The 2020 Subaru Ascent’s Biggest Drawback Isn’t a Dealbreaker

Since the SUV market is so competitive, it’s hard for unpopular models to stand out. Oftentimes, completely capable vehicles are overlooked because of popular alternatives, like the Kia Telluride. The 2020 Subaru Ascent seems to be a perfectly fine vehicle in its own right, but it barely gets any attention.

It’s a fairly new addition to the Subaru family, first released for the 2019 model year. Despite this, it appears to have positive reviews from critics, including Consumer Reports. The CR staff could only find one major flaw on the Ascent, but it won’t be a dealbreaker for most drivers.

The 2020 Subaru Ascent offers easy riding

The Subaru Ascent is powered by a turbo 2.4-liter four-cylinder capable of 260 hp. It’s paired with a CVT and only comes with all-wheel drive. It’s also surprisingly efficient, averaging up to 14 mpg in the city 32 mpg on highway roads, according to Consumer Reports.

CR testers found that the Ascent was surprisingly peppy and fun to drive. While they did detect some noticeable body lean around corners, at no point did they feel unsafe inside the SUV. Testers also reported that the suspension absorbed pretty much every bump you may encounter down the road.

Excellent interior

CR’s testers contributed their pleasant driving experience in part to the Subaru Ascent’s plush interior. The Premium trim that was tested comes with plush cloth seats and the first two rows can accommodate tall adults. It’s also easy to enter the vehicle thanks to its large door openings.

According to Consumer Reports, the Subaru Ascent has one of the nicest cabins in its class. Testers especially loved the padded armrests and the Ascent’s abundance of cupholders. It can also carry a lot of cargo space in the rear, nearly 48 cubic feet of space with the second row folded down. 

Great safety features

The Subaru Ascent comes standard with driver aids like adaptive cruise control, pre-collision throttle management, a rear-seat reminder, and lane assistance. Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and a head-up display are also included in the cheapest model. CR found that the AEB system was able to stop the car from hitting a dummy while going 25 mph.

The Subaru Ascent also passed CR’s brake and avoidance maneuver tests with flying colors. It has a Top Safety Pick designation from the IIHS. Its headlights are exceptionally bright and you can also get adaptive headlights on higher trims.

The Subaru Ascent’s intuitive technology


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The cheapest 2020 Subaru Ascent comes with smartphone integration, Bluetooth, multiple USB ports, and a six-speaker stereo setup with satellite radio. However, the touchscreen is only 6.5 inches, which may be too small for some drivers. An 8-inch touchscreen is included on pricier Ascent models.

CR liked the Subaru Ascent’s infotainment display for the most part. It’s easy to use, all the controls are neatly organized, and there’s no delay between navigating various menus. However, testers did find that some controls are hard to reach from the driver’s seat.

One thing that needs improvement

As you could probably tell, the Subaru Ascent isn’t the sportiest vehicle on the lot. The steering wheel is slow to turn, and it can’t handle corners with any grace. CR’s testers also found that it has a slow acceleration time and the gas pedal can be difficult to modulate. Still, the transmission delivers accurate shifts and drivers can use the standard paddle shifters for a more immediate response.

Overall, it’s a surprise that more people aren’t buying the Subaru Ascent. It has a high owner satisfaction rating and very few weak points. We’re confident that it can eventually join the ranks of Subaru’s other tried-and-true vehicles like the Outback and Crosstrek.