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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We're looking at a used 2019 Premier (in Canada) with 22,000kms. I was pretty sold on it but I keep reading more and more complaints about transmission failures which is scaring me.
Almost $50,000 (CAD) is A LOT to spend on a vehicle with major issues like that, especially considering we regularly travel (pre-pandemic) 7 hours to visit family packed with 2 babies and 2 dogs. We really need something reliable, should we pass on the ascent or is there more good ones than bad ones?
 

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2020 CWP Touring
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I think the CVT wiring harness issue that was identified and fixed in a recall (not just a TSB, but a recall) has been generalized as "transmission problems" by some media outlets. It's not a mechanical issue with the transmission, but (from what I understand) rather an issue with a wiring harness that caused faulty temperature sensor readings. Due to the bad readings, the transmission's computer applied the wrong fluid pressure or something similar to that.

Some people have had their transmissions replaced by Subaru under warranty, apparently for matters unrelated to the wiring harness issue. However, I don't think that's particularly unusual. You'll always have things that go wrong and internet forums (like these) are a centralized point for reporting such issues. It doesn't mean that the problems didn't really exist -- just that you're seeing them overly represented on sites like this, because a lot of people come here to seek solutions to issues they're having. Every anecdote is just a single data point. Unfortunately, only Subaru has the actual replacement rate on the 2019 models (through their warranty program), and it'd be only speculation on our part if we attempted to give a figure, like 1 out of every 1,000 has had a transmission replaced, one out of every 10,000, etc.
 

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Why you looking at it then? Plenty of other cars to buy right? If you don't feel right about it, skip it and buy another brand.
 

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We're looking at a used 2019 Premier (in Canada) with 22,000kms. I was pretty sold on it but I keep reading more and more complaints about transmission failures which is scaring me.
Almost $50,000 (CAD) is A LOT to spend on a vehicle with major issues like that, especially considering we regularly travel (pre-pandemic) 7 hours to visit family packed with 2 babies and 2 dogs. We really need something reliable, should we pass on the ascent or is there more good ones than bad ones?
Out of almost 9,000 members, how many people have you seen with transmission problems? Can you even find 100?
 

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I have a 2019 Limited with almost 23,000 miles built in July of 2018, fairly early in the build cycle, and I've had zero mechanical problems so far. My criteria was superior safety, superior AWD, reliability and lots of space to travel to the West coast with dogs every winter, which we we did the winter of '18/'19. 8,000+ mile trip with a brand new car. The pandemic has prevented us from going for a couple of winters but one day we will be pointing the Ascent's nose toward California again without any worries about it. We usually keep our vehicles 8-10 years and that's the plan for our Ascent, so I purchased the 10 year 100,000 miles Gold Plus warranty extension of the Factory warranty.

There have been 4 recalls so far by Subaru on my 2019, they are very proactive in trying to prevent problems with their vehicles once they have identified a potential trouble area. It's important that the recalls be completed as they can directly impact reliability.

The previous owner would have been notified of these recalls by mail and also through the My Subaru app and they should have gotten them completed. I would suggest that you check that yourself for your Ascent here:
Subaru Recall VIN Lookup

Below is a screenshot of the results for my VIN:
6891


I hope that this helps ease your concerns.
 

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Odds are against having any problems, but it happens ( and can happen with any brand). We all post on the forum here, both the good and bad experiences. If you like the car, buy it. You never know how reliable any individual car is going to be versus the statistical average..... There are a lot of great options in this segment, so check all the options out if you're really not sure.

Also with interest rates what they are, you might consider new ( vs used or cpo).
 

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2019 Ascent Touring (CWP)
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I keep reading more and more complaints about transmission failures which is scaring me.
That would be a mis-perception. The transmissions themselves are generally just fine...there will always be a few failures in any make or model. There were some issues with a run of MY19 VINS where there was a transmission harness issue that was causing some transmission failures, but it was not the transmission that was at fault. The unit used in the Ascent has been in production for 12 years now and was most previously used with the now discontinued 6 cylinder versions of the previous generation Outback, for example. Online forums and many "review" organizations tend to make things sound a lot worse than reality. The reality here is that relative to failure, the CVT used in the Ascent is sound and proven technology. There are some things around the programming that folks don't prefer, but that's a whole different conversation.
 

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After 2+ years of owning Ascent (2019 with 25k km) - very similar to what you are looking at. Mechanical part seems quite solid. And in Montreal on an icy / snowy road it shows itself VERY well.
Even more, after CVT recall campaign - they've sent me a paper that warranty on CVT is extended to 10yrs - which is a good sign.
However, battery problems made me paranoid - checking voltage on a daily basis since October. I'd have more concerns about battery, liftgate and "care" of customer care. In any case, these are not too big risks for an entirely new model on the market.
It does not fall apart and it is safe vehicle.
I'd estimate number of "unhappy" ascent owners as less than 1%. Still a good trade-off for features.
On the other hand, if someone buy my Ascent for 50k CAD today - I'd probably add some money and choose 4Runner or Pilot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks everyone, your help is definitely appreciated! The recalls do still show as incomplete but the sales guy said they will show up that way until work orders are closed and Subaru Canada is invoiced from them.

In my province 2019 Premiers are all around $46,000 and 2020 Premiers are $52-55,000. There's definitely better deals out of province but we're hoping to avoid travelling during covid, not to mention travel costs would eat away at any potential savings anyways.
Priced out a 2021 Premier with the same extra features that the 2019 we're looking at has and we'd be looking at $60,000...can't quite justify that haha

Looking forward to joining the Subaru owners club!
 

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Priced out a 2021 Premier with the same extra features that the 2019 we're looking at has and we'd be looking at $60,000...can't quite justify that haha
Wow - that is just crazy! The week of Christmas I bought a 2021 Touring for ~$57,000 Canadian.
 

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I would start sending out some email inquiries to see if you get a better price on a newer Ascent. I negotiated all mine via email, easy as can be.
 

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Here in Manitoba, all dealers sell at manufacturers websites Canadian prices. The only differences are the freight and delivery fees. But then you can basically get the equivalent value added in the way of accessories to cancel that out. If your local dealers are charging over the website price, I’d contact Subaru Canada. Now of course taxes add quite a bit to the total but then you’ll get a better finance rate that will often negate that too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
On an autotrader national search, 2019 Premiers range from $33,798 in Quebec with 82,480km to $45,995 in Saskatchewan with 9,892 - 21,569km.

The one we are looking at is $45,995 (21,569km) with interior protection package incl. deep rubber mats and remote start, none of the others on auto trader have those (must have in rural Saskatchewan 😂) features. Sales guy said there's room to move on price but we haven't gotten that far yet.

2020 Premiers range from $47,195 in BC with 8,978km to $53,490 in Sask with 1,300km

A 2020 with similar kms to the 2019 is only $3000 more but doesn't have remote start, interior package and is 2 provinces over and not at a Subaru dealership.

Hard to say really....totally open to ideas for wheeling and dealing! Are remote starts and interior packages easy to get as "free add ons"?
 

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We're looking at a used 2019 Premier (in Canada) with 22,000kms. I was pretty sold on it but I keep reading more and more complaints about transmission failures which is scaring me.
Almost $50,000 (CAD) is A LOT to spend on a vehicle with major issues like that, especially considering we regularly travel (pre-pandemic) 7 hours to visit family packed with 2 babies and 2 dogs. We really need something reliable, should we pass on the ascent or is there more good ones than bad ones?
It was a wiring harness issue that if not attended to sometimes caused a problem with the cvt. In those cases Subaru replaced the CVT. My harness was replaced but never had a problem with the CVT (2019 limited - USA).
 

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So here the deal at all the dealerships is that they “can’t” budge on the price of a new vehicle, however they have “incentive money” to play with, meaning they can add on various accessories to close the deal. On my Ascent, we played the numbers game on my trade in value to get cash off, my trailer hitch and bike rack until we reached a number I was comfortable with and they could justify. Back when we bought my wife’s Elantra we got snow tires, trailer hitch and remote start. With my Ridgeline it was extended warranty at no cost.
 

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So here the deal at all the dealerships is that they “can’t” budge on the price of a new vehicle, however they have “incentive money” to play with, meaning they can add on various accessories to close the deal. On my Ascent, we played the numbers game on my trade in value to get cash off, my trailer hitch and bike rack until we reached a number I was comfortable with and they could justify. Back when we bought my wife’s Elantra we got snow tires, trailer hitch and remote start. With my Ridgeline it was extended warranty at no cost.
is there some law in Canada I have not heard about? Can not budge on the price? Never heard that one before. the recommendation is that eight dealers be contacted prior to even walking into a dealer to buy. How many did you contact and within what geographic mileage range?
 

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is there some law in Canada I have not heard about? Can not budge on the price? Never heard that one before. the recommendation is that eight dealers be contacted prior to even walking into a dealer to buy. How many did you contact and within what geographic mileage range?
There is only two Subaru dealerships that I’m aware of in Manitoba, and they are the same owner. Next nearest would likely be 6hrs over in the next province. But it’s every brand, they all have the same “policy”. I’m not sure if there are laws about it but it wouldn’t surprise me. At least you know what you are going to have to pay before you go. If you’re not into haggling it’s good, because they aren’t ripping you off charging thousands over sticker. And if you do want to haggle, you can get accessories, warranties, sometimes services, all depends on individual dealer and what they are willing to offer.
The biggest issue here is the packaging, most companies have different trim levels here. Sometimes it works out well as cold weather packages are welcome here. In other cases it’s stupid because they don’t offer a base model . This is the case with Telluride and Pallisade. They drop the base model and charge thousands more for what they call the base here.
 

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2019 Ascent Touring (CWP)
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A 2020 with similar kms to the 2019 is only $3000 more but doesn't have remote start, interior package
Both of those things can be easily added to the vehicle. The remote start fob and electronics are an accessory and dealer installable. You can source the matts, etc., yourself, and shop for best price.
 
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