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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well, I had my first, and maybe only, road trip in my daughter’s Ascent today. She and hubby had gone to a lakeside cabin about 150 miles away and hubby had left his wallet there in the locked, privately owned cabin.
Great, well, really nice, and retired grandfather that I am, I volunteered to go up and retrieve it, with my 10 year old grandson along for company, and because he knew the layout of the place.
My price, I got to take their 2021 Ascent Premium for the trip, leaving my 2021 Outback Premium in their driveway.
80% of the trip over the 300 mile round trip took place on 60-70 mph highways, with about 20% on 20-40 mph country roads. Smooth, quiet, much quieter than my Outback at 60-70 mph. And the turbo definitely has much more punch on small throttle changes than my 2.5 Outback. I over accelerated quite a bit early on until I developed a feel for the throttle. Really liked the vehicle.
I’m used to getting 32-34 mpg in my Outback on similar road trips involving lots of highway, and staying below 70 mph.. The Ascent, over the course of the trip, and using just the vehicle computer average, never strayed very far above or below 26 mpg during the trip, which I thought was pretty good for this larger vehicle with a turbo engine. I had intended to fill up the Ascent both before and after for an almost exact fuel usage but that didn’t work out.
Conclusion, I enjoyed my Ascent experience, and I’m glad my daughter and family, with my 3 grandkids, have the Ascent. I like the Subaru safety aspects for their family and the 3rd row is perfect for them.
Me, I’m still very satisfied my smaller, nimble, better milage, Outback. (My 3rd one) And I do like my Outback’s larger display. And I like the 2.5 naturally aspirated flat 4. It’s been all I have needed in my 3 Outbacks from sea level to 10,000 feet elevations, and speeds from 0-80 mph. My jury’s still out on the turbo 2.4 engine long term reliability.
Glad I had the Ascent experience. My curiosity is now satisfied. If we didn’t already have a 2018 Explorer with the 3rd row as a grandkid hauler, I might have one. They weren’t around in 2018 when we were shopping for 3rd row equipped vehicles.
PS: I must admit, for a short spell on the way home in my Outback it felt a bit compact, for lack of a better word. But it quickly got back to feeling its normal spacious enough self.
 

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Great to get your take on the Ascent coming from a new Outback. Sounds like you got really good MPG for a trip of that duration at those varying speeds and roads. You're definitely right about feathering the Ascent's throttle being an acquired skill. That engine is strong, but can be thirsty if you have a heavy foot. I'm sure that's a factor in some people's poor in-town MPG (even after getting the corrective ECU update).
 

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I waited for the ascent in 2017 and then received it in december 2018 .... so far so good!

When the turbo spooled up for acceleration, my 4yr old would tell me I'm going too fast :giggle:
 

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I love the way the engine snarls when the turbo kicks in.... ;)
But
I hate what it does to gas mileage.:rolleyes:
 

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100% agree. I really wish the MPG was better or at least easier to determine the sweet spot on the pedal as I feel like there's a very thin line between fast enough with good MPG and a little too fast with poor MPG. I always know just how subpar the MPG is going to be driving in-town, even when trying to have a light touch on the accelerator. Maybe we need a throttle remapper to help us with that...
 

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I own an Outback XT and I am happy with the trade off of the power/refinement compared to the economy. It runs much quieter. However you do make some great points. I’m hoping Subaru launches an Ascent Wilderness in the future.
 

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I feel like there's a very thin line between fast enough with good MPG and a little too fast with poor MPG.
Put the Throttle % up on the customizable info display. It will help teach your throttle foot the balance between acceleration and economy.

My quick summary. It takes 15-20% to get Ascent moving without bogging and upshifting too quickly to keep up in stop and go traffic. 20-40% is good balance for economy between red lights. Occasional use of 40-50% and I can still keep mpg above 20. Use 50%+ more than 2-3 times and the mpg for that tank will be below 20. I live in a congested area and do a lot of stop and go with some 4-5 miles interstate runs. YMMV.
 

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I had an '18 Outback Touring and I drove both the '21 Touring XT and the '21 Ascent Touring. I agree that the naturally aspirated engine in the OB is fine, but the turbo is FUN :). We decided on the Ascent because at the time the cost difference was minimal and having the extra space (not so much the seats) was tough to pass up.

While I wouldn't mind a larger screen, I still appreciate the buttons for quick tasks! On mpg, I have averaged about 25 over my first 6K miles with a mix of highway and local driving. My '18 OB was usually around 28-30 (depending on the time of year) with the same driving routine, so the few extra bucks for the extra space/seats/turbo were worthwhile to me.

On throttle management, it did take some time to get used to only engaging it enough for the turbo when needed (or sometimes just wanted), so overall, I still am happy with the choice based on my needs. I am oddly happy that the '22 Onyx edition is a lower-level trim with the non-leather seats, otherwise I would have wished I had waited since I still prefer the leather and other bells and whistles of the Touring.

Good luck with your OB!
 

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I routinely get low 20s in my 2.5 Outback with my driving style, I'm not going to do well in my Ascent! Wish I had records of mileage with my 2002 Explorer, the Ascent has got to beat that...
 

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Thanks for posting your thoughts on Outback/Ascent. I was an Outback driver for nearly 25 years, so definitely a big difference (esp given that my Outback was OLD). In an ideal world with plenty of money I'd gladly have a new Outback to sit beside our Ascent. (and a Crosstrek too would be fun!) For now, though, our Ascent is wonderful and all we need.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
In an ideal world with plenty of money I'd gladly have a new Outback to sit beside our Ascent. (and a Crosstrek too would be fun!) For now, though, our Ascent is wonderful and all we need.
In that world, I’d have the Outback, the Ascent, and a Forester out front. Along with a Generac whole house generator, a Wilson Combat 1911, season tickets to a box for the Spurs and Cowboys games, and …………..
Oh well, happy enough with my health, house, Outback, wife, kids, and grandkids.
 

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In that world, I’d have the Outback, the Ascent, and a Forester out front. Along with a Generac whole house generator, a Wilson Combat 1911, season tickets to a box for the Spurs and Cowboys games, and …………..
Oh well, happy enough with my health, house, Outback, wife, kids, and grandkids.
Season tics for SPURS games would be awesome! I grew up in SA during Gervin's heyday and still miss going to games all the time. (I live up here in Portland these days)
 
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