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This also reflects my experience...quality of the source matters.
The quality of the source does matter, however, the upgraded audio system I installed in my Forester performed far better with all sources whereas the Ascent's system does not. And it's difficult to provide excellent source material for everything you want to listen to.

I have been able to improve the sound of the Ascent's HK audio system with excellent source material, but it still falls far short of my expectation for a high-performance system. Better source material considerably improves the bass performance, but without a suitable equalizer, the sound to my hears remains much too harsh, especially in the mid-range. Even with the best source material, I find it painful to listen to for any length of time.

However, audio performance is highly subjective, some may find the performance acceptable whereas others may not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
"Some people may not be annoyed or concerned by these shortcomings, but I find them unacceptable and they degrade my enjoyment of the vehicle"

You are so very correct, there are multiple issues. Some are more annoying than others.
We find these issues SO unacceptable as to preclude any additional Subaru purchase (We are on #2 and #3 now.)
We may wait until the 2021 model to check again. Otherwise, we're moving over to the new Toyota Highlander.
 

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I'm waiting for the 2021 Ascent... with Lane Centering Assist. Hopefully they will have worked out more of the bugs by then and installed a better battery! and hopefully fixed the tailgate dilemma. The 2021 is supposed to arrive sometime this summer if the coronavirus doesn't compromise it, which I suspect already has.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Pro10is, let me ask you if you also got the head unit replaced? The service writer clearly said that step was required. Why not, it should be free to you?

"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."
 

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Pro10is, let me ask you if you also got the head unit replaced? The service writer clearly said that step was required. Why not, it should be free to you?

"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 was offered no warranty option to replace the head unit on my Ascent. The dealer says that the issues I described were not defects but simply shortcomings with the software and many people complain about them. He said there was nothing he could do until Subaru addressed these issues via future software changes.

Again, these issues can be fixed via software ECs. The head unit is primarily a computer that runs the software. Unless an issue is specifically hardware-caused, changing the head unit will not fix the problem until the software is upgraded.
 

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I am with you on the Liftgate! I just posted a thread in the Problems section of the Forum. Ours has been in the shop many times, and it still does crazy stuff constantly. Locks, won't open, opens 1" then stops, opens 1/2 way, then goes back down. Pain in the neck! I would rather have a manual hatch at this point. From time to time ours sounds the alarm and will not open in any way! Only resolution is a trip to the dealer with the alarm sounding!
 

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^^^ From what I gather, I'd hazard to say that lift gate issues you're experiencing are unusual. The lift gate issues I do hear about are the well document excessive battery drain when left open and phantom opening, which so far has presumptively been attributed to accidentally pressing the fob button. Of course that's of little consolation, but it suggests that yours may eventually get resolved.
 

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I had an issue with the sound system as well. I first found out that you need to set your audio settings in a very bland kind of way so then the music you have on your phone uses your phone audio settings and it sounds great. However, when you go to use either XM or the radio it sounds awful because its using the bland settings so to speak. You cant really win. I also had the sound completely cutting out all together for the entire infotainment system every month or so and nothing would sound at all. I took my limited in for the recall and told him about the sound system sound and he said all Subaru’s have radio trouble after 2015. He said it was a software issue and would be fixed after they update and recall were done. My fingers are still crossed and so far so good. I have had the lift gate not open twice but cant remember if this was before or after the update and recall. It’s just as well my dog wasn’t in the back or else I would have had a complete meltdown! The remote didnt work, the button under the lift gate handle didnt work, the button up front under the dash didnt work...nothing! I had to start the car and drive then it worked when I got home. It hasn’t happened in a while so it might have been before I brought the car in.
 

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I had an issue with the sound system as well. I first found out that you need to set your audio settings in a very bland kind of way so then the music you have on your phone uses your phone audio settings and it sounds great. However, when you go to use either XM or the radio it sounds awful because its using the bland settings so to speak. You cant really win...
Yes, you can set the Ascent's tone controls to flat and then use the audio equalizer built into your phone to set up equalization settings that improve the sound, but only of course when using the phone as the source.

This just goes to show that the Ascent's audio could be significantly improved if they would simply add a software-based equalizer. This is not difficult, even the cheapest audio players include an equalizer these days.

For some reason, it seems, Subaru, or whoever designed the audio portion of the head unit, specifically chose not to incorporate an equalizer, probably to simplify the settings. In doing so, they effectively ruined the sound reproduction because the Ascent's sound system desperately needs equalization.
 

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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.
If the battery dies in a Touring Model Ascent, it will deactivate the rear lift gate. That happened to me this past Summer on a very hot day that drained the battery of my Ascent. The owner’s manual has instructions on how to fix it, but they didn’t work. I scheduled an appointment with the dealership where I bought it and they fixed it to the tune of $350.
 

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That's true, but not what I was talking about. My reply you are quoting discusses the requirement for the doors to be unlocked from/by the switch on the driver's side door in order to be able to use the dash button to open the hatch. The TSB I refer to addresses a minor complication of that wherein if the passenger door is opened first with "all door unlock" enabled, the hatch will still not open from the dash button unless the driver side unlock is first executed.
 
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