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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I've never owned a new car but after our Honda Odyssey gave up the ghost with 260k miles we splurged on an 2021 Ascent with 1200 miles. It was crazy expensive but everything is these days. Anyhow, I have also been Toyota guy but elected to not get a Sequoia because of the fuel economy and AWD Siennas are not easy to find. Instead we compromised on size for something more efficient (or so we thought).

We have only used the Ascent for running around our small town and the speed limit is 60mph on the hwy. It has was typically getting about 16mpg for our combined town and highway driving. I was pretty disappointed but thought we do so many short trips it wasn't probably too unreasonable.

We took our first road trip over Christmas break from Idaho to southern Utah. We have 4 kids so I had the roof top carrier on. I calculated the mileage for the whole trip and got as bad as 9mpg on a tank and as high as 14mpg. Overall, we averaged about 12mpg. I am extremely disappointed! I called two Subaru dealers to ask them if they had seen this before and they both said that they had not nor did they every hear of a service bulletin for the issue.

Its a nice car to drive around town in but man, what a gutless pig on the open road. After about 2 hours on the interstate I almost considered turning around and loading up in the F250 diesel work truck as it gets about 18 mpg on the open highway at 80mph. I felt like the Ascent just couldn't hold speed very well and was straining all the time if there was any grade. I ended up setting the cruise at 70 even though the speed limit was 80.

My thoughts are Subaru undersized the engine for the application? It's actually not up to the task of hauling 6 passengers and luggage on a road trip. Keep in mind we are a family with little kids so it wasn't terribly heavy. I tried everything from manually shifting for a few tanks to reducing speed and drafting a semi. Overall I'd say besides my old 1993 land cruiser, it was the worst vehicle I have ever driven on the interstate for performance and fuel economy. Oh how I missed the ratty old Honda mini van. It would do 90mph if you weren't careful and pull 20mpg.

I'm either super unlucky or somebody else has to be experiencing this too. I think I'm going to trade it off even though I will be taking a big hit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I think what's most disappointing is that my 2008 Tundra with 35" tires and 391hp pulls about 14-15mpg on the same trip and cruises with ease and I can put 2000 lbs of gear in it and not worry. I've owned some older 2.5 naturally aspirated Subarus and I thought they were great, maybe this new CVT stuff just isn't the answer. Subaru really missed the mark.
 

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2019 Ascent Touring (CWP)
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What you are describing isn't normal. Something is amiss. I average nearly 27 mpg on the highway and 19 in mixed local driving. I don't exceed 65-70 on the highway and I have a very light foot.

The engine isn't undersized but the turbo spools up very quickly and that can use fuel. It can take some effort to retrain one's foot as has been mentioned many, many times over the past four years here. You cannot drive it like many other vehicles because of the turbo. Speed matters and folks out west with high speed limits on the roads who actually drive at high speeds are going to suffer at the pump. The faster one goes, the faster the tank drains. Headwinds affect things, So does a roof-top carrier as it makes what is essentially a brick a bigger brick. ;)

Again, there is some problem here if you're getting fuel economy like you're towing heavy without a big wind-sale trailer behind you. Get things checked out.

BTW, the CVT isn't new. The version in the Ascent has been in use for over 13 years now.
 

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I think what's most disappointing is that my 2008 Tundra with 35" tires and 391hp pulls about 14-15mpg on the same trip and cruises with ease and I can put 2000 lbs of gear in it and not worry. I've owned some older 2.5 naturally aspirated Subarus and I thought they were great, maybe this new CVT stuff just isn't the answer. Subaru really missed the mark.
The CVT AND the turbo is not a good combo! The ascent is a good highway cruiser but terrible at low speed and city driving!
 

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2023 Ascent Touring / 2020 Forester Touring
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I think what's most disappointing is that my 2008 Tundra with 35" tires and 391hp pulls about 14-15mpg on the same trip and cruises with ease and I can put 2000 lbs of gear in it and not worry. I've owned some older 2.5 naturally aspirated Subarus and I thought they were great, maybe this new CVT stuff just isn't the answer. Subaru really missed the mark.
unless you forgetting to mention 4000+ trailer , your numbers don't make any sense..

I have Thule Force X-Large and stil getting 19+ MPG going to Colorado mountains from Dallas Tx and 25+MPG going back ..
and never below speed limit;)
 

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I am getting around 22 mixed and 27 on the highway driving 75 in my 2020. I got a hair better than that before the transmission reprogram but still good for the size vehicle. Running 80 would be a breeze but I don't want a ticket. I think in city driving could bring it down but I have never experienced milage or loss of power like described here. I have 44,000 miles on mine.
 

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2021 Subaru Ascent Touring
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As others have said, this isn’t normals have you checked the air filter? We pulled a 2k trailer across all western US and I hit 80 and above with the trailer when I did pay attention, sometimes going up hill. And we averaged about 16mpg towing the trailer on that trip which included a lot of mountains and continental divides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I know, I wouldn't believe it if someone else told me either. I was having to fill up every 175-200 miles. I kept all my receipts from the trip and reverified based on the road mileage to make sure I wasn't having an issue with my odometer. The last 1200 miles of driving I have averaged 13.7 MPG. I was thinking that maybe the winter blend fuel was to blame but my Tundra just averaged about 13 on its last fill up which is about the EPA rating for it for city style driving.

I tried trading it in today for a Sequoia but the dealer would only offer me $26k....I paid nearly $40k for it just a few months ago. I know I would be upside down trying to turn it that fast but I'm pretty sure I could still be in the $30k-$35k range selling private party.

I'll check the air filter but its dead of winter with virtually zero dust and its only got 6800 miles on it.
 

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2021 Ascent Touring
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I know, I wouldn't believe it if someone else told me either. I was having to fill up every 175-200 miles. I kept all my receipts from the trip and reverified based on the road mileage to make sure I wasn't having an issue with my odometer. The last 1200 miles of driving I have averaged 13.7 MPG. I was thinking that maybe the winter blend fuel was to blame but my Tundra just averaged about 13 on its last fill up which is about the EPA rating for it for city style driving.
I don't think anyone is arguing with your numbers. We're trying to tell you that there's something wrong with the vehicle, not your math. Our most recent road trip was only ~600 miles, but it was over the Cascades (sea level to ~5K in ~30 miles) loaded with 3 adult humans, 360 lb of dogs and a giant Thule cargo box on top (not to mention the hitch mounted platform on the back. We got 21mpg on the way out there and almost 24mpg on the way back (start at 4K feet rather than sea level). And it never lacked for power (nor has it ever and I've owned an Ascent since early 2019 although this one is a 2021).

So there's clearly something up with your vehicle and you need to get it back to the dealer to have it sorted out.
 

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I know, I wouldn't believe it if someone else told me either. I was having to fill up every 175-200 miles. I kept all my receipts from the trip and reverified based on the road mileage to make sure I wasn't having an issue with my odometer. The last 1200 miles of driving I have averaged 13.7 MPG. I was thinking that maybe the winter blend fuel was to blame but my Tundra just averaged about 13 on its last fill up which is about the EPA rating for it for city style driving.

I tried trading it in today for a Sequoia but the dealer would only offer me $26k....I paid nearly $40k for it just a few months ago. I know I would be upside down trying to turn it that fast but I'm pretty sure I could still be in the $30k-$35k range selling private party.
Driving style may be a factor as well. I can drive at ~22mpg combined, however, my wife only gets less than 18mpg.
 

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I am getting around 22 mixed and 27 on the highway driving 75 in my 2020. I got a hair better than that before the transmission reprogram but still good for the size vehicle. Running 80 would be a breeze but I don't want a ticket. I think in city driving could bring it down but I have never experienced milage or loss of power like described here. I have 44,000 miles on mine.
I never had a 27mpg on my 19 ascent! Right now I’m at 16-18 mpg with mixed city and highway driving! I don’t know how you drive your Bigaru to get 22-27 mpg!
 

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I would definitely get it checked out. We have a 2019 and on highway trips I generally average 28-30 mpg depending on where I’m going (mountains, hills, just flat road, etc). In town we’re usually in the 19-21 mpg range.
Even loaded with 7 of us (4 adults, 3 kids) I’ve gotten 26+ on highway driving through mountains.

I feel like it wasn’t until around 30k miles that we started getting this mileage though. Before that, it was more 25-26mpg on highway at best. So, took some time to really break in for whatever reason.
 

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2023 Tesla M3P, 2020 Ascent (sold), 2011 WRX, 2009 Outback
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$26k for a 2021? In Oct I sold to a dealer (straight cash, no purchase of vehicle) my 2020 with over 30k miles for about $36k. You offer doesn't seem right unless you have a base model.
 

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2022 ASCENT PREMIUM
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Something not right.
Our first road trip in our 2022 Premium last summer yielded at least 20mpg the entire 2,000 mile treck. I am NOT light on the throttle(turbo IS fun!), and was going about 80-85mph. Also had the Mont Blanc / Subaru roof box on to keep stanky hockey gear in.
 

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Something isn't right with your car. I've got a 2019 Premium 7 seater. We have triplet 11 year old boys, dog, wife, and a Thule rooftop carrier. With no roof box on, we were getting 27-31 mpg running at freeway speeds if the terrain was relatively flat. With the roof box on, our mpg dropped about 2 - 3 mpg. We now have Wildpeak All Trails tires which has caused our mpg to drop to 22 - 23 mpg at freeway speeds. Bear in mind that I do not drive slow. Typically we're running at 75-80 mph. We've driven all over the Western USA and Western Canada and gotten about the same mpg. If I take it to San Francisco with all its hills and stop and go traffic, I can dip into the mid-to low teens, but that's going up and down some really steep hills and in mad traffic.

We also have a 2014 Odyssey Touring Elite. That thing will get at best 22 mpg on the freeway, and around 15 - 17 mpg around town. It's totally gutless on hills.

The Ascent actually has plenty of power going up long grades due to the turbo. Unlike a normally aspirated motor, as you gain elevation, the forced air induction from the turbo prevents you from losing much power. The Odyssey and every other normally aspirated vehicle I've owned, become dogs at altitude. The higher you go, the less power you have.

Hi,

I've never owned a new car but after our Honda Odyssey gave up the ghost with 260k miles we splurged on an 2021 Ascent with 1200 miles. It was crazy expensive but everything is these days. Anyhow, I have also been Toyota guy but elected to not get a Sequoia because of the fuel economy and AWD Siennas are not easy to find. Instead we compromised on size for something more efficient (or so we thought).

We have only used the Ascent for running around our small town and the speed limit is 60mph on the hwy. It has was typically getting about 16mpg for our combined town and highway driving. I was pretty disappointed but thought we do so many short trips it wasn't probably too unreasonable.

We took our first road trip over Christmas break from Idaho to southern Utah. We have 4 kids so I had the roof top carrier on. I calculated the mileage for the whole trip and got as bad as 9mpg on a tank and as high as 14mpg. Overall, we averaged about 12mpg. I am extremely disappointed! I called two Subaru dealers to ask them if they had seen this before and they both said that they had not nor did they every hear of a service bulletin for the issue.

Its a nice car to drive around town in but man, what a gutless pig on the open road. After about 2 hours on the interstate I almost considered turning around and loading up in the F250 diesel work truck as it gets about 18 mpg on the open highway at 80mph. I felt like the Ascent just couldn't hold speed very well and was straining all the time if there was any grade. I ended up setting the cruise at 70 even though the speed limit was 80.

My thoughts are Subaru undersized the engine for the application? It's actually not up to the task of hauling 6 passengers and luggage on a road trip. Keep in mind we are a family with little kids so it wasn't terribly heavy. I tried everything from manually shifting for a few tanks to reducing speed and drafting a semi. Overall I'd say besides my old 1993 land cruiser, it was the worst vehicle I have ever driven on the interstate for performance and fuel economy. Oh how I missed the ratty old Honda mini van. It would do 90mph if you weren't careful and pull 20mpg.

I'm either super unlucky or somebody else has to be experiencing this too. I think I'm going to trade it off even though I will be taking a big hit.
 

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21 Ascent Premium, 18 Outback Ltd 2.5
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820 Posts
Another vote for something wrong with your Ascent. My 2021 averages 18-21mpg mixed driving and I'm not easy on the gas. I can get the mileage into the upper 20s on a freeway trip if I keep it at the 65mph limit we have in NJ.

Your description of the engine being undersized and gutless is telling. The Ascent is no formula 1 car but it's definitely not gutless. There is one particular freeway on-ramp on an uphill and I have 0 issues going from 35 to 80+ to merge into the freeway. I've never felt it to be underpowered, and I constantly get on it.

As others have suggested, it sounds like there's an issue with airflow. Maybe there is a blockage on the intake side, or maybe an exhaust issue (defective cat?). It could also be a defect in the turbo. Take it in to the dealer for service. Ask to drive a loaner Ascent and compare the power. If needed, ride along with the service tech to prove your point (I've had to do this on more than one occasion).

Good luck with it and keep us posted.
 

· Super Moderator
2019 Ascent Touring (CWP)
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I don't think anyone is arguing with your numbers. We're trying to tell you that there's something wrong with the vehicle, not your math.
^^ THIS!!
 
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2022 Ascent Onyx, Ice Silver
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Something is out of whack (technical term). My 2022 with 11K+ miles is getting 19.5 on the current tank, all in town. I typically get 26-28 MPG highway, averaging 75 MPH with a light load. Something like a restricted exhaust, bad injectors, restricted intake path, etc. could be the issue. My car is not lacking in performance, if I don't set the cruise, I see 85 MPH frequently without trying, uphill or down. One online road test recorded a 0-60 time of 7.2 seconds, hardly a "dog".

I would open a case with Subaru of America (1 800 subaru3) and see what they say. Also, used prices have tumbled in the past few months. Run the car through Carvana, Edmunds, etc, and see what the cash offer is. $26K seems way low.
 

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2022 ASCENT PREMIUM
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60 Posts
Something is out of whack (technical term). My 2022 with 11K+ miles is getting 19.5 on the current tank, all in town. I typically get 26-28 MPG highway, averaging 75 MPH with a light load. Something like a restricted exhaust, bad injectors, restricted intake path, etc. could be the issue. My car is not lacking in performance, if I don't set the cruise, I see 85 MPH frequently without trying, uphill or down. One online road test recorded a 0-60 time of 7.2 seconds, hardly a "dog".

I would open a case with Subaru of America (1 800 subaru3) and see what they say. Also, used prices have tumbled in the past few months. Run the car through Carvana, Edmunds, etc, and see what the cash offer is. $26K seems way low.
It’s ridiculous, the used prices out there. Paid the same for my BRAND NEW 2022 Premium……
 
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