because they expect very high quality from Subaru going in and they tend to be more critical than many other buyers. I've been following vehicle and other forums for decades and I can tell you that, for some reason, this forum does indeed have very picky individuals. Here you can find a very serious thread with currently seven pages and 131 posts about some dried up deposits found on a fender panel inside the engine compartment. So, as @Robert.Mauro says above, please be careful to separate the real problems from the trivial ones and also try to determine the actual number of people experiencing real problems in relation to the number of units sold. If not statistically relevant, it's more than likely no cause for concern.

If you are still worried, continue to monitor the forum. If you see the number of complaints reach actual statistically relevant levels, then that would be a cause for concern. If not, don't be spooked. My son and I watched a series of shows on airline disasters on Netflix recently. After watching those shows, no one could be criticized for fearing to fly until you realize that statistically, flying is one of the safest forms of transportation, far safer than driving. The same is true anywhere, the actual statistics, not the hype, tells the truth. Always seek out the truth, especially on the internet where it can be very hard to interpret. This is the best advice I could give to anyone.

Here are some statistics to balance some of the complaints: Research from Experian Automotive shows that around 70 percent of Subaru owners will purchase another one. Owners keep their Subarus for an average of over 8 years before turning the vehicle in. 42% keep their Subarus for over 10 years. Consumer Reports currently rates the Ascent reliability as excellent in their recent surveys. The only major complaint so far has been the infotainment system and much of that can be resolved with future software fixes.

What this forum could use is for more of the satisfied owners to speak up, but when they're happy, people tend not to write posts, so you have to learn to read between the lines.
 

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Plus, I think there is the dynamic of the 2019 Ascent being a brand new model - and not the newness of the vehicle as much as ALL OF US being new model OWNERS.

I bought the Ascent saying to myself, "I never buy a new model year, but this vehicle fits me so well, I'm going to go for it. And I'm taking a risk that I'm willing to accept." So I register for this forum, all excited to read about and share experiences. And... not quite living up to being willing to "accept the risk," I readily join in on complaint threads (and other stuff), almost over-the-top.

Why that last twist, for probably many of us?
  1. Some real issues. There are certainly some people running into items that require Subaru to address for them.
  2. We want to make our voices heard so that adjustable features (in software releases) might be adjusted if we say it loud enough.
  3. We want to make future model years better, because we like the car enough that we might be a future buyer/leaser.
  4. We've got a bit of Subaru in our blood, either as multiple owners or as Noob Soobs. There's a passion, a weirdness, that's extra interested, extra helpful, and yeah a little extra vocal. Right?
2, 3, and 4 seem to me to cause an active forum complete with extra complaints, extra lookit me's, and extra dogpiles on both.

Does that describe some of what you're seeing?

F.S.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys! Like GaryIn I too have been a little attached to Hondas lately. My '04 Pilot just crossed the 200k mark, and in the 15 yrs we owned it it's been in the garage ONCE for timing belt replacement at 100k. I've done everything myself, and aside from a motor mount replacement, and recent radiator, it's been stellar. Not many vehicles will be this reliable, I get that. We recently bought a used Accord Hybrid and it's been great. I was just a little concerned when I looked at this forum. I get that it's a statistical thing, and what is real vs people just rehashing simple things, but this should be similar on competing forums, no? The volume to volume ratio should be comparable. If people are nit picking here, or rehashing same small issues, should be the same on another forum. Like I said, if you compare forums, it's not even close. I have also dug into the threads and look a lot of times for the "I'll never buy a Subaru again" type claims, which gives you a level of the associated frustration with a problem. I have seen a good number of those in this forum as well. I do really like the Ascent, and we hope to drive one tomorrow, but I will keep an eye on these forums. You all have done great explaining it!
 

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The one thing I can tell you, as one of the highest mileage Ascent owners out there, is that the design itself is very solid. I spend a ridiculous amount of time off-roading (thousands of miles), and my Ascent handles it all with ease, and has had no issues to speak of. There aren't many people who use or abuse their Ascents as much as I do. ;)

Currently at 44,259 miles.

Here's my Ascent at 6 National Parks and 3 State Parks across the country from as far away as Moab Utah to Montauk Point NY.

2174
 

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Thanks guys! Like GaryIn I too have been a little attached to Hondas lately. My '04 Pilot just crossed the 200k mark, and in the 15 yrs we owned it it's been in the garage ONCE for timing belt replacement at 100k. I've done everything myself, and aside from a motor mount replacement, and recent radiator, it's been stellar. Not many vehicles will be this reliable, I get that. We recently bought a used Accord Hybrid and it's been great. I was just a little concerned when I looked at this forum. I get that it's a statistical thing, and what is real vs people just rehashing simple things, but this should be similar on competing forums, no? The volume to volume ratio should be comparable. If people are nit picking here, or rehashing same small issues, should be the same on another forum. Like I said, if you compare forums, it's not even close. I have also dug into the threads and look a lot of times for the "I'll never buy a Subaru again" type claims, which gives you a level of the associated frustration with a problem. I have seen a good number of those in this forum as well. I do really like the Ascent, and we hope to drive one tomorrow, but I will keep an eye on these forums. You all have done great explaining it!
You're still misinterpreting forum dynamics and not properly considering the facts. You're stating that you're concerned that you read some "I'll never buy a Subaru again" type posts, yet you don't seem to properly weigh that with the fact that actual research shows that around 70% of Subaru owners will purchase another one. That's not interpreting the facts correctly. It looks like you don't "get that it's a statistical thing". That's OK, most people don't think statistically, they think like humans, not computers, and humans are easily spooked. But the truth does lie in the statistics which is why we often need computers and statisticians to make factual rather than emotional decisions.

The dynamics of forums are rarely if ever the same. It largely depends upon the people involved which can range significantly. The type of people likely to buy a Subaru might differ significantly from say a Jeep or a Mercedes or even a Honda. This Ascent forum has some of the most intelligent and resourceful people I've yet seen, but such people can be very hard to please and can be very critical. You might not see that on other forums where people might be a bit more complacent or easily satisfied. You can't oversimply forum dynamics they way you are, even an expert on sociology might take decades, if ever, to figure it out.

But if you insist on such unreliable comparisons, I haven't looked specifically at the Honda Pilot forum but I roughly see about the same level of issues/problems here as I've seen on most other vehicle forums, perhaps a tic more because it so-far contains posts only about the Ascent's first-year run and we all know that the first year is usually the toughest. I expect Subaru to iron out many of these issues soon if they haven't already in the 2020 models, and by far, most major issues have been handled well both by Subaru and the dealers. Nor am I criticizing anyone making complaints about the Ascent, that's good feedback for the manufacturer. I myself have complained about the infotainment system which I don't like. However, overall, I think my Ascent is one of the best vehicles I've ever owned, and I've owned a lot.

So again I see no cause for concern. If you do, then simply buy the Pilot. It's a very good vehicle, not as good as the Ascent overall in my opinion, but I don't see where you could go wrong with one if that's what you prefer and you're comfortable with. However, the fact that you're still here considering the Ascent leads me to believe that you might like it a bit more than the Pilot, otherwise, you'd already be at your Honda dealer. That's good, it means you're doing your research. I think if you follow the facts rather than worrying too much about some largely over-represented complaints, you'll find the Ascent is an excellent choice.
 

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You're stating that you're concerned that you read some "I'll never buy a Subaru again" type posts, yet you don't seem to properly weigh that with the fact that actual research shows that around 70% of Subaru owners will purchase another one.
To affirm what @pro10is said, I'm on my second, and my next one will also be a Subaru. Every brand has people who decide they will never buy again. It's how many decide they WILL buy again which is impressive. I think Subaru beats everyone in that respect.

Subaru is #1 in brand loyalty according to JD Power in July 2019. I find that impressive, considering Subaru doesn't really interact with JD Power.


2175
 

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You're still misinterpreting forum dynamics and not properly considering the facts. You're stating that you're concerned that you read some "I'll never buy a Subaru again" type posts, yet you don't seem to properly weigh that with the fact that actual research shows that around 70% of Subaru owners will purchase another one. That's not interpreting the facts correctly. It looks like you don't "get that it's a statistical thing". That's OK, most people don't think statistically, they think like humans, not computers, and humans are easily spooked. But the truth does lie in the statistics which is why we often need computers and statisticians to make factual rather than emotional decisions.
Greetings,
My wife loves her Accord, and her Civic before that lasted an admirably long time. My previous car was a Forester that performed flawlessly for 13 years. We replaced a Subaru with a Subaru. I rather suspect that come time to replace the Accord it will be with another Honda. If you ask me, you can't go wrong either way.

I don't buy for a second that folks on a Honda forum are less intelligent or incapable of understanding statistics.
 

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To affirm what @pro10is said, I'm on my second, and my next one will also be a Subaru. Every brand has people who decide they will never buy again. It's how many decide they WILL buy again which is impressive. I think Subaru beats everyone in that respect.

Subaru is #1 in brand loyalty according to JD Power in July 2019. I find that impressive, considering Subaru doesn't really interact with JD Power.


View attachment 2175
And here are Consumer Report's current Owner Satisfaction rankings:
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...I don't buy for a second that folks on a Honda forum are less intelligent or incapable of understanding statistics.
That's not at all what I said. I said that forum dynamics are far too complex to analyze and you can't compare them directly, and that people on one forum may be somewhat less critical than another.

All forums seem to develop a personality of their own after a while.
 

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Looks like we dropped a notch from last year but I’m still content with the findings.
What happened to Honda & Toyota?
 

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I don't buy for a second that folks on a Honda forum are less intelligent or incapable of understanding statistics.
Pretty sure that's not what he was saying. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you all, again! Great feedbac!! Although, i feel like this is tipping a little toward a statistics discussion and brand loyalty. I get that though, threads often drift around. I do though have a pretty good grasp on statistics, being an engineer, working with statistical significance, Cpk, etc etc almost daily. So although not a statistician, here's what I believe to be finding:
  • WAY more Honda Pilot owners than Ascent
  • Assumed same forum participation for both vehicles (similar demographic, age, family size, purpose of vehicle, job, status, etc)
  • Assumed similar amounts of 'petty' or small issues reporting on both forums
  • Apples to Apples, as they say

2x the number of posts in this forum vs the competitor who has a drastically larger customer base.
 

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That's not at all what I said. I said that forum dynamics are far too complex to analyze and you can't compare them directly, and that people on one forum may be somewhat less critical than another.

All forums seem to develop a personality of their own after a while.
Respectfully: I believe that you didn't intend that message, but you might consider that people reading your post might get a different idea. You state that people on this forum are intelligent (and get the statistics thing) and then contrast that with other sites. (Appreciate the compliment, by the way.)
 
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