2021 Subaru Ascent

MSRP Range
$32,295 - $45,445

What’s new

  • Subaru's EyeSight suite of advanced driver aids now includes adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist
  • Steering-responsive LED headlights are now standard
  • A second- and third-row seat-belt reminder is now standard
  • Part of the first Ascent generation introduced for 2019

Pros & Cons

  • Substantial list of standard and optional driving aids
  • High-quality interior materials
  • Generous ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
  • Accelerator pedal is too touchy
  • Invasive engine and tire noise
  • Not much second-row shoulder room, and third row is tight
  • Rolling over bumps at higher speeds sends vibrations through the cabin


2021 Subaru Ascent Review

The 2021 Subaru Ascent is a decent choice in the midsize three-row SUV class, but it's far from being a top contender, currently sitting in seventh place in Edmunds' rankings. For 2021, the Ascent gets a full suite of standard safety features including adaptive cruise control, along with lane keeping assist and steering-responsive LED headlights. But even with those additions, it still falls behind the top-rated Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade and Honda Pilot in a number of areas. We give credit to the Ascent's long list of standard features, refined interior and easy-to-use infotainment system. Yet the positives are tempered by an oversensitive gas pedal, noticeable in-cabin noise, a somewhat restrictive third-row seat and slightly stiff ride quality.

Which Ascent does Edmunds recommend?

We recommend the Premium trim level, just one notch up from the base Ascent. The Premium balances affordability with feature availability. It comes standard with the larger 8-inch touchscreen and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and it offers options such as navigation and a panoramic sunroof.

Subaru Ascent models

The 2021 Subaru Ascent is available in base, Premium, Limited and Touring trim levels. All use a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine (260 horsepower, 277 lb-ft of torque) paired with a CVT automatic. All-wheel drive comes standard across the lineup.

Base
Equipment for the base Ascent includes:

  • Three-zone climate control
  • 6.5-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility
  • Six-speaker stereo with Bluetooth connectivity
  • Steering-responsive LED headlights
  • Rearview camera
  • Manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Adaptive cruise control (maintains a driver-set distance between the Subaru and the car in front)
  • Lane keeping system (makes minor steering corrections to help keep the vehicle centered in its lane)

Buyers interested in the base trim level should know that it's only available in an eight-passenger configuration and the tow rating is limited to 2,000 pounds.

Premium
With the Premium, the tow rating is increased to 5,000 pounds. You also get:

  • Upgraded interior materials and a power-adjustable driver's seat
  • 8-inch infotainment touchscreen and 4G LTE Wi-Fi capability
  • An optional seven-passenger seating configuration
  • Heated front seats
  • Blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert (warns you if a vehicle is in your blind spot during a lane change or while reversing)
  • Keyless entry and a power rear liftgate

Options for the Premium include:

  • Power rear tailgate
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Rear automatic braking (brakes if sensors detect an imminent collision with an object behind the vehicle)
  • Navigation
  • Panoramic sunroof

Limited
The Limited trim comes with most of the Premium's optional features as standard. Other standard equipment for the Limited includes:

  • LED foglights
  • Heated steering wheel and heated second-row seats
  • Perforated leather upholstery
  • 14-speaker Harman Kardon audio system

Touring
The Touring trim simplifies things even further, sold only in the seven-passenger seating configuration and coming standard with all of the previously optional equipment. Also standard are some creature comforts such as:

  • Ambient interior lighting and a 120-volt power outlet
  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • Forward parking camera

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Build Your Ascent®
At a Glance:
  • 8 Colors
  • 4 Trims
  • $32,295starting MSRP

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2021 Subaru Ascent.

5(53%)
4(27%)
3(0%)
2(13%)
1(7%)
4.1

Most helpful consumer reviews

Fantastic engine, sketchy CVT
Joe Mama,01/02/2021
Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl Turbo CVT)
Pros: 2.4L Turbo engine. A far less spartan interior than Subarus are known for. Great head and legroom. Mostly quiet ride. Limited on up trims provide a manual mode with paddle shifters. Definitely a must for slow speeds and stop and go traffic. Cons: 20" wheels with 245/50 tires are harsh riding. A hesitant and indecisive CVT squanders the power band of the engine. Touchscreen is primitive, circa 2015. Annoying, too bright indicators for the compass and passenger airbags.
Big BANG for the Buck!
Ahmadski Ha-Hanif,12/18/2020
Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl Turbo CVT)
Okay, so my wife and I have been driving INFINITI vehicles since 2006 and because we usually lease our cars, we've had pretty much all of their models from G series to the Q/QX models. After 2 INFINITI QX60 AWD SUV's we decided to change things up a little and go with a 2021 Subaru Ascent Touring AWD SUV. I want to break this into sections as I have a ton to write about, so here we go: COMPARISON: Surly there are some obvious differences between the two SUV’s like 3.5L 295HP/270lb – tq V6 engine in the QX60 and a 2.4L Turbo charged 260HP/277lb – tq 4 cylinder engine in the Ascent, the Ascent also offers captain seats in the 2nd row vs. QX60’s only bench seat option, “luxury” brand vs. non luxury, and the small features here and there, but there are a lot of similarities as well, one of the main feature being the CVT transmission. Cargo space and seating functionality is very similar. I do like the option of captain seats in the 2nd row of the Ascent for those who do not necessarily need or like the bench seats. Another difference in the QX60, the 3rd row seat is for 2 passengers vs. the Ascent’s 3 passengers. It does make it a bit tight squeezing 3 people back there. I wouldn’t say it’s ideal for 3 adults but kids shouldn’t have any issues. The steering feel in the INFINITI QX60 is a bit tight/hard compared the a somewhat “lose” yet very responsive steering on the Ascent. It also “drives/feels” a bit heavy even though they both weigh about the same around 4500lbs. Maybe I need to get used to driving the Ascent but I felt a bit “safer” in the QX60. TECHNOLOGY: Both of the INFINITI QX60 SUV’s that we had in the past had the (what they called the packages back then) Premium/Premium plus and the Driver’s Assist packages. The features and technology are pretty similar but there are some differences as well. One of the main features that both my wife and I got so used to is the around view, 360-degree monitor cameras. In the Ascent you only get a rear and an optional fish-eye front camera in the Touring model. INFINITI’s ProActive package gives you all of the available safety features for about $12000 more than a fully loaded Subaru Ascent. I personally think the Ascent’s Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Centering, Lane Departure and Sway Warning, and the Pre-Collision Throttle Management systems work much better than INFINITI’s Intelligent Cruise Control with the Lane Departure Warning and Prevention systems. Ascent keeps the vehicle lane centered and has an amazing steering correction that can take on 30-40 degree angles without deactivating the Lane Centering feature. PERFORMANCE: The engine specs are available for everyone to see and compare but it’s when you drive that you get feel of handling, road noise, throttle performance, braking, and the safety features etc. I’m split between the two on this one. Bigger engine doesn’t necessarily mean more HP, it’s the performance at different speeds and different acceleration needs. I loved the V6 response but Subaru engineers are not dummies, they combined the 2.4L 4 cylinder engine with a turbo charger which makes up for the difference. While the turbo charger is a good additive to an engine, the decrease in displacement has an affect in the “feel” of the engine. At slow speeds the Ascent seems to be screaming and gasping for air, and at higher speeds, the throttle becomes a bit sensitive and a slight increase raises the RPM where you can hear it going up and down if you play with it. That can be a bit annoying but it can be solved by activating the Advanced Adaptive Cruise control. AT THE END OF THE DAY: A lot of people complain that the INFINITI QX60 does not have either of the carplay feature. My take on that, it has pretty much everything you’d use the carplay for so what’s the big fuss about having a carplay? Another thing I noticed leaving your phone plugged in all the time, especially on a longer trip, is not good for your phone. You can feel it getting hot. Can we get over not having the around view monitor cameras of the QX60 SUV? Sure we can… there are bunch of other features that supersedes in the Subaru Ascent that will make you forget those small features of the QX60. Do we miss having the 6-way power front passenger seat? We sure do! Do we miss the aggressive yet luxurious exterior design of the INFINITI QX60 compared to a “safe” laid back, not taking much risk styling of the Ascent? It’s a personal preference but yes we do. You have to put everything on a scale and weigh your options but keep one thing in mind that my opinion and views will not do anything but to help you find the common grounds and make a decision on your next family SUV. Were we happy with the INFINITI QX60 SUV? We were… would we have gotten our 3rd one? I’m 80% sure we would’ve! Are we happy with the Subaru Ascent – ABSO-FLIPPIN-LUTELY! Good luck ~
Love it but !!
1hammer1,03/14/2021
Touring 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl Turbo CVT)
This is the best handling and rideing suv that I have ever owned ( this is my 9th Subaru ) 2021 Subaru Ascent touring ( BUT ) The front passinger seat has no up and down ajustment ( strange for a high end touring ) and it is just plain noisey lots of wind and road noise and only a 19.2 gas tank with a turbo that really sucks the gasoline and the front seat bottoms are too hard & firm for a long trip. I really wish that I could give this Subaru Ascent 5 stars but I can not, When going down the interstate @ 65mph we ( my wife and I ) Can not hear and understand the radio and barely each other just a bunch of noise because of the road and wind noise (SAD ) for almost $50,000 so as a loyal Subaru owner I only give ( 4 stars ) and because of the above I am trying out other brands now, I demand good ride and comfort AND QUIET.
More Power
Michael Pinard,10/21/2020
Limited 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl Turbo CVT)
After trading from 3.6 liter Outback to the Ascent very disappointed in engine performance. Much less power and much more interior cabin engine noise. After 7000 miles there is still hesitation during acceleration especially when engine is cold and we live in Florida. Dealership says it is the nature of this model. Too bad because I like all the features put into this model. But in the end engine performance , smooth acceleration is what counts.