Subaru’s three-row SUV has impressive all-around performance. The Ascent’s smooth ride, functional interior, and slick power delivery helped lift it to success. The Ascent has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine in a segment where V6s dominate, which might seem to be a disadvantage on paper. But in real-world driving, the SUV feels zippier and more satisfying than its numbers suggest it should be.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit.
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.
Emissions
Greenhouse Gas Greenhouse Gas The Greenhouse Gas Rating represents the amount of carbon dioxide the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).
Smog Rating Smog Rating The Smog Rating represents the amount of health-damaging and smog-forming airborne pollutants the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Transmission Minor Transmission Minor Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.
NA
Drive System Drive System Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS and ESC standard. Side and head protection air bags standard.
Road Test

Subaru’s three-row SUV has impressive all-around performance. The Ascent’s smooth ride, functional interior, and slick power delivery helped lift it to success.

The Ascent has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine in a segment where V6s dominate, which might seem to be a disadvantage on paper. But in real-world driving, the SUV feels zippier and more satisfying than its numbers suggest it should be. Plus, its 22 mpg overall is comparable to its rivals.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear, 3 third
Drive Wheels
AWD
Warranty
Coverage varies among versions of this vehicle

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
4-door SUV
Transmissions Available
  • CVT
Engines Available
  • 2.4-liter 4 turbo (260 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2020 Subaru Ascent owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

Android Auto

"The interface does not work well. The wireless function has never worked. Notifications of messages on the head unit are sporadic"

Anonymous, AR (2020 Subaru Ascent Limited 2.4-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Apple CarPlay

"CarPlay will become flaky from time to time. Unplugging the phone and replugging it in normally resolved the issue. At worst, turning the car off and on again fixed it. I have yet to determine any pattern to the behavior"

Anonymous, (2020 Subaru Ascent Premium 2.4-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Display screen freezes up

"After receiving an incoming call, the interface froze on the "call in progress", even after the phone call ended. This was apparently fixed with the software update."

Anonymous, (2020 Subaru Ascent Touring 2.4-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Hardware replacement

"The main amplifier went dead causing the entire STARLINK system to stop operating."

Anonymous, OH (2020 Subaru Ascent Touring 2.4-L 4 Cyl turbo)
In-dash navigation system (GPS)

"The voice recognition on the installed maps is absolutely horrible. Typing in an address or location is fine. However, when the vehicle is moving address and locations need to be put in verbally. The system has never once recognized the correct address."

Anonymous, AR (2020 Subaru Ascent Limited 2.4-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Radio

"The radio stops producing sound altogether after about 30 seconds if, and only if, a phone is plugged in"

Anonymous, (2020 Subaru Ascent Premium 2.4-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"The audio completely stopped working. Hard to perform a "hard reset " several times before dealer decided to replace the unit."

Anonymous, MO (2020 Subaru Ascent Touring 2.4-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Software update fixes

"The audio becomes inaudible when using XM, Bluetooth, and Apple Pay, but FM was normal. Dealership fixed the problem with an update."

Anonymous, (2020 Subaru Ascent Touring 2.4-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Recall to reprogram safety features."

Anonymous, OK (2020 Subaru Ascent Limited 2.4-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Body control module

"BIU module had to be replaced. Was unable to open doors using keyfob due to this issue. Had to use the emergency key enclosed in the keyfob. Could start the car once inside and all other systems seemed to work normally. If car was turned off, keyfob would work for about ten minutes. After ten minutes, had to use emergency key to gain access. Very inconvenient."

Anonymous, (2020 Subaru Ascent Premium 2.4-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Heated or cooled seats

"Heated seats never heat up. Can leave on high all day without feeling them"

Anonymous, IA (2020 Subaru Ascent Limited 2.4-L 4 Cyl turbo)
USB port

"Electronic item plugged into USB port caused the battery to drain and car needed to be jumpstarted."

Anonymous, OH (2020 Subaru Ascent Touring 2.4-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Antilock system (ABS)

"On 21 Dec 2019, the vehicle would not start. After AAA "jumped" the vehicle, I drove it to local Subaru Dealership for "repairs". They identified the following cause for starting issue: The ABS was not shutting down when the vehicle was turned off and instead continue to draw high amperes, which, in turn, depleted the battery and ultimately damaged the battery. I had to return to the local dealership service department twice for this issue. First time, after they identified the battery drain cause, they replaced the VDC CM / ABS module but claimed the battery had not been damaged. I drove the vehicle home on 26 Dec 2019; however, on 2 Jan 2020, I had to return vehicle to the local dealership service department for a second time because battery was not holding a charge and it was becoming more & more difficult to start vehicle. During second visit, service department determined one of the battery cell had indeed been damaged, and, they finally replaced it with a new battery. Of course, all this work was accomplished under warranty. I have not experienced any electrical issues since this second visit to the service department."

Anonymous, CO (2020 Subaru Ascent Touring 2.4-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Squeaking

"Brakes squeaked after a few thousand miles. Would squeak pretty loudly when tapping the brakes. The dealer provided a warranty replacement of all brakes."

Anonymous, VA (2020 Subaru Ascent Premium 2.4-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"Door sills get marked with foot traffic and paint chips off. Had to buy aftermarket protectors."

David P., FL (2020 Subaru Ascent Touring 2.4-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Paint had noticeable discolorations in the paint upon delivery, to the extent the dealership was willing to exchange the car after initial delivery. We purchased the car in the evening and didn't notice the issue until the following day after delivery. Also, the paint seems very fragile, scratching very easily."

Anonymous, ID (2020 Subaru Ascent Limited 2.4-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Locks and latches

"rear hatch would not lock. Problem was dead battery"

Anonymous, (2020 Subaru Ascent Unsure 2.4-L 4 Cyl turbo)

"Tailgate functions don't work properly. At one point the tailgate stuck about an inch open and I couldn't open or close it. The buzzer that warns you it is open stuck and would not shut off. Called dealer but no help. Finally had to remove battery cable. Dealer later told me when it happens again to hold the tailgate for 7 seconds and you can manually open it. It happened again and it worked. But that doesn't correct the defect."

Anonymous, OH (2020 Subaru Ascent Limited 2.4-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Engine rebuild or replacement

"At 1900 miles. Driving on the interstate the engine totally blew and all oil drained out on the ground. Subaru Replaced the engine including the turbocharger."

Anonymous, NC (2020 Subaru Ascent Limited 2.4-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Transmission rebuild or replacement

"Transmission needed replaced at only 4000 miles. Was horrible to drive before that. Never a smooth driving car because of the horrible transmission"

Anonymous, IA (2020 Subaru Ascent Limited 2.4-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Squeaks or rattles

"There is an intermittent buzzing noise that can be heard inside the cabin that is coming from the engine area of the car when accelerating over 30 mph"

Anonymous, (2020 Subaru Ascent Limited 2.4-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

Rough shifting

"CVT behavior resulted in bucking and lurching of the entire vehicle when trying to drive a steady slow or moderate speed. Dealer says "no computer code indicates no problem." Occurring two or three times a week, worse in cold weather."

Anonymous, TX (2020 Subaru Ascent Limited 2.4-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

"AC didn't work. Dealer evacuated system and recharged it. So far so good. It was under warrentee."

Anonymous, NY (2020 Subaru Ascent Unsure 2.4-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

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