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Hi all,

I've been a long time Subaru owner (~15 years), currently own an 09 Outback, and am thinking of sizing up to an Ascent. My concern is of course the transmission problems that have been well documented here and mentioned elsewhere. From what I can tell, these may center around Ascents that were built during a certain time period. Is that true? Are the transmission problems sorted out yet or still a risk? And are there any other general problems to be aware of?

Thanks
 

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I just signed up to research the Ascent and wondering the same thing. Have a 2014 Forester XT. I'm wondering how to make a decision on an Ascent purchase when so many people are reporting transmission problems. I tried reading the big transmission major problem thread... but dang it's now 55 pages long.
 

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yup. it is a large number. what, like 5? 10? out of 70K+ made.... 0.0143% is HUGE!!!!
Yeah, but that could just be the tip of the iceberg. Not everyone who has a problem comes to this forum.

I wanted to buy an Ascent from when I saw their first concept. But after seeing this transmission problem, with no real answers from Subaru, and many other 1st year issues, I decided against it, and bought another brand just 3 months ago. And I am a 4 time Subaru owner, with very good past experiences with the brand. But I am going to skip this one.

And God help Subaru, if Robert Mauro ends up having this transmission problem...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
yup. it is a large number. what, like 5? 10? out of 70K+ made.... 0.0143% is HUGE!!!!
There are many more than that just searching around on forums. It's safe to say the number of replacements from people who aren't on forums is much larger.
 

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Do you happen to know some standard QA/QC threshold, in %, to trigger as a concern? are we talking about 1 of 10 (10%); 1 of 100 (1%); 1 of 1000 (0.1%); or 1 of 10,000 (0.01%)?
 

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It appears that most of the transmission issues were from cars that were built around August-September 2019 (edit: I meant 2018). But that's only what I've gathered from reading here, which has been less a few (I'd estimate less than 15) non-scientific data points.

That's also assuming that there aren't trolls posting as well -- there have been a few people who just signed up, posted one message, and then didn't respond when asked follow-up questions. It makes it difficult to know if the post is legitimate.

I would think that if there were a major transmission design flaw in the Ascent, we would see many more people complaining on here. From what we've seen so far, it appears to be a bad part (perhaps the wiring harness, which has been mentioned quite often as part of the fix).
 

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I assume you meant 2018. My Limited was delivered in early March, has almost 9000 miles and has no transmission problems. In fact to date I experienced virtually no hesitation in acceleration. Great moderate luxury and wonderful gas mileage for its size. I am averaging 25 mpg and have gotten over 30 mpg on a longer trip. The only issue I ever had was the air conditioner which is now being repaired for a leak under warranty of course. My loaner is an Outback (I do not think it is a 2019). I notice a big difference in hesitation and acceleration. I had never driven an Outback before and was curious what the differences were like, besides price.
 

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It really is a crapshoot. Statistically it's unlikely you're going to get a bad car. I have more than made up for a lot of people who have had zero problems, with many issues with my car. I do get low speed transmission shudder, and my air conditioning takes 10 minutes to blow cool air out when I turn it on, nevermind a whole host of other things. Unfortunately the dealership couldn't diagnose either issue. And I would be thrilled if my highway mileage ever got to 25 MPG. I don't know what people do to get 25 all around, unless all their driving is highway, or 45 mile-an-hour two-lane roads.
But you could end up with any number of problems with any car you buy. I've mentioned before, two of my most reliable cars were a Saab 9-5 aero wagon and my gls450 that I just traded, and my least reliable car was one of my Toyota Avalon's. So you never really know what you're going to get.

So if you like it just buy it. it doesn't matter how many 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th or 8th opinions you get. None of those opinions will affect how the car will be screwed together in the end. No matter what you buy, you won't know until after you have it for a while.
 

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The Subaru Ascent Forum is just that, a forum. Do your research and you'll find various opinions, good and bad, on all makes and models on "their" forums. A suggestion, take your research further and visit Subaru service centers at different dealerships, talk to the customers waiting and above all else listen and you'll have your answer. You'll also find out if the Subaru dealership you select to buy from has a average or above average service center.
 

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The transmission isn't the only issue. There is also an issue of fuel vapors in the cabin of some vehicles. These are being bought back/exchanged by Subaru. And then there are some people with white smoke coming from the tailpipe. All three issues are still unexplained. And lastly, what may seem minor to some, the issue of an open hatch draining the battery until it is dead. This must be addressed before I'll purchase. This is why I am in a holding pattern with regard to my purchase. Subaru is pretty good at eventually figuring out their issues and dealing with them, but it usually takes until the third or fourth model year. For whatever reason, the pre-production evaluation and testing at Subaru is not as good, unfortunately. And there seems to be a difference in quality control between plants in Japan & the U.S. My sister and her husband bought a Crosstrek Limited 2 months ago (post steering column issue), the Crosstrek is made at the Japan plant. They are very happy with it. And my 2018 Outback is solid (but the 2015 & 2016 models were problematic).
 

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I was likely going to get the Ascent the biggest and probably only reason I didn’t buy it and am shopping all other possibilities is the CVT and the drop in quality in recent years.
My 2001 Legacy was great had one issue Subaru addressed it early on and we literally beat the hell out of that car for 200,000 miles. Zero problems!

My 2010 Outback cvt has been OK but pretty disappointing just isn’t the same quality. All our dealers have become super stores and charge insane service fees now.
5 yrs ago my Cvt drain fill was $180 at the dealer pretty fair 30 minute job. Differentials were $70 each.

Today I can’t even get the dealer to quote me a price. For these. They tell me I need some BS service package $1000!!!

I had my Mercedes transmission and Diff done which is far more than a drain plug drain and fill. The transmission pan gets pulled, a screw kit, gasket have to be ordered $300 item!! I paid $750 for that car. But my stupid drain plug equipped Subaru now is $1000?

I won’t support that BS so just can’t buy another Subaru.

I just looked at the 2020 Explorer/Aviator. Sadly those are probably out. No joke the 2020 Outback has a bigger rear hatch opening than the 2020 Explorer. The Explorer is basically a big Sport wagon not a SUV. So if you want a big sport wagoncheck out the all new Explorer. If ypu need a SUV you can load big items into? Seems the Midsized SUV market is severely lacking. The FWD biased AWD junk by Honda and Toyota is out for me.

Going to go look at a friends brand new Telluride. Though I just have a thing about giving a Korean my money. Id rather not. Lol
 

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I always get kick out of everybody who bashes the all-wheel-drive systems by other manufacturers. If bad weather safety is that important, you should be putting winter tires on your cars. Period.

I equip both my winter cars with the same brand winter tire so there's no tire variation. With winter tires, I can assure you that the AWD system on my Lincoln, which is front-wheel-drive biased, performs identically as my Ascent on snowy and icy roads (before I get assaulted about all these odd one-off conditions people may go into, I'm talking strictly about on road safety, not ice racing around a frozen lake, or driving through 19" of mud on a rutted trail). The only difference that comes into play is that the Subaru has more ground clearance, so if the snow is higher, we will take that car. is the system better in more extreme conditions??- very possibly, but I'm not stupid enough to push a car that I have my family or myself in that far on a public road.

The single most important thing you can do to enhance the safety and handling of your car is to have the proper tires for the proper conditions. That is a much bigger factor than the type of all wheel drive system.

And regarding the transmission, please note my response a few days ago. You can end up with a terrible Toyota, or a great Saab. You never know what you're going to get until you buy it..
 

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If bad weather safety is that important, you should be putting winter tires on your cars. Period.
Some people only occasionally visit the mountains where they may only have snowy weather a small portion of the time. Or in Chicago, you have strange weather where it snows in April or May and you’ve already switched out the winter tires.

In other words, there are good reasons for needing a good AWD system regardless of the situation. Not to mention that a good AWD system with snow tires is better than a poor AWD system with snow tires.
 

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You can end up with a terrible Toyota, or a great Saab. You never know what you're going to get until you buy it..
Man, I really loved/hated my Saab ?
 

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I was definitely missing my Subaru the first winter I had to drive my Honda Pilot (AWD) in the snow. There is absolutely a bias for Subaru and even the Quattro systems - but they’ve earned that bias.

I am not a fan of the Honda “AWD” system and haven’t used Toyota in the winter so I can’t elaborate on my experiences there.

I do believe that any bugs from the initial delivery of a new vehicle are resolved by this point. I would have no reservations buying a 2020.

But, I really want Auto Lane Centering. So I will have to wait for the midcycle refresh or go for an Outback.
 

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Some people only occasionally visit the mountains where they may only have snowy weather a small portion of the time. Or in Chicago, you have strange weather where it snows in April or May and you’ve already switched out the winter tires.

In other words, there are good reasons for needing a good AWD system regardless of the situation. Not to mention that a good AWD system with snow tires is better than a poor AWD system with snow tires.
This is true, but good snow tires reduce the AWD difference to the point it's largely irrelevant for on road driving (I certainly won't dispute that the Subaru has a better all wheel drive system than my Lincoln, but with the same model snow tires on both cars I can't tell the difference in any road conditions I drive in).

And the one thing everyone forgets, is that you still need to stop in these conditions as well, and the tires are a far greater factor than the drive method when you hit the brakes.
That's all I can think (besides I hope everyone is okay), every time I see an suv or pickup truck off the road in the snow.
 
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