The 2021 Subaru Ascent is Painfully Average

It seems to be difficult finding positive or negative things about the 2021 Subaru Ascent. Reviewers are finding it to be an average ride. But that shouldn’t stop you from buying one. Check out how the Subaru Ascent compares to rivals. 

The 2021 Subaru Ascent is a little boring 

You can get started in the 2021 Subaru Ascent for about $32,295. The 2021 Kia Sorento has an MSRP of about $29,390, while the 2021 Toyota Highlander begins at about $34,910, so this price is average for the three-row SUV segment. 

2020 Subaru Ascent driving down road
2020 Subaru Ascent | Subraru

The Ascent is basically a larger Outback with nothing special to offer except for a third-row in the back. The third-row is a little bigger than what the Highlander offers, but AutoBlog refers to the space as adequate. They also noted that the second-row passengers might want to pull forward for kids in the third row to be more comfortable. 

There are 17.6 cubic feet of storage space behind the third row, which is limiting. The Ford Explorer offers 18.2 cubic feet behind the third row. Also, the Ascent offers up to 86.5 cubic feet of cargo space total, while the Explorer offers 87.8 cubic feet. 

How does the Subaru Ascent perform? 

The 2021 Subaru Ascent does have a spiffy 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. But Edmunds mentioned that the throttle is a little touchy and could cause surging while accelerating, which makes passengers uncomfortable. AutoBlog noticed that the turbo can lag and surge forward in some cases too. 

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Edmunds also noted that the engine is a bit loud, and tire noise fills the cabin. Plus, if you hit bumps at higher speeds, the cabin rattles. But on a positive note, all-wheel-drive does come standard, as it does with the 2021 Honda Ridgeline and Kia Seltos. The Ascent can tow up to 5,000 lb like most rivals can. 

The Ascent doesn’t offer sporty driving modes but can handle snow and other slippery conditions with confidence thanks to the 8.4-inch ground clearance. It’s available with 18-inch and 20-inch wheels too. 

2021 Ascent features 

The 2021 Subaru Ascent has a fine interior. It matches the quality of what rivals have to offer. The passenger seats could be a little more padded for longer rides, but the front seats are good for daily driving. 

On lower trim options, you get a 6.5-inch touchscreen. Higher trims offer an 8.0-inch screen. The infotainment system provides clear graphics and is user friendly. However, the Subaru Outback is noted for having more advanced tech that’s easier to use. 

Bright, open Subaru Ascent Interior featuring white upholstery
Front seats of the Subaru Ascent

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There are plenty of USB ports to keep everyone’s devices charged. Also, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard. These provide directions well without the need for a navigation system. 

The Subaru Ascent comes packed with standard safety features too. You get standard forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, adaptive cruise control, LED headlights that turn with the steering wheel, and more. 

But Car and Driver shared that the Ascent is loaded with annoying chimes and beeping. Now the rear-seat reminders add even more noise to the mix. There seems to be nothing outstanding about this vehicle unless you already love Subaru models and need a bigger one.