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I have lurked on this forum for a longtime without posting. I have a 21 ascent with 18,000 miles 5,000 of which are towing. I live in the San Bernardino mountains in Southern California and constantly drive the car over 8k feet in intense summer heat and ice cold snowy roads. This is my 6th Subaru and I currently own a 17 Forester and an 03 WRX both are manual.

The Ascent IS NOT a slow car. My transmission does not false shift under normal driving conditions including towing small trailers. In fact my vehicle to use the CVT in such a way that I can accelerate with no Rpm change at many speeds. My car gets relatively poor MPG but so does my manual forester.

90% of drivability complaints on this forum come from 2 things. First, an inability for people to learn how to use the throttle on the Ascent. Second, the common tendency for people to be re-active rather than active drivers.

Some common issues like the higher revs without acceleration while on an incline mimics a proactive way to drive a MT on certain types of inclines. It prevents the need to excessively downshift while simultaneously allowing for quick engine braking. This means you can adjust your speed with precision and little mechanical influence by properly managing your throttle.

If more people could get control of their throttle input most driving problems would disappear on this car. But because people can’t, Subaru probably needs to make adjustments to the throttle in future models. The same goes for steering. It’s light but nowhere near scary or bad. I blast up mountain roads with nothing but control on the Ascent all the time.
 

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When I need it to, my Ascent takes off like a friggin' rocket
+1 Same here. We're driving a 2020 Ascent and it will pin you back when needed, right off the mark.

it may or may not apply but 2019 was the 1st year of Ascent, right?
There's a thought that it is better getting a new model, the 2nd year after introduced.
Possibly correcting / fixes or tweaking things after the initial release.
 

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2021 Subaru Ascent Touring CWP
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You need to take it to your dealer service department and have them both pull the codes and test it. If your transmission is actually slipping, they will replace it.
I have told my dealership but they are not a great service department in my experience. Some of the techs and writers are good but the management just doesn’t push the service department to be all star team. I have better luck going to my Audi and even my Chevrolet dealership for a service experience.
 

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a tepid Service Dept experience will sour anybody, no matter what brand of car. I was semi-fortunate with my years of VW ownership to have a tight service dept. connection. But Subaru has been hit and miss. The 'better' dealership/service dept's are both an hour away, in opposite directions. BUT! it's worth the drive. I just had a very good experience at Liberty Subaru service dept, Emerson, NJ. Will continue with them in the foreseeable future.
 

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I have 20,000 on my '21 Ascent. I'm going to lay out some points I have noticed. Some will agree, some will bash, but it's my focus group of one. Both good and bad.

I am in Metro Atlanta where the average road speed is 78-80. You will literally get run over at 70 on all sides. The car holds that speed well from a power standpoint, but out of the hole, it doesnt' have enough guts to merge in most cases when getting on the freeway and the fake shifts? Awful.
I found my Ascent to have plenty of power whenever I needed it. Are you saying at full throttle it doesn't have enough power to safely merge onto the freeway? If so, get it checked, as there is clearly something wrong with your car. If I used full throttle I would easily be doing triple digits by the time I got to the end of the ramp.

I have to agree on the fake shifts as I find them extremely annoying. I have to wonder who thought that was a good idea. I traded off my Ascent and the Outback is on the way out as well and a lot of it has to do with the fake shifting.
 

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I have 20,000 on my '21 Ascent. I'm going to lay out some points I have noticed. Some will agree, some will bash, but it's my focus group of one. Both good and bad.

I am in Metro Atlanta where the average road speed is 78-80. You will literally get run over at 70 on all sides. The car holds that speed well from a power standpoint, but out of the hole, it doesnt' have enough guts to merge in most cases when getting on the freeway and the fake shifts? Awful.

As I've said before, the mileage gets better the faster I drive. If I drive at 80, I'm consistently getting 24-25. If I drive at 70, I get 23.

I never use cruise because the algorithim keeps it out of overdrive and that raises RPM almost 500rpm which drops mileage by 2mpg--that just P*sses me off because as soon as I disengage and use my foot, it drops the gear down and holds speed just fine, so it's just not necessary.

The steering in this car is terrible. With the tires set at 33 and lane keeping off, I find the steering so sensitive at roadspeed that I am continually running over reflectors on the strips and have trouble staying in my lane. It's the worst car I've ever experienced at this in over 35 years of driving. My wife has the same issue so it's not me. Any little bump or pothole upsets the car on the highway.

The interior has held up well, but the seats are still rock hard and passengers have commented on it. I literally go numb after 60 miles in my left leg. \

The carpet is pretty thin----I am showing signs of the carpet wearing through in some spots on the drivers side, even with the rubber mat options.

I still fumble with the ergonomics after 18 months. The controls to me are just not intuitive (Cruise, environment, the switches for the info screen). I've never had a car that did not become intuitive. As a reference, I rented a Tahoe on business this week and have never driven one or really any Chevy products---I had the controls memoried by day 3.

It's pretty quiet at roadspeed and around town, it's well behaved except on steep hill starts, then the transmission hunts like crazy.

Interior space is good.

Entry and exit is easy, so that's something.

I wish I could give a better report out, but all of those things individually could be dealt with, collectively they add up. What else can I say.

It has multiple personality disorder...some days I really like it other days, it's just a different vehicle.
I've got a 2020 Ascent Touring with 17,000 miles and have none of the issues you described. The seats are comfortable and as for the rugs , I've installed rubber mats on day 1. The mileage could be better, but we don't need to drive 80 MPH to get to point be. The 7 seat interior keeps the grandchildren in the back and the 2 yr old behind the driver seat and "Grandma" next to him. I also like the passenger sunshades. Maybe it's time you buy the Lincoln Navigator, built for heavy weights
 

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You need to take it to your dealer service department and have them both pull the codes and test it. If your transmission is actually slipping, they will replace it.
I've been trying to get my dealer to replace the transmission since the week I bought it. I keep hearing " We would love to bill Subaru NA for the labor, but unless something is physically and seriously broken, they won't honor the warranty."
 
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I actually was driving a straight stretch of highway once. I held the wheel so still that the warning "to keep your hands on the steering wheel" popped up.
☝ This is what happens to me. I basically "rest" my arms on the steering wheel and the car goes straight as a bullet. It complains all the time that I'm not making any input but why would I need to?
I wonder if it could be a problem with alignment of the vehicle?
 

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Consumer Reports currently ranks the Ascent as the least reliable Subaru vehicle being produced. I have always had a high impression of the Ascent, and have wanted one for some time. Not sure why it gets no love from CR.

Rectangle Font Parallel Slope Screenshot
 

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2019 Ascent Touring (CWP)
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I have told my dealership but they are not a great service department in my experience. Some of the techs and writers are good but the management just doesn’t push the service department to be all star team. I have better luck going to my Audi and even my Chevrolet dealership for a service experience.
Did they pull codes and do other testing or just provide lip service? Actual slipping will show up in diagnostics.
 

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Consumer Reports currently ranks the Ascent as the least reliable Subaru vehicle being produced. I have always had a high impression of the Ascent, and have wanted one for some time. Not sure why it gets no love from CR.
The answer is at least partially because they haven't adjusted their overall ratings for more recent model years from the initial issues in the first model year. Ascent certainly isn't problem free, but MY21 and MY22 have been "in the real world" less problematic than MY19 and at least some of MY20. This CR thing has had much discussion here in the past couple of years.
 

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I have 20,000 on my '21 Ascent. I'm going to lay out some points I have noticed. Some will agree, some will bash, but it's my focus group of one. Both good and bad.

I am in Metro Atlanta where the average road speed is 78-80. You will literally get run over at 70 on all sides. The car holds that speed well from a power standpoint, but out of the hole, it doesnt' have enough guts to merge in most cases when getting on the freeway and the fake shifts? Awful.

As I've said before, the mileage gets better the faster I drive. If I drive at 80, I'm consistently getting 24-25. If I drive at 70, I get 23.

I never use cruise because the algorithim keeps it out of overdrive and that raises RPM almost 500rpm which drops mileage by 2mpg--that just P*sses me off because as soon as I disengage and use my foot, it drops the gear down and holds speed just fine, so it's just not necessary.

The steering in this car is terrible. With the tires set at 33 and lane keeping off, I find the steering so sensitive at roadspeed that I am continually running over reflectors on the strips and have trouble staying in my lane. It's the worst car I've ever experienced at this in over 35 years of driving. My wife has the same issue so it's not me. Any little bump or pothole upsets the car on the highway.

The interior has held up well, but the seats are still rock hard and passengers have commented on it. I literally go numb after 60 miles in my left leg. \

The carpet is pretty thin----I am showing signs of the carpet wearing through in some spots on the drivers side, even with the rubber mat options.

I still fumble with the ergonomics after 18 months. The controls to me are just not intuitive (Cruise, environment, the switches for the info screen). I've never had a car that did not become intuitive. As a reference, I rented a Tahoe on business this week and have never driven one or really any Chevy products---I had the controls memoried by day 3.

It's pretty quiet at roadspeed and around town, it's well behaved except on steep hill starts, then the transmission hunts like crazy.

Interior space is good.

Entry and exit is easy, so that's something.

I wish I could give a better report out, but all of those things individually could be dealt with, collectively they add up. What else can I say.

It has multiple personality disorder...some days I really like it other days, it's just a different vehicle.
With all due respect regarding you getting better mileage by driving at 80 versus 70, I don't believe it. Optimum mileage of 28 mph can be achieved at around 55. Please slow down, my friend, or you may be killed. Speed kills.
 

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2021 Subaru Ascent Touring
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☝ This is what happens to me. I basically "rest" my arms on the steering wheel and the car goes straight as a bullet. It complains all the time that I'm not making any input but why would I need to?
I wonder if it could be a problem with alignment of the vehicle?
I think it depends on the road/environment, I’ve had the same thing as you described happen to me as well, but in many cases it just drives like a drunk.
 

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… I currently own a 17 Forester and an 03 WRX both are manual…
… the common tendency for people to be re-active rather than active drivers.
I tell people this all the time! Most would consider me an aggressive driver but I call it active driving. Most of the same people would likely be surprised what their ETA and mpg’s do when anticipating changing lanes to maintain speed takes precedence over pulling up behind someone then figuring out the maneuver.
I’m convinced the mentality comes from driving a manual and not wanting to downshift more than necessary

Optimum mileage of 28 mph can be achieved at around 55. Please slow down, my friend, or you may be killed. Speed kills.
You’re not necessarily wrong and I’m not advocating excessive speeding, BUT what is dangerous is the speed delta. It is very dangerous when one person is doing 55 with everyone else doing 80.
 

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2022 Abyss Blue Pearl Onyx
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I tell people this all the time! Most would consider me an aggressive driver but I call it active driving. Most of the same people would likely be surprised what their ETA and mpg’s do when anticipating changing lanes to maintain speed takes precedence over pulling up behind someone then figuring out the maneuver.
I’m convinced the mentality comes from driving a manual and not wanting to downshift more than necessary
Agreed on this. Years of driving manuals conditioned me to read & use grades to slow or speed me. Timing lights so that I coast towards reds and don't need to use the brakes much if at all before they turn. Basically it's driving one or two moves ahead. I'm not as consistent as I used to be, but I blame too many years of automatics. My next car was going to be a manual WRX, but needs demanded we get the Ascent this time. Still happy with the car... first one I've been that way with for a bit.

It's a fun mini-game to try and keep my instant MPG reading 99.9 as long as I can.
 

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I have a 21 Ascent with 25,000 miles. So far in the year and 4 months that I have owned it, it has spent 31 days in the shop. It spent 25 days in the shop for a factory oil leak. The car spent another week in the shop for a turbo solenoid that was bad. It has a problem with the driver's seat where it pops and creaks. SA will not replace the seat. It has awful turbo lag off of the starting line and the transmission is always hunting gears down low. I have driven many turbo'ed cars and the lag on this is worse than my 7.3 diesel and that thing takes forever to spool. My wife hates the steering in it to the point that she refuses to drive it.

Overall the fit and finish of this car is poor. It has rattles and creaks in the driver's door. I am coming from an Outback and based on the quality issues, I would have a hard time recommending this current version of the Ascent. The positives are that it gets really good mileage for the size. It has a huge interior. The interior is relatively quiet when you can get past the rattles in the door, seat, and dash. We are in the market for another vehicle for my wife, and as a long-time Subaru fan, our next vehicle will not be an Ascent.
 

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I have 20,000 on my '21 Ascent. I'm going to lay out some points I have noticed. Some will agree, some will bash, but it's my focus group of one. Both good and bad.

I am in Metro Atlanta where the average road speed is 78-80. You will literally get run over at 70 on all sides. The car holds that speed well from a power standpoint, but out of the hole, it doesnt' have enough guts to merge in most cases when getting on the freeway and the fake shifts? Awful.

As I've said before, the mileage gets better the faster I drive. If I drive at 80, I'm consistently getting 24-25. If I drive at 70, I get 23.

I never use cruise because the algorithim keeps it out of overdrive and that raises RPM almost 500rpm which drops mileage by 2mpg--that just P*sses me off because as soon as I disengage and use my foot, it drops the gear down and holds speed just fine, so it's just not necessary.

The steering in this car is terrible. With the tires set at 33 and lane keeping off, I find the steering so sensitive at roadspeed that I am continually running over reflectors on the strips and have trouble staying in my lane. It's the worst car I've ever experienced at this in over 35 years of driving. My wife has the same issue so it's not me. Any little bump or pothole upsets the car on the highway.

The interior has held up well, but the seats are still rock hard and passengers have commented on it. I literally go numb after 60 miles in my left leg. \

The carpet is pretty thin----I am showing signs of the carpet wearing through in some spots on the drivers side, even with the rubber mat options.

I still fumble with the ergonomics after 18 months. The controls to me are just not intuitive (Cruise, environment, the switches for the info screen). I've never had a car that did not become intuitive. As a reference, I rented a Tahoe on business this week and have never driven one or really any Chevy products---I had the controls memoried by day 3.

It's pretty quiet at roadspeed and around town, it's well behaved except on steep hill starts, then the transmission hunts like crazy.

Interior space is good.

Entry and exit is easy, so that's something.

I wish I could give a better report out, but all of those things individually could be dealt with, collectively they add up. What else can I say.

It has multiple personality disorder...some days I really like it other days, it's just a different vehicle.
We also have a 2021 Ascent (Limited). I have to say that we agree that the car feels like it swerves on the freeway. We took it back to the dealer twice and they said it was driving normally. Something to do with the type of steering it has…We have gotten used to it but don’t love it. Steering on curves is excellent and it handles really well. It has plenty of pickup getting on the freeway. We live in Southern California and busy freeway driving is the norm. We do also agree that the seats are rock hard! Besides those two things we have grown to love the car. It’s such a perfect size for us and our dogs and the mileage is good for it’s size.
 

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I'd have to agree with most of the comments here. The car was always a little bit challenging on the highway with its darty-ness, which is too bad because it was a very quiet comfortable cruiser. A little loud as soon as you hit the gas, but nothing terrible...

I only ever had the hands on the wheel warning come on twice in 28000 miles. Even with multiple alignments, and Winter or summer wheels, it never tracked well. I think variable assist/ratio steering would have helped. But the lower level trims that I received as loaners never had the darty-ness problem.

Never had any issues with the turning radius, thought it was pretty good for a vehicle this size.

My mileage was always very inconsistent. I could take the same trip 3 times in similar conditions and my mileage would vary from 23 to 33mpg.
 
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