The Ascent remains the largest Subaru in the line-up and is the only one with three rows of seating. Like nearly all Subarus, it comes standard with all-wheel-drive and lots of standard and available features. However, it’s not as smooth or sporty as some rivals and has less space than some.
Base Price: $37,995
As Tested: $41,320
Mileage: 20 mpg city/26 mpg highway/22 mpg combined
The Ascent was introduced for the 2019 model year and has gotten a few tweaks since then. For 2022, the new Onyx Edition trim is added to the line-up with black-finish exterior, badging, 20-inch alloy wheels, StarTex water-repellant seating, some interior design details, and standard second-row captain’s chairs.
The 2022 Ascent comes in five trims: base, Premium, Onyx Edition, Limited, and Touring. Starting prices range from $32,295 to $45,445. There’s room for seven or eight passengers, depending on whether you get captain’s chairs in the second row.
The engine is the same on all trims: a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque, paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission with eight-speed manual mode function and steering wheel paddle shifters.
The Ascent is not particularly sporty but it’s easy to drive as it handles like a smaller vehicle. It’s quick off the line and is comfortable to drive around town. But the CVT can get loud when pressed, and doesn’t always shift smoothly which can be jarring. When fully loaded, the Ascent can feel a bit sluggish when trying to accelerate quickly. Steering is accurate and the Ascent stays planted when cornering. Visibility is good all the way around thanks to the raised driving position.
With 8.7 inches of ground clearance, hill descent control and X-Mode traction management, the Ascent is suitable for some off-roading.
When properly equipped, the Ascent can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
Fuel efficiency is ok for the class. EPA ratings for my tester are 20 mpg city and 26 mpg highway with a combined rating of 22. I got 21 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The cabin is pleasant and practical as you’d expect in a family hauler. Materials are attractive and look like they can handle spills, mud and sand from those family outings. And with 19 cupholders, there’s more than enough room for everyone’s beverage! Taller adults will be comfortable in the first two rows but the third row is best suited for kids, as is usually the case in three-row crossovers.
Standard features include keyless entry, rearview camera, tri-zone automatic climate control, Subaru Starlink 6.5-inch touchscreen, six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, single-disc CD player, HD Radio, satellite radio, two USB input ports up front, two USB charging ports in the rear, steering responsive LED headlights with high beam assist, and a rear seat reminder.
Available features include remote start, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, eight-inch touchscreen, 14-speaker Harman Kardon premium audio system, navigation, Wi-Fi hot spot, second-row climate controls, two USB ports in the third row, and a panoramic moonroof.
Standard driver assistance technologies include advanced adaptive cruise control with lane centering, pre-collision braking, lane departure warning and lane keep assist. These are included as part of Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology.
Available driver assistance technologies include blind sport detection with lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, and reverse automatic emergency braking.
The user-friendly Starlink infotainment system features a high-res touchscreen that responds quickly to touch and voice commands. The large icons are easy to see and reach, and handy physical buttons and knobs let you quickly adjust things like volume and climate.
The Ascent has 17.8 cubic feet of space with all three rows in place, 47.5 cubes with the second row folded and 86.5 cubes with both rows folded. There’s a storage compartment under the cargo floor. The opening is wide making it easy to load your stuff. A power liftgate is standard. You can also take advantage of the standard roof rails if you need more cargo space.
Capable of light off-roading
Lots of standard and available features and tech
User-friendly infotainment system
Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Not as sporty as rivals
Ride quality can be jarring
Noticeable engine and road noise
My tester starts at $37,995. The cargo area cover, panoramic power moonroof, and Starlink 8.0-inch multimedia navigation system with 8-inch high-resolution touchscreen are $2,200. Destination fee is $1,125 bringing the grand total to $41,320.
The Ascent sure appeals to Subaru fans with growing families with its long list of standard and available features and tech, comfortable interior, user-friendly infotainment system, standard all-wheel-drive, and enough ground clearance for light off-roading. But it’s not as sporty nor is the ride as smooth as some rivals. You’ll want to shop around before making your final choice.