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I purchased my 2019 Ascent Limited in March this year and took it on a trip from Ohio to Seattle and back with stops in Yellowstone and other national parks. My previous car was a 2015 Toyota Highlander XLE, which I loved. My previous four cars were Toyota SUV's; all were excellent cars and extremely reliable. I purchased the Ascent based on reviews and because I wanted to have a car with updated safety equipment. I am 69 years old.

I left Ohio with approximately 1200 miles on the car. I find the car is very comfortable to drive, smooth, quick acceleration, smooth ride, very comfortable seats, very refined. I drove about 75 - 80 miles per hour on most major highways going out and back as that is the legal limit and the car did not ever fail me. Many days were filled with driving 10 hours a day. One of my complaints about the Highlander was that I felt fatigue sitting in the car for long periods of time. The Highlander seats were a bit problematic for me. So the Ascent was a big improvement. I would say that the Ascent seems faster to 60 mph than the Highlander.

My gas mileage ranged from 21 mpg to 27.5mpg. I found that you can not rely on the inboard computer of the Ascent to give an accurate reading. I was a bit suspicious as to how high a reading it was giving me, so I started taking the mileage at fill-up and dividing by the gallons at fill-up. I found the car computer was not accurate until the half to 1/4 empty mark and then I think it was 1/2 to 1 mpg off ( the computer being too optimistic). I rarely got more than 23mpg on the 6 cylinder 6 speed Highlander. It seemed I was getting at least an extra 50 miles per tank compared to the Highlander. They have the same size gas tank. When in Yellowstone, the speed limit being 45, the car computer was telling me 27 -28 mpg. Again, I think this was a bit optimistic.

Noting some other observations people have been having with the car, I did notice the hood vibrating in strong crosswinds and driving at 80mph.

My biggest problems have been with the operation of the radio, especially Carplay. I used the TuneIn app, Podcast, and Google maps. I also have built-in navigation. It took me awhile to figure out that you have to double touch certain "buttons" on the screen to get them to work, and they do not always respond right away and sometimes lock up completely. Several times I had to plug and un-plug the USB to Iphone plug to get it to work. Sometimes it just randomly stopped working. Once the sound completely disappeared, and resetting the unit by holding the on/off volume button for 10 seconds did not restore the sound. I had to stop the car and shut off the engine and restart the motor to get it back in operation. For me, it does not always operate as intended or as smoothly as I would like. It is the most frustrating part of the car for me.

I liked all the safety equipment on the car. The RAB with a large rear view screen when backing up is great and saved me a few times. Blind Spot monitoring also helped me a couple of times when going through Chicago in very busy traffic. And the best is the Adaptive Cruise Control which cuts down on the fatigue of constant breaking and starting up again. I do not completely trust that it would stop the car before rear ending someone who has suddenly stopped in front of me.

Overall, I was impressed with the car. It is an improvement over the Highlander in many ways. It remains to be seen how reliable the car will be as all my Toyotas have been fantastically reliable.
 

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Good write up. Glad you had a great trip.

I also really like all the new safety features found on the Ascent. The ACC is amazing on trips.

Unfortunately I also find the Apple CarPlay a bit finicky too. I guess that is what we get trying to get Apple and Subaru to play nicely together.
 

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Excellent write-up, thanks for sharing it. I appreciate your honest impressions. I think many folks find the infotainment system to be the weakest link in late-model Subarus. I know in the 2015 and 2018 Crosstreks we have owned the Harmon Kardon systems have been just as problematic. I have no idea if this is true for CarPlay, but I know for Android Auto, changing certain settings can greatly help in reducing the bugs/glitches. Also, a firmware update has cut down almost completely on the crashes and lockups. It's still a clunky system, but at least it ends up working most of the time.
 

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Excellent write-up, thanks for sharing it. I appreciate your honest impressions. I think many folks find the infotainment system to be the weakest link in late-model Subarus. I know in the 2015 and 2018 Crosstreks we have owned the Harmon Kardon systems have been just as problematic. I have no idea if this is true for CarPlay, but I know for Android Auto, changing certain settings can greatly help in reducing the bugs/glitches. Also, a firmware update has cut down almost completely on the crashes and lockups. It's still a clunky system, but at least it ends up working most of the time.
Good review and write up by the op. However, you think Subarus infotainment is bad? Lol you haven't had an ancient Toyota system like on my 2018 tundra. That thing is like the early 2000s.

I would take the infotainment system from Subaru anytime. I recently rented a Kia SUV and the AA really sucked bad. After a few seconds of connection with Google maps it just loses the connection and says can't connect via USB.
 

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Unfortunately I also find the Apple CarPlay a bit finicky too. I guess that is what we get trying to get Apple and Subaru to play nicely together.
I'm still trying to figure out if CarPlay issues are caused by the head unit or my phone. This morning my drive was about 30 minutes longer because CarPlay didn't come up and therefore Waze wasn't going. I got stuck on the interstate parking lot. I was stopped long enough to turn my engine off and power cycle the head unit, but when it came back on it didn't do the full startup; it just came back on. Maybe I should've gotten out with the key fob and took a walk. I also restarted my phone, which is jailbroken, so that may be an issue too. Either way, it works at least 99% of the time for me. Its that <1% that always gets me!
 

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I'm still trying to figure out if CarPlay issues are caused by the head unit or my phone. This morning my drive was about 30 minutes longer because CarPlay didn't come up and therefore Waze wasn't going. I got stuck on the interstate parking lot. I was stopped long enough to turn my engine off and power cycle the head unit, but when it came back on it didn't do the full startup; it just came back on. Maybe I should've gotten out with the key fob and took a walk. I also restarted my phone, which is jailbroken, so that may be an issue too. Either way, it works at least 99% of the time for me. Its that <1% that always gets me!
In my Impreza, when I power off the engine, I also make sure to open the driver door to make sure the radio turns off.
 

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Thanks for your review. I'm happy to see someone with non-Subie experience doing a direct comparison. Welcome to the Subaru family!

I know what you're talking about with the CarPlay lag. I notice it from time to time, almost always when it's first starting up. I've found that it's best for me to just wait for it to catch up rather than double tapping because that'll just delay the input gesture.

TuneIn is a little glitchy for me too. I think it might be the app when used with CarPlay. Aside from that, Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music have all been working fine for me. I think the problem is related to low signal coverage which happens from time to time, but poses a problem if you're launching TuneIn in this low signal area.

As far as I know, the "rubber feet" on the hood can be somewhat adjusted to help with hood flutter. My wife's Honda Pilot also has highway speed flutter and I was just told by the service department "that's how they are" because they're a thinner material.
 

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In my Impreza, when I power off the engine, I also make sure to open the driver door to make sure the radio turns off.
I did that, and waited about 30 seconds. I'm thinking it wasnt long enough since i still had the fob in the car.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Excellent write-up, thanks for sharing it. I appreciate your honest impressions. I think many folks find the infotainment system to be the weakest link in late-model Subarus. I know in the 2015 and 2018 Crosstreks we have owned the Harmon Kardon systems have been just as problematic. I have no idea if this is true for CarPlay, but I know for Android Auto, changing certain settings can greatly help in reducing the bugs/glitches. Also, a firmware update has cut down almost completely on the crashes and lockups. It's still a clunky system, but at least it ends up working most of the time.
One thing that I recently discovered is that when the phone is plugged in it has to be Logged in. This has helped. I think most of the problems are software problems, being logged in is a procedural problem. Tunein is problematic.
 

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I just completed a 2800 mile round trip for family business in Florida as well as some "visiting" and had zero issues with CarPlay. My usage was phone, text, Google Maps (all of the trip), the Apple music application (most of the trip) and my local non-commercial radio station's app (occasionally and when cellular signal allowed for it - wxpn.org).
 
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