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The Subaru Ascent is dealing with a disappointing reality; it isn’t selling very well compared to the other SUVs in the Subaru lineup and similar SUVs from rivals. The Ascent is the largest SUV in the Subaru fleet, with seating for eight and 75.6 cu-ft of cargo space available. Despite this spacious interior room and three spacious rows of seating, the Ascent is failing to meet expectations set by Subaru’s more popular models.

What numbers look like for Subaru’s SUVs

Data from GoodCarBadCar shows other Subaru models like the Crosstrek, Outback, and Forester are much more successful in sales than the Ascent. The Ascent itself has only sold a little over 14,000 units in the previous quarter of 2023.

With so much space to offer and Subaru’s general reliability, why is the Ascent not selling as well as the other models in the Subaru lineup? Here are three possible reasons why the Subaru Ascent is failing to sell.

The Subaru Ascent had a rough initial release

Back in 2019 when the Subaru Ascent was first released to the public, there were some issues right out of the gate. Torque News reports that the 2019 Ascent models suffered major transmission-related issues.

These issues were so rough that a full transmission replacement was required for some Ascent models. Along with this transmission recall was a recall for a possible defective PCV valve. If a vehicle’s PCV valve fails, the air and fuel mixture in the engine could be incorrect, leading to misfires, rough running engines, or failure to run altogether.

While these problems have been sorted out in the years following the Ascent’s initial release, that bad first impression could have left an impact on many consumers.

The 2023 Subaru Ascent is a little basic

On paper, the Subaru Ascent seems like a great deal. The Ascent starts at $33,895. It seems like a great choice for an eight-passenger SUV with standard all-wheel drive from a company with a great history. Sadly, for many drivers, the Ascent will feel like a step backward unless you spring for a more top-of-the-line versions. The interior on the Ascent’s base model is very “basic Subaru”, for better or for worse.

To get features like leather seats, a sunroof, X-Mode, dual-zone climate control, power front seats, and heated front and second-row seats, your Ascent quickly jumps above the $40,000 price point.

Again, the Ascent is a great value if you don’t mind the base model being a little basic, but for many, the smaller and much affordable Subaru Crosstrek offers a much better value for nearly $10,000 less than a base Ascent.

A big and heavy SUV

Subaru’s vehicles are known for being incredibly capable, offering performance that can tackle nearly every terrain on Earth. Their small cars feel larger than life, punching way above their weight class. Sadly, the Ascent in many ways, is the polar opposite of this Subaru design language. The Ascent is capable enough, of course, but it’s a big, heavy machine.

Because the Ascent is a larger SUV with full-time all-wheel drive, fuel economy suffers quite a bit. The Ascent achieves a mere 23 mpg combined. Again, this may not seem too bad for the largest SUV in Subaru’s lineup, but when the Crosstrek is achieving mixed fuel economy numbers of 29 mpg and highway numbers of 33 mpg with full-time all-wheel drive, it is hard to justify owning an Ascent unless you’re dead set on Subaru.


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