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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey there!

I’m considering purchasing an Ascent. It’ll be my first Subaru. I’m coming from a 2004 Toyota Highlander with 243k miles on the original transmission. I have had almost zero problems with this car - the blend door actuator broke and I replaced the master switch for the windows. Other than that, everything else was routine.

It’s between the Subaru and the 4Runner. I like the safety and price of the Subaru on the surface, but I worry about reliability.

I’m a dog trainer, and a smallish 5’1” woman. I travel alone (with dogs) all over the country, and the idea of the battery dying on me (even with a portable charger) in the middle of the night is pretty worrisome.

Question 1: if I get a manual lift gate, can I leave it open without the battery dying?

Question 2: can I just get a better battery if that doesn’t

Question : is there anything else I should be concerned about? I’m used to no car payment and not fixing a darn thing outside of routine stuff, so I’d be very unhappy to have a car payment and a bunch of issues.

Thank you!!
 

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Hey there!

I’m considering purchasing an Ascent. It’ll be my first Subaru. I’m coming from a 2004 Toyota Highlander with 243k miles on the original transmission. I have had almost zero problems with this car - the blend door actuator broke and I replaced the master switch for the windows. Other than that, everything else was routine.

It’s between the Subaru and the 4Runner. I like the safety and price of the Subaru on the surface, but I worry about reliability.

I’m a dog trainer, and a smallish 5’1” woman. I travel alone (with dogs) all over the country, and the idea of the battery dying on me (even with a portable charger) in the middle of the night is pretty worrisome.

Question 1: if I get a manual lift gate, can I leave it open without the battery dying?

Question 2: can I just get a better battery if that doesn’t

Question : is there anything else I should be concerned about? I’m used to no car payment and not fixing a darn thing outside of routine stuff, so I’d be very unhappy to have a car payment and a bunch of issues.

Thank you!!
using the OEM battery as you describe will not work out for you. I do not know if a more robust battery will suffice if you plan on leaving the lift gate open for extended periods of time. No issues should exist with reliability. The 4 runner is very much a different beast. You will get lower mpg with the Toyota 4 runner and a rougher ride. The only real reason for the 4 runner over the Ascent would be if you were driving it for four wheeling in rougher trails. The Ascent can handle rough terrains but it is not a 4 wheel drive like the 4Runner. The 4 Runner will also cost you more at the dealer and has a lower safety rating. The Ascent is made in the USA so it will cost less to deliver it to you. The Ascent will offer you the option to carry more passengers while still providing the option of room for gear or furry friends with the third and maybe the second row down.

Unless you have some specialty need the Ascent in my opinion offers a better value. There are work arounds for the battery issue as long as you recognize the issue up front.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! Those were my reasons for choosing the Ascent, but leaving the light gate open is a requirement. If I can’t do that, I can’t get the Ascent.

Do you know if this is only an issue with power lift gates? So the manual lift gates not drain any battery?
 

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There are quite a few owners here who have upgraded their battery, perhaps one of them can say if it helps with leaving the tailgate open. I suspect it's only a battery issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you! It seems like the hacks to fix this are pretty easy, so long as they aren’t having non-lift gate battery issues.

I don’t often leave mine open over two hours, but I do maybe once a month or every other month. I think that might be feasible.
 

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Make sure you've test-driven both cars extensively. I am not a Subaru loyalist, but it will probably be a much more comfortable car to daily drive than the 4Runner. Especially if you're not into hardcore off-roading. But I get the impression the Ascent would be able to handle more than what 98% of its owners could ever throw at it anyway.
Reliability.. well, you get what you get. I've written extensively on that, you can check any of my posts regarding that. But in general Subaru and Toyota are more reliable than most.
I would imagine in/egress would be much easier with the Subaru, for both you and your four-legged friends, because of a lower lift over height.
the rear hatch has that strange issue with the ascent, given the outdoor lifestyle that Subaru tends to boast about... I am honestly surprised they haven't come up with a fix for this yet, as they seem pretty responsive in general to most other issues.

anyway, take a lot of time to mess with user interfaces, infotainment systems, and test drives, before you decide either way. Good luck.

It sounds like a Honda Element would have been perfect for you.
 

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Hi-I can weigh in here, because we have both an Ascent (2020 Limited) and a 2014 4Runner Limited. Any, my daughter has a 2016 4Runner Trail. First, you can't really go wrong with either. The Subaru has a really nice interior, and the dogs will probably scuff it up, if that's an issue.. The Subi is also very computer intensive, with all the safety stuff in it. And it's a CVT as opposed to the 4Runner's very dated, but extremely reliable, transmission. Mileage on our Subaru is around 22 mpg combined, while my 4R gets about 18. My 4Runner has a manual liftgate, so the battery issue isn't there, and it's got keyless entry and pushbutton start. The 4Runner is rock-solid reliable; that's why you'll see lots of UN vehicles around the world are 4Runners (Prado) and Land Cruisers. The 4Runner is truly the Leatherman of the SUV world; lots of parts and extremely easy to repair in the field. I absolutely would recommend either, but if I have to pick one for the zombie apocalypse, it's my 4Runner.
 

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Just to be clear the 4 Runner is a designated off-road built vehicle which it excels at... whereas the Ascent is a road vehicle that has amazing off-road capabilities. Two very different concepts and vehicles, that have a very different purposes. Technically they are not comparable. It's like comparing apples to oranges.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I hear you, but as a dog trainer and my needs for dog cargo and not other humans, as well as off road capabilities, the two are pretty comparable. I need something to be able to go through brush and up uneven hills in all weather (mud, snow, dry packed or sandy) and although it’s not over boulders, it’s not always on trail either (wilderness search and rescue). I don’t know if that constitutes as 4wheeling, because some people have trucks and some have Outbacks. I’d like to be able to have the capabilities and clearance to do this. If the Ascent can do it - that’s great! But I also need air for them in the back; be that leaving the lift gate open or rolling the rear windshield down (only available on the 4R). As a dog car, the 4R is incredible. But if the Ascent can keep up on the same terrain, then I’m going to lean towards that because the rest of the driving is on road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I should add - if the Ascent doesn’t come close to the 4R off road, then I might not want it. But I think outside of 4wheeling, it does?
 

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It would be great if someone would confirm if the manual lift gate can be left open. I think that is the easy question still left open.

As for the vehicle being capable off road, it is very capable. We did a lot with our old Outback, not so much with the Ascent (it's new). However the couple things I have done I have been impressed with. @Robert.Mauro has quite a few off-road videos I believe, he should be able to easily confirm its capabilities.

The 4Runner does have that roll down window, which I wish more SUVs had. That was very enjoyable when we rented one a few years ago. But for driving on the road I much preferred the Subaru.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It would be great if someone would confirm if the manual lift gate can be left open. I think that is the easy question still left open.

As for the vehicle being capable off road, it is very capable. We did a lot with our old Outback, not so much with the Ascent (it's new). However the couple things I have done I have been impressed with. @Robert.Mauro has quite a few off-road videos I believe, he should be able to easily confirm its capabilities.

The 4Runner does have that roll down window, which I wish more SUVs had. That was very enjoyable when we rented one a few years ago. But for driving on the road I much preferred the Subaru.
Ive asked about the manual lift gate in several places and haven’t gotten a confirmed answer. But it does seem like those folks haven’t had the problem.

I was actually watching Robert Mauro’s videos last night! I messaged him as well. It looks like the Ascent can do as much, and probably more, than I need it to. And after driving both (my sister has a 4Runner), I do prefer the Ascent on the road as well.

but yes, I’m obsessed with that rear windshield rolling down. I wish more vehicles had it too!
 

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but yes, I’m obsessed with that rear windshield rolling down. I wish more vehicles had it too!
Features like roll-down rear hatch windows and "flipper glass" rear hatch windows have all but disappeared from vehicles for safety standards reasons, weight savings and cost. They are very hard to come buy and a new vehicle that has it today, will most likely not have it in whatever serves as the next generation for that model.
 

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But, do manual lift gates have this issue? No one has answered this question...lol

And it's not clear having skimmed some other threads.
 

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My take ,there’s no electronics involved with the manual LG so no current draw which can lead to battery drainage.
Unless of course you leave the cargo light on with the manual LG opened for a long length of time there shouldn’t be a issue with the manuals.
 

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Thanks! Those were my reasons for choosing the Ascent, but leaving the light gate open is a requirement. If I can’t do that, I can’t get the Ascent.

Do you know if this is only an issue with power lift gates? So the manual lift gates not drain any battery?
Get a LED Camplight instead. The open liftgate and resulting computers firing up when the doors open draw 5 amps from a battery which is not being recharged and until that changes, you won't be happy with the gate as your light. You made it a requirement it's not like it is life or death choice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Get a LED Camplight instead. The open liftgate and resulting computers firing up when the doors open draw 5 amps from a battery which is not being recharged and until that changes, you won't be happy with the gate as your light. You made it a requirement it's not like it is life or death choice.
It is a requirement, and it is life or death, actually. It has zero to do with light. It has everything to do with dogs not overheating and suffocating in the car.
 

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Hey there!

I’m considering purchasing an Ascent. It’ll be my first Subaru. I’m coming from a 2004 Toyota Highlander with 243k miles on the original transmission. I have had almost zero problems with this car - the blend door actuator broke and I replaced the master switch for the windows. Other than that, everything else was routine.

It’s between the Subaru and the 4Runner. I like the safety and price of the Subaru on the surface, but I worry about reliability.

I’m a dog trainer, and a smallish 5’1” woman. I travel alone (with dogs) all over the country, and the idea of the battery dying on me (even with a portable charger) in the middle of the night is pretty worrisome.

Question 1: if I get a manual lift gate, can I leave it open without the battery dying?

Question 2: can I just get a better battery if that doesn’t

Question : is there anything else I should be concerned about? I’m used to no car payment and not fixing a darn thing outside of routine stuff, so I’d be very unhappy to have a car payment and a bunch of issues.

Thank you!!
 
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