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Have the dealer look the car over. You might have a vacuum leak which would affect the power and fueling And not cause a check engine light. What stands out to me is you said it was gutless and getting poor mileage. I don’t get great mileage but the car has plenty of power.
 

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The Subaru Ascent was made for fans of Subaru who wanted more room and better tow ratings. I owned one. Although help me here I can't seem to think of many if any other manufacturers that put turbo 4's in their 3-row SUVs other than Ford, not great company IMO. Hyundai, Kia, Honda, Jeep, and VW all 6 cylinders. Maybe BMW or Mercedes have turbo 4s in their 3-row offerings although not comparable to a Subaru in price, quality, and engineering.
Not to mention a bigger engine when loaded down will always do better on the open road since it doesn't have to work as hard.
If you're serious about trading it in I'd suggest a newer used Chevrolet Tahoe for what it sounds like your needs are.
 

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The Subaru Ascent was made for fans of Subaru who wanted more room and better tow ratings. I owned one. Although help me here I can't seem to think of many if any other manufacturers that put turbo 4's in their 3-row SUVs other than Ford, not great company IMO. Hyundai, Kia, Honda, Jeep, and VW all 6 cylinders. Maybe BMW or Mercedes have turbo 4s in their 3-row offerings although not comparable to a Subaru in price, quality, and engineering. Not to mention a bigger engine when loaded down will always do better on the open road since it doesn't have to work as hard. If you're serious about trading it in I'd suggest a newer used Chevrolet Tahoe for what it sounds like your needs are.
The new 2023 Toyota Highlander is now a Turbo 4 as well.
 

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2022 Ascent Onyx, Ice Silver
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The Subaru Ascent was made for fans of Subaru who wanted more room and better tow ratings. I owned one. Although help me here I can't seem to think of many if any other manufacturers that put turbo 4's in their 3-row SUVs other than Ford, not great company IMO. Hyundai, Kia, Honda, Jeep, and VW all 6 cylinders. Maybe BMW or Mercedes have turbo 4s in their 3-row offerings although not comparable to a Subaru in price, quality, and engineering.
Not to mention a bigger engine when loaded down will always do better on the open road since it doesn't have to work as hard.
If you're serious about trading it in I'd suggest a newer used Chevrolet Tahoe for what it sounds like your needs are.
The Genesis GV70 & GV80 are also 4 cyl 2.5l turbo 4s. The NA V6s need to run high RPMs to deliver TQ and HP. The turbo 4s deliver TQ at lower RPMs and have a flatter TQ curve. I believe Honda & Toyota have gone to turbo 4s as well.

I'm not aware of any 3 row AWD SUVs that get appreciably better MPG than the Ascent (hybrids excluded). The V8 Tahoe or Yukon are good options if you need to tow more than #5000.
 

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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.
QUESTION:
Do you two foot drive? If so, I suggest you don't. That will easily cause all the symptoms you're describing. And eat the heck out of your brakes.


Wow, I can't make that gas mileage if I tried. I'd literally have to be towing my friend's travel trailer and trying for crappy gas mileage to get that low. I got 13.6 towing this through 4 mountain ranges doing 70+
Wheel Tire Land vehicle Vehicle Car



And as for the engine being undersized, hardly. MANY of us find the Ascent will sneakily climb into the 80 mph+ and beyond range if we're not looking. It handles 100+ pretty easily, including in Utah. And even off-roading in Utah, while packed to its full 6,000 pound GVWR and tackling 4x4 trails, I get better gas mileage than that.

Tire Wheel Cloud Sky Plant
 

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2022 Subaru Ascent Touring, 2010 Subaru Legacy 2.5GT
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I just did my first road trip at the end of December, towing a 700# cargo trailer in the winter. So this would be worst mileage conditions, apart from increasing drag like you would with a rooftop cargo carrier. I was getting 24-26 mpg over the 1300 miles that I drove, and I am not very easy with the accelerator pedal.

As others have mentioned, the fact that you are feeling that the engine is gutless is a red flag, something might be wrong with your engine or drivetrain. It is a four cylinder, but definitely not gutless, tons of torque from 2500-4500rpm compared to a NA V6.

Definitely have someone check your engine out, if there is a problem like a boost leak you could be running lean which is bad for your engine and catalytic converter.
 

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2019 Subaru Ascent Limited 2010 Subaru Legacy GT limited
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You have to be working the throttle pretty hard to average 13.xx mpg. Even with a roof box and loaded down you should do better than that, it definitely sounds like you have an issue. What is your air pressure set at?
 

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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.
With used car prices falling precipitously, dealers do not want to be stuck with a loss on a trade-in. All trade-in values are normalizing which is a complete reversal from the past couple of years. I am not saying you buy a used vehicle for significantly less than last year, but the trade-in value will have dropped significantly.
 

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I’ve done 2 major road trips now, both in California. One north one south With family in tow. Both times in the 22mpg Range. Both with and without my Thule cargo box up top. I’m thinking, either something is wrong with your car, or you may be launching it off the line from every stop sign you’re at. Around town, especially with a lot of stop and go, you should not go higher than 2K RPM off the line. That engine little likes to rev and go on boost fast. Once that happens, the gas will flow. keep it below 2K rpm’s off the line and you should see a vast improvement. As for highway, that’s where I think something might be wrong. My car gets great mileage on the highway between 65-80mph. barely breaks a sweat on mild inclines. Maintaining speed going Up the CA Grapevine I saw a pretty good dip in mph but nothing to cause alarm. That’s pretty extreme for highway driving. However, there was always plenty of power.
 

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2022 Ascent Onyx, Ice Silver
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2020 touring 41k miles
Mixed driving I get 19
Today at 55 got 28-35
Greensboro to the beach 5 adults loaded to the ceiling 32

maybe the low mpg is a setting or computer setting
Good point. I don't recall if the OP is hand calculating or going by the car's readout. It might be worth comparing the two.
 

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Everything you are complaining about sounds like a turbo system problem. My diesel ran like a complete dog with a small exhaust leak between the turbo and the exhaust header. It never threw a code and was a complete nightmare to chase down. But I had all of the same symptoms. Poor mileage, poor power, etc. The Ascent does not show the boost while driving which would be one way to diagnose if it is an intake or exhaust leak.
 

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I have a 2020 Ascent. Its smooth riding, in the city I get about 22 MPG, and have gotten 28 on the highway. But, its a very comfortable ride, everyone who has been in it loves it. In fact, made a 300 mile trip and 300 miles back, with 6 full size adults in it, and everyone was comfortable. So, it sounds like you have a lemon. But, you should pursue any issues with Subaru until they are resolved.
 

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I wonder if we'll get an update from @riverrunner.

No need to say what everyone else it saying regarding what the mpgs should be. I understand it's the middle of winter and checking the air filter wouldn't be pleasant, but maybe there's a small animal nesting in the airbox or something? Also, could a stuck caliper create this scenario? ...just throwing some stufff out there.
 

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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.
I have a 2000 Ascent and have never gotten over 21mpg. As far as the transmission, mine has had 2 major repairs and they still don't know exactly what is wrong.
 

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@riverrunner something definitely wrong with car. I have a 2019 ascent premium. In the beginning I was experiencing low mileage and all kinda wired issues I was getting 12 in city, but it got better later on, but I was getting like 26-28 in highway. I would say call SOA, open a case, let’s see there response, sometimes dealerships no help or they don’t know. I understand your frustration,
 
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