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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2016 Outback which is mostly a great car...2 issues.
1. The Sound System is haunted. It wants to do what it wants not what I want. Honestly, this alone is a deal-killer on the Ascent if this system was not reworked. Question: Was it redesigned to eliminate this problem?

2. The damn rear hatchback also is UNRELIABLE. Actually, the more you need it the less chance you have it will open (like exiting Costco with 256 rolls of toilet paper.) No kidding, I will pay EXTRA for a manual system.
So, any chance that this system was also redesigned? (BTW, the service advisors just shake their heads with this one as they can't fix it.)

I'm hoping I can be a customer but, these items are just super important!

I appreciate any personal experience you may have had!
 

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I think you'll be happy with the Ascent. We have both a MY16 Outback Limited with Eyesight and my Ascent Touring. Both have been uber reliable, but there certainly are quirks with the soundsystem on the Outback.

Both the Ascent and the current Forester have specifics around being unlocked to be able to open the rear hatch with the button on the dash. The vehicle MUST be unlocked for the hatch to open. There's also a TSB that deals with a passenger prematurely opening their door and interfering with the unlock process. It's optional, but some folks find it helpful for their specific situation.
 

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We’ve had issues with the head unit and had it replaced once. Volume turning up with the use of the knob by 15-20 clicks . That problem was solved. Now it acts funny every once in awhile, like resets. However, my 2018 Xtrek does the same thing.

The only recurring issue is a popping sound when you hang up from a phone call.

No problems with the lift gate. Outside of a touchy FOB when in my pants that tends to open it when I’m tying my shoe. We are cautious about leaving it open for prolonged periods of time due to computer in the dash is on when the lift gate is open.
 

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I have no issues with the liftgate, but the infotainment system is terrible for many reasons. I have the Harman Kardon upgrade and the sound is awful to my ears. Additionally, the infotainment's user interface and operation leave a great deal to be desired. The audio turns itself on unpredictably when you want it off, and if you own a trailer you'll be constantly fighting the Rear Cross-Traffic Warning and Rear Automatic Emergency Braking systems.

Other than the unfortunate infotainment system, I love the Ascent and consider it one of the best vehicles I've ever owned. I highly recommend it.
 

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I thought I was the only one with '16 Outback liftgate issues. It has come very close to being a deal breaker to future Subaru purchases. I try to prime the liftgate by unlocking the car a few times, but doesn't seem to help that much.
 

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The sound quality from the HK system is terrible, I honestly don't know any nicer way to state it than that.. I have found the user interface pretty straightforward to use (the CX-9 was a little trickier, the Atlas was pretty straightforward), and I've never had to 'rtfm' to figure anything out except for setting the window delay.... but that's strictly a personal preference, and I would suggest you poke around the system to make sure you're comfortable with it. the only oddity I currently have with it, is sometimes after I hang up a phone call, it plays my music at double or triple speed, and sometimes Android auto won't send text messages. The system is certainly not as elegant looking as some other cars, and I wish some of the buttons weren't so plastic-y feeling.
Once you know to unlock the car to open the hatch it's pretty straightforward. Since I'm new to Subaru, to me there were a whole host of quirks, many of which I don't appreciate, but it is what it is. I've been in a stretch where, although I'm not driving the car all that much anymore ( my son's drivers test has been indefinitely postponed, so I'm driving my Lincoln mostly before I hand it off), and I haven't had any major issues with it for about 3 months, so I'm very happy.
 

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I think the HK stereo upgrade sound amazing. However, I’m not an audiophile and the Ascent isn’t my daily driver. I also went from driving two Jeep Wranglers, Xterra, and now a base model Crosstrek. All that didn’t have premium sounds systems of any kind.
 

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What I find interesting with the radio is when playing music from the radio on local channels the sound isn't very good but once I play music from my phone the sound quality is great! Maybe it's the quality of the recorded music from the phone that is better quality....who knows. This is my first Subaru and I'm lovin' it!
 

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Sound quality is subjective. I personally am happy with the HK system in my Ascent Touring.

I can attest that there are in-fact, some "interesting anomalies" with the MY16 Outback...we did experience them. The Ascent and our new Forester don't share the same problems with the Outback that our daughter now drives.
 
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I've had a 2019 Touring and now a 2020 Touring and have not had any trouble with the sound system or the liftgate. With that said, the HK sound system is somewhat underwhelming, the subwoofer is virtually non-existent although I see it under the seat...?
 

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I'm fine with my '19 Premium's infotainment system and audio quality. I haven't had any issues with it and it reliably connects and runs Auto Andriod with my phone. I've done two updates via wifi without issue. Audio is certainly adequate for my purposes, which isn't audiofile listening.

The lift gate has worked reliably, being so compliant and eager to please that it's even been found having opened on its own a few times.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I finally did get what "I think is solid information" from a senior service writer/manager. He says the entertainment systems made in 2019 did indeed contain bugs. That if an owner comes in and has his unit reflashed with updated software that some of the issues disappear. If the owner shows up again, they replace the unit with the newer 2.0 model now found on most 2020 manufactured units. Further, all 2021 badged Ascents will contain the repaired/upgraded unit.
So, I am waiting.
 

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I finally did get what "I think is solid information" from a senior service writer/manager. He says the entertainment systems made in 2019 did indeed contain bugs. That if an owner comes in and has his unit reflashed with updated software that some of the issues disappear. If the owner shows up again, they replace the unit with the newer 2.0 model now found on most 2020 manufactured units.
Do you know how to identify a "2.0" model? Is it in the firmware or software version number found either in the standard software update screen or the "secret" settings screen?
 

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I find that the HK is an entirely different world with media I've transcoded and put on a USB stick.

I have one little bass track that hurts. Literally feels like someone is rapid punching my chest and heart.

And that's even with how full I keep my Ascent.
 

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Do you know how to identify a "2.0" model? Is it in the firmware or software version number found either in the standard software update screen or the "secret" settings screen?
There is no 2.0 model. All of the HK head units are Gen 3.x models.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I should have specified that "2.0" was my name and not the Subaru vendor's moniker.
Whatever the name...the service rep was insistent that the 'replacement' model, cleared the problem. He was apologizing that Subaru mandated the flashing procedure before a replacement model was ordered and installed.
How does one know which is which? Well, one of them is haunted and the other one does what you want without all the really bizarre behavior. Trust me, you WILL know quickly.
 

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I find that the HK is an entirely different world with media I've transcoded and put on a USB stick.

I have one little bass track that hurts. Literally feels like someone is rapid punching my chest and heart.

And that's even with how full I keep my Ascent.
This also reflects my experience...quality of the source matters.
 
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I should have specified that "2.0" was my name and not the Subaru vendor's moniker.
Whatever the name...the service rep was insistent that the 'replacement' model, cleared the problem. He was apologizing that Subaru mandated the flashing procedure before a replacement model was ordered and installed.
How does one know which is which? Well, one of them is haunted and the other one does what you want without all the really bizarre behavior. Trust me, you WILL know quickly.
He said it "cleared the problem"?

The Ascent infotainment unit has multiple issues ranging from middling audio performance, issues with the voice recognition system, TomTom navigation issues, user interface issues, and trailering issues. None of these issues can necessarily be considered defects, rather they are performance shortcomings that may or may not be covered under a warranty. My dealer has offered no solution for any of these, so I've just been coping with them.

My unit contains the latest updates and these issues remain. The issues are primarily software related, I very much doubt if any hardware change can/will fix them. That I need to see to be believed. I think the service manager may just be telling you what you want to hear to avoid a lost sale. If this is important to you, verify that the infotainment system works to your satisfaction before you buy.

Some people may not be annoyed or concerned by these shortcomings, but I find them unacceptable and they degrade my enjoyment of the vehicle, which is a shame because otherwise, I find the Ascent superb.
 
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