Why Aren’t Families Buying the Subaru Ascent?

Subaru is the king of making ads with that warm and fuzzy family feeling. However, the Subaru Ascent, the best model for families, isn’t getting stellar sales. However, it is gaining traction as a great option to consider against the Toyota Highlander or Kia Telluride. So, let’s see what the 2020 Subaru Ascent provides as a family SUV. 

Is the Subaru Ascent a Good SUV? 

Maybe, that’s what we’re here to find out. The 2020 Subaru Ascent starts around $31k, making it a little expensive for families. The Kia Sorento starts around $26k, and the Toyota Highlander starts around $34k, so it’s a fair option in the middle. 

2020 Subaru Ascent driving down road
2020 Subaru Ascent | Subraru

Also, the Subaru Ascent isn’t great on gas. It only gets up to 21 mpg in the city and up to 27 mpg on the highway. But for a midsize SUV, you won’t find a fuel efficiency that’s much better unless you spring for a hybrid option instead. 

Subaru Ascent Performance 

The Subaru Ascent comes with a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that provides 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. Rivals in this price range, like the Toyota Highlander, come with a V6 engine. 

When properly equipped, the Subaru Ascent can tow between 2,000 to 5,000 lb. To tow 5,000 lb, you will need to upgrade to the Subaru Ascent Premium trim, which starts around $34k. So, the towing package is about $3k. 

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However, on a positive note, all-wheel-drive is included with all trim options. Usually, it costs around $2k to add AWD to rivals. Also, Subarus are pegged as having a slow pickup, but the Ascent can accelerate from 0 to 60 in 7.3 seconds. This is pretty quick for a three-row SUV. 

A new Subaru Ascent on display during a car show
A Subaru Ascent on display during an auto trade show | Kevork Djansezian

With the symmetrical all-wheel-drive and 8.7″ of ground clearance, the Subaru Ascent is well equipped to handle snow, sand, mud, and more. The X-MODE system automatically optimizes traction on slippery surfaces and includes hill descent control. 

Subaru Ascent Features 

The Subaru Ascent is built with high-strength steel to provide a quieter cabin, fun handling, superior safety, and to last longer. There are also 153.5 cubic feet of passenger space, creating more than enough space for the entire family. Plus, you can access up to 86.5 cubic feet of cargo space for your gear. There are 19 cup holders to store everyone’s drinks as well. 

Technology-wise, the 2020 Subaru Ascent has an 8″ infotainment center that can connect to Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and TomTom. Download the STARLINK app to start the engine and turn on the AC with your smartphone. 

The Subaru Ascent is also very safe. It received superior front collision prevention from IIHS. However, you need to upgrade to the Subaru Ascent Premium trim models to gain standard safety features such as blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, automatic braking, and more. 

Bright, open Subaru Ascent Interior featuring white upholstery
Subaru Ascent Interior

So, really if you’re going for the Subaru Ascent, forget about the base model. The valuable features are included with the Premium trim. At $34k, you should get more luxury features like leather seats and auto climate control. But Subaru is the most expensive non-luxury brand. Families are getting more from the Kia Telluride, Ford Explorer, and other options.