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As you all know, I tend to be the oddball with how my cars are in terms of reliability. My Subaru has had more issues, and spent more time in the shop in 18 months, than my Jag ( 10 months in so far, no issues, Joseph Lucas must be smiling down upon me) and merc gls450 (5 years) combined over 6 years. But, I'm also the person whose Avalon had the acceleration issue, and not inclusive of that issue, that car probably spent a month in the shop over the four and a half years I had it as well. So I'm the outlier on the plot!!

But I agree, in general the maintenance will be much more expensive with those two brands, although it was covered for me for 2 years on the merc and 5 years on the Jag. So it wasn't that bad, and fortunately I had nothing go wrong with the merc out of warranty (Although the air suspension- $3600 front and rear combined- was getting a little flaky when I traded it in on the ascent) for the year I had it after the warranty expired.
I can tell you I probably will not keep the jag after the 5/60 warranty/maintenance coverage is done, as Robson13 points out the potential cost issues on what Will be a heavily depreciated car at that point, whereas I will consider keeping the Ascent after the warranty expires.

But I feel that considering everything you get in the Ascent for the 30 to 43k range, it's a phenomenal deal. Even the base Ascent I'm currently driving as a loaner is a nice comfortable car, more so than I expected.

Whether I love my Ascent or not, one thing is very clear. Subaru absolutely nailed the Ascent, to appeal to both current Subie owners, and conquest buyers. I think I realize that even more after seeing how nice the base level car is.
 

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And this why I will never ever buy any luxury vehicle.
To each their own, if it suits them, and they enjoy it for their reasons that is awesome. I cannot fathom spending the money on luxury vehicles which are depreciating assets. However, the cheap build and feel to many economy brands is not for me either. I think Subaru, particularly, the Ascent, appealed to both sides of that equation.
 

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when you look at the Venn diagram for value, performance, price, predicted reliability, the Ascent, CX9, and a number of others are right in that center spot
This was my impression too. CX9 and Ascent are very different vehicles, IMO, but they were the ones we considered most seriously precisely because of this (and it sounds like others did too).

Wanted the 3rd row to be ok for adults on ~4hr drives
Also, I totally buried the lede here: the Ascent 3rd row was by far the best for ~6ft adults of the ones I tried for an extended period (CX9, Pilot).

The Pilot 3rd row is decently sized, but something about the height/angle of the seat compared to the floor meant that I (182cm) was sitting entirely on my ass. It was fine for the ~30mins I spent in it during our test drive, but I wouldn't want to be in there for longer trips.

In the Ascent, OTOH, some of my weight gets shifted onto my thighs making it far more comfortable. I mean, it's still a 3rd row seat. But for vehicles this size I think it's pretty good. Better for kids, but still pretty decent for adults. This isn't something I've seen mentioned much in reviews. In fact, I think it cuts against what some of the reviews said (i.e. they said the Pilot is better); that may be true for shorter adults, but at ~6ft the Ascent wins IMO.
 

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2020 CWP Touring
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The Pilot 3rd row is decently sized, but something about the height/angle of the seat compared to the floor meant that I (182cm) was sitting entirely on my ass. It was fine for the ~30mins I spent in it during our test drive, but I wouldn't want to be in there for longer trips.
This really floored me (pun not intended!) when we sat in a Pilot at the auto show. The 3rd row seems like it's on the floor, doesn't it? It's not this way in my parents' similar 2014 MDX, so I was quite surprised with it...but this is the reason the Pilot was unworkable for us. If we liked the Pilot, we'd have probably bought an EX-L with the 6-speed auto (vs. the ZF 9-sp), but the 3rd row was not usable for us.
 

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This really floored me (pun not intended!) when we sat in a Pilot at the auto show. The 3rd row seems like it's on the floor, doesn't it? It's not this way in my parents' similar 2014 MDX, so I was quite surprised with it...but this is the reason the Pilot was unworkable for us. If we liked the Pilot, we'd have probably bought an EX-L with the 6-speed auto (vs. the ZF 9-sp), but the 3rd row was not usable for us.
The Subaru salesman was right calling itstadium seating. The second and third row floors increase in elevation. Only the dogs use our second and third row. They haven't complained.
 

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Asking existing owners - why did you buy the Ascent? What else did you shop, and what led you to pick this vehicle?

My Audi Q5 lease expires in Oct, and for a new vehicle we want 3 rows, tow a travel trailer periodically, Apple Car Play, 360 camera and memory seats. After that, we're just looking for nice drive and good value in the $40 to $45k range.

I've driven the Palisade, Atlas, RAV4, Durango, Outback XT and the Ascent - and I'm pretty much settled on the Ascent.

The RAV4 is weedy, slow and pretty crappy. I really liked the Outback XT, but it's not big enough. I enjoyed the Palisade, but owner forums have little to nothing on towing. The sister car from Kia, the Telluride is hard to get and I couldn't sit in one - seems more people tow with that, but not many still.

The Atlas is nice, but I don't know I want to drive an EU car long term ... Thats one reason the Audi is going back!

So today, it was a drive between the Durango and the Ascent. The Ascent won, even though the Durango felt sportier and can tow better.

As I watch car reviewers compare vehicles in the segment, the Ascent doesn't always fair well - they claim cabin noise, intrusive safety features and lack of space, none of which I experienced in my test drive, even though I was looking. I do agree with them that I don't like the CVT.

So - why did you end up in an Ascent, and what else did you compare?

We own both a 2018 Audi Q5 and a 2019 Ascent (Limited).

Reasons for the Ascent:
We have five kids 8-18 years old, and my wife wanted something safe, reasonably fast and roomy enough that we could seat an eight person (mother-in-law or one of kid's friends). Not many vehicles that seat eight, and she did not want a 12 mpg Tahoe/Suburban/Expedition/Armada. We also wanted something reliable, and Subaru has been near the top of the charts on CR for several years. Many of our friends have Subies, it is a very common snow car here in Erie, PA, and many have lasted beyond 250k miles, even with the wear and tear.

Now, you are coming from a Q5, which is my car (I have a mild ECU tune for 310 hp). As much as I love the Ascent as a family car, and enjoy driving it, it is no where near as fun to drive as the Q5. In the winter, the Ascent has never slipped or failed to grip (we run snows), but it never 'feels' as planted or unstoppable as the Q5. The DSG transmission (I grew up driving manuals) is a dream, compared to the Ascent CVT (I hate CVTs). My wife is a cardiac nurse, and in the winter, that is the go to car to get to work no matter what. Even she "enjoys" driving it more than the Ascent.

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have bought anything else for the family other than the Ascent in that 40-42k price range. Our only dislikes of the Ascent are the CVT (it is better after the recall and updates), annoying boot-up time on reading the music USB (it boots first into FM, then decides it wants to play the memory stick), and having to get 20" tires on the Limited with the other options we wanted (Erie potholes are death to low-profile wheels, and snow tires are pricey). No regrets, as no car is perfect. Kids love the space, and we have a roof bag for long trips.

You may want to consider a off-lease Q7 for that price if you like the Audi feel that much. Not sure why you are against an EU car, most cars are a myriad of parts from everywhere. I would steer away from the Durango. I traded a 2014 GC at 94k miles with a failed transmission. Lucky the dealer I got my Audi from was having a trade-in special, they never drove it and put it up for auction the next day. The 3.6L Pentastar (I've owned two) is a great engine, for horsepower, but the torque is pitiful. So if you are going to compare the Subie turbo to the 3.6 for towing, the Subie is better. Otherwise if you want to tow, you are looking at the rare 5.7L in the Durango.

The Ascent did have a buggy first year for a Subaru. Things should be settled with a new one. That is one reason to avoid the Telluride. Nice looking, highly rated, but not for reliability....yet.

Good luck with your choice. Fun thing to have with all the garbage going on in the world...enjoying buying a new ride!

Cheers!
 

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Asking existing owners - why did you buy the Ascent? What else did you shop, and what led you to pick this vehicle?

My Audi Q5 lease expires in Oct, and for a new vehicle we want 3 rows, tow a travel trailer periodically, Apple Car Play, 360 camera and memory seats. After that, we're just looking for nice drive and good value in the $40 to $45k range.

I've driven the Palisade, Atlas, RAV4, Durango, Outback XT and the Ascent - and I'm pretty much settled on the Ascent.

The RAV4 is weedy, slow and pretty crappy. I really liked the Outback XT, but it's not big enough. I enjoyed the Palisade, but owner forums have little to nothing on towing. The sister car from Kia, the Telluride is hard to get and I couldn't sit in one - seems more people tow with that, but not many still.

The Atlas is nice, but I don't know I want to drive an EU car long term ... Thats one reason the Audi is going back!

So today, it was a drive between the Durango and the Ascent. The Ascent won, even though the Durango felt sportier and can tow better.

As I watch car reviewers compare vehicles in the segment, the Ascent doesn't always fair well - they claim cabin noise, intrusive safety features and lack of space, none of which I experienced in my test drive, even though I was looking. I do agree with them that I don't like the CVT.

So - why did you end up in an Ascent, and what else did you compare?
We drove some of the same vehicles. Hyundai and Rav 4. We also drove the Highlander since it was closer in size and cargo area. All the recommendations I saw were to get the six cylinder option. It didn’t have the safety suite as standard equipment that the Ascent has. Seemed like the lane keep assist wasn’t as effective as the Subaru. That and the ascent is standard AWD.
 

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Asking existing owners - why did you buy the Ascent? What else did you shop, and what led you to pick this vehicle?

My Audi Q5 lease expires in Oct, and for a new vehicle we want 3 rows, tow a travel trailer periodically, Apple Car Play, 360 camera and memory seats. After that, we're just looking for nice drive and good value in the $40 to $45k range.

I've driven the Palisade, Atlas, RAV4, Durango, Outback XT and the Ascent - and I'm pretty much settled on the Ascent.

The RAV4 is weedy, slow and pretty crappy. I really liked the Outback XT, but it's not big enough. I enjoyed the Palisade, but owner forums have little to nothing on towing. The sister car from Kia, the Telluride is hard to get and I couldn't sit in one - seems more people tow with that, but not many still.

The Atlas is nice, but I don't know I want to drive an EU car long term ... Thats one reason the Audi is going back!

So today, it was a drive between the Durango and the Ascent. The Ascent won, even though the Durango felt sportier and can tow better.

As I watch car reviewers compare vehicles in the segment, the Ascent doesn't always fair well - they claim cabin noise, intrusive safety features and lack of space, none of which I experienced in my test drive, even though I was looking. I do agree with them that I don't like the CVT.

So - why did you end up in an Ascent, and what else did you compare?
Bought a 2019 May of last year. Very pleased with it. Very quiet and responsive. No problems with it. I have about 14,000 miles on it. Only complaint is phony shift points on CVT. Car seems to upshift too soon to 3rd gear and really lags a bit requiring additional acceleration. Always hate to see the end of my drive.
Mike B.
 

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Asking existing owners - why did you buy the Ascent? What else did you shop, and what led you to pick this vehicle?

My Audi Q5 lease expires in Oct, and for a new vehicle we want 3 rows, tow a travel trailer periodically, Apple Car Play, 360 camera and memory seats. After that, we're just looking for nice drive and good value in the $40 to $45k range.

I've driven the Palisade, Atlas, RAV4, Durango, Outback XT and the Ascent - and I'm pretty much settled on the Ascent.

The RAV4 is weedy, slow and pretty crappy. I really liked the Outback XT, but it's not big enough. I enjoyed the Palisade, but owner forums have little to nothing on towing. The sister car from Kia, the Telluride is hard to get and I couldn't sit in one - seems more people tow with that, but not many still.

The Atlas is nice, but I don't know I want to drive an EU car long term ... Thats one reason the Audi is going back!

So today, it was a drive between the Durango and the Ascent. The Ascent won, even though the Durango felt sportier and can tow better.

As I watch car reviewers compare vehicles in the segment, the Ascent doesn't always fair well - they claim cabin noise, intrusive safety features and lack of space, none of which I experienced in my test drive, even though I was looking. I do agree with them that I don't like the CVT.

So - why did you end up in an Ascent, and what else did you compare?
My wife wanted it. My car had just been totaled and we needed to replace it, so she wanted to choose that car and I would have the choice of the one after this. This was Jan 31 2019. Even though it's her car I probably drive it more. We owned 5 VWs before this and I didn't want the Atlas as I heard mixed reviews. Wife just wanted the Subaru. I don't like the CVT either. I actually used to hate it, now I just tolerate it. The nanny features take some getting used to. There are times when it falls flat if I hit the gas hard. IDK if it's turbo lag or just a poor/overly zealous nanny feature. I feel like I am driving a 1960s car when I use our 2013 Passat in comparison, but, the Passat is paid for and has been reliable so far, 105k miles. Not in love with the subie, but don't hate it. It's handling is a bit ponderous, but it's not a sports car. Around town mileage stinks, but if you keep the speed low, like 65 on the highway, 28 is possible. Around town I've seen as low as 14. The worst of it is the dealer though. For the last 8 months they've been harassing us to trade it in. I get called way too often and they tell me, oh, we got your email of interest. Do you want to trade your ascent? I've told them no, leave is alone and they say, oh, we'll put it in our notes not to call you and then it's ground hog day. I finally called Subaru corporate last week and filed a complaint. It's not Subaru's fault, but at the very least, I'll never buy a car from that dealer again, which is a national chain.
 

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""we want 3 rows, tow a travel trailer periodically, Apple Car Play, 360 camera and memory seats. After that, we're just looking for nice drive and good value ""

Your wish list was quite similar to ours. We had already leased 2-Outbacks and were VERY happy with them (after driving VW Jetta GTI Sportwagens for 6-years which we luved and took the scandal buy-out)

IF the Outback could tow up to 5,000lbs, we'd still be driving one. In 2019 our lease was ending and Ascent was on the scene as a choice. It was the 1st year model and we had 'some' reservation due to no track record. We looked at Dodge (poor maintenance record) Chevy/Ford were either expensive or TRUCK-like, not our cuppa. Honda was a possibility. We liked the Ascent, the safety features, driving response and package options. In mid-2019 we tried Liberty Subaru (vendor-sponsor of this site) sales manager Dan Meola suggested we order the vehicle to our exact wish list and that he could get a 2020 before the end of July. The 2nd year model and his price made up our mind.

We've since bought a fiberglass camper RV with a dry weight of 2300lbs. This lets us bring pretty much anything for our camping excursions and be well within the Ascent towing limit. It's been to NC and back to NJ. NJ to WI and back and has towed flawlessly, driven great and everyone inside the car has ample room and comfort. Conclusion - it was the Right Choice for us.
 
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2021 Ascent Touring Brilliant Bronze
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A contributing factor for me ... cruise control. Back in '18 I totaled my Corolla (small moment of silence ... ... ... wipe away a few tears ... okay I'm good). I was researching AWD at the time and pretty much settled on Nissan. I was given an Altima as a rental due to my accident. I thought this would be a great time to experience a CVT. I do a lot of highway. The cruise control was the most jerky experience I ever had. It would speed up, slow down, speed up, slow down. It could not settle on the set speed and stay there. I got totally turned away from Nissan at that point.

Jumped in a Subaru, after all if I was considering AWD it would be a crime not to test drive a Subaru. Cruise control was soooo smooth. Ding ding ding ... we have a winner.

Why the Ascent:
  • Ground clearance
  • Subaru AWD
  • Eyesight!
  • SRH
  • Soooo smooth (if you turn on cruise, the fake shifts go away)
  • It was one of the rare vehicles that fit my wife (she is short) - huge factor
  • Towing (5000 lbs)
  • I actually wanted a turbo as I occasionally get up in the mountains.
  • MPG - okay not great ... but better than the 12 mpg that my Yukon was giving me. I'll take 18-20 mpg city any day.
  • 3rd row seating - more room and comfortable than others.
 

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I absolutely agree. I don't have a ton of experience with some of these brands, but my dad does have a 2014 SLK350. I've driven it some and it's very enjoyable to drive. It's also just SOLID. Not solid for a convertible, but SOLID. I have to think their other cars are the same way. The ride is superb, and far and away better than anything a pleb like me would drive. :)

The Ascent is like buying the biggest house in a middle class neighborhood, vs. buying the smallest house in a neighborhood full of custom homes. You get "more for your money", but some of the fundamentals are still builder grade. We knew this going in, and valued the safety features (that are pretty universally rated to be some of the most effective of active safety features) over a better build quality over all. The sunglasses holder is and feels cheap (in the Ascent). The mirrors fold, but they don't auto-dip and they're not linked to the memory seat (something that luxury brands have been doing for 20 years). The front suspension is a MacPherson strut vs. a more complicated (and expensive) multi-link. The CVT programming introduces certain impulses and quirks that wouldn't be tolerated in an Audi or a Mercedes (not talking the simulated shifts here). None of these are obviously deal-breakers, but the nicer stuff does usually add up to a higher level of refinement. Certainly, that has to be paid for at some point.

Our Ascent is our first Subaru, and I do like the design "flavor" they have going on. The more basic boxer engines, the CVTs, the "practical vs. luxury" theme they have. Our next might be a Forester. But there's no question the Ascent is inching into "custom home" territory (regarding price) with a 2x4 stick frame.
And the throttle by wire is wonky.
 

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A contributing factor for me ... cruise control. Back in '18 I totaled my Corolla (small moment of silence ... ... ... wife away a few tears ... okay I'm good). I was researching AWD at the time and pretty much settled on Nissan. I was given an Altima as a rental due to my accident. I thought this would be a great time to experience a CVT. I do a lot of highway. The cruise control was the most jerky experience I ever had. It would speed up, slow down, speed up, slow down. It could not settle on the set speed and stay there. I got totally turned away from Nissan at that point.

Jumped in a Subaru, after all if I was considering AWD it would be a crime not to test drive a Subaru. Cruise control was soooo smooth. Ding ding ding ... we have a winner.

Why the Ascent:
  • Ground clearance
  • Subaru AWD
  • Eyesight!
  • SRH
  • Soooo smooth (if you turn on cruise, the fake shifts go away)
  • It was one of the rare vehicles that fit my wife (she is short) - huge factor
  • Towing (5000 lbs)
  • I actually wanted a turbo as I occasionally get up in the mountains.
  • MPG - okay not great ... but better than the 12 mpg that my Yukon was giving me. I'll take 18-20 mpg city any day.
  • 3rd row seating - more room and comfortable than others.
That's how we ended up with the Subaru. My car got totaled and my wife wanted the Subaru, I allegedly get to choose the next car we buy. Ok... I don't hate the car, I just don't love it.
 

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2022 Limited
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Older thread, but timelessly relevant as Ascent still being built/sold. Bought ‘22 Limited when I realized the backseat of my ‘19 Honda Ridgeline was no place to ask my sixty-something friends and 80-something relatives to sit. Wife has a ‘17 3.6 Outback since new with zero problems in five years albeit driven very few miles (only 22k miles on it as of May ‘22). Room, safety, comfort, features and affordability were considerations for me. I’m tall, older (63), achy, and skinny. I wanted a full-size car feeling reminiscent of driving the full size Pontiacs and Impalas of my youth combined with the utility of space to haul stuff to the dump and also be the guy who can haul a group from the airport or to a Vegas weekend. I love how easy I can see out Ascent’s windows to back up (couldn’t see out of dark Ridgeline rear windows at all). For performance, I am very satisfied (but not ecstatic) with the turbo 4 propelling this mini-beast- a four cylinder CVT in a vehicle this size will never feel the same as the Ridgeline’s V-6 with real, geared, automatic. However, a month into ownership, I rarely feel limitations of the four cylinder and I just love the car (wife calls it a “truck” lol) more every time I drive it.
 
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