Skip to main content

2021 Subaru Ascent Gets One New Upgrade That Will Help It Earn The Highest Safety Award

How safe is the Subaru Ascent? The 2021 Ascent model change gets one new upgrade that will help the SUV earn the highest safety score.


Subaru announced pricing and new features coming for the 2021 Ascent model change. With the new safety upgrades, the 2021 Ascent should be an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick Plus winner. The 2020 Ascent family hauler missed the highest score because of its headlights. But the 2021 3-Row SUV gets new steering responsive LED headlights now standard across all trim levels.

The 2020 models scored a bit lower because Ascent base and Premium trim levels have Halogen projector headlights which received a “Poor” rating from the IIHS resulting in Ascent earning a Top Safety Pick and not the highest Top Safety Pick Plus award. Those headlights are not curve-adaptive and do not have high-beam assist.

2021 Subaru Ascent, pricing, features, specs

The IIHS says the low beams created excessive glare to oncoming drivers. On curves, visibility was fair on the gradual right and gradual left curves and inadequate on the sharp right and sharp left curves. But all 2021 Ascent trims get the best headlights now.

What are steering responsive headlights?

The 2021 Ascent Base and Premium trim levels gain steering responsive LED headlights (low and high beam) for improved visibility when driving at night. The steering responsive system aims the headlight beams in the direction the vehicle is turning and not simply pointing straight ahead.

2021 Subaru Ascent, pricing, features, specs

This is helpful on curved roads so you can see farther around the corner, and react sooner in case something unexpected happens. Drivers who are in rural settings can see animals sooner that could be on the side of the road.

New 2021 Ascent models also now come with high beam assist for improved visibility at night. The headlights automatically go from high beam to regular brightness when it senses an oncoming car. The headlights automatically go back to the high beam after the car passes.

The headlight upgrades should help the 2021 Subaru Ascent family hauler earn the highest Top Safety Pick Plus award when it’s tested by the IIHS. Look for a future edition of Torque News for more information on the latest safety scores.

You Might Also Like: Subaru Sales Are Down - Customer Incentives Are Up Is It a Good Time To Buy A Subaru?

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press and the founder of Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Subaru Report - We’ve got you covered! Check back tomorrow for more unique, informative SUBARU news, reviews, and previews you can trust.

Leave your comments below, share the article with friends and tweet it out to your followers!

Photo credit: Subaru


James Robertson (not verified)    June 29, 2020 - 6:19AM

LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE my chromed-out red, touring, every-bell-and-every-whistle, 2020 Subaru Ascent. Even upgraded to the chrome (ok, plastic) accent bar across the front bumper. This BEAST climbs some crazy steep grass hills near me using the EXTREME TRACTION MODE (X-Mode) and looks beautiful doing so! For a solid year, I was planning on buying the 2021 but was so anxious that I just could not wait any longer. I gave my 2015 Forester to a buddy and bought my 2020 Ascent in April. COULD NOT BE HAPPIER! Jim