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Consumer Reports Says Avoid Subaru Ascent Buy The Toyota Highlander

Is the 2022 Subaru Ascent reliable? We recently reported Ascent is not recommenced by Consumer Reports. They now say buy the Toyota Highlander instead. Here’s why.


Should 3-Row SUV shoppers consider the 2022 Subaru Ascent family hauler? We recently reported a new Consumer Reports review (by subscription) says the 2022 Ascent 3-Row SUV makes the ten least reliable new cars list again. Consumer Reports gives the 2022 Ascent a reliability ranking of just 18 points and says there are five trouble spots.

CR says the transmission, power equipment, brakes, in-car electronics, and climate system are unreliable and give it a 1/5 in predicted reliability. They just compared the Ascent with the Toyota Highlander and said SUV shoppers should avoid the Ascent and buy the Highlander instead.

2022 Subaru Ascent pricing, features, reliability

CR took an in-depth look at both models and picked the Toyota Highlander over the Subaru Ascent because of reliability issues with Ascent. Consumer Reports says members who own the Ascent give the SUV an average 3/5 rating in its Owner Satisfaction survey. Sixty-four percent of owners said they would buy the vehicle again.

CR says the Toyota Highlander (both models, V6 and hybrid powertrains) "wins out with a significantly better Overall Score, buoyed by the contrast in predicted reliability."

Why Consumer Reports picks the Toyota Highlander over the Subaru Ascent

2022 Subaru Ascent pricing, features, reliability

CR says, "The Toyota's fuel economy is strong, while the Hybrid's mileage is stellar for many cars, let alone an SUV. Loyal Toyota buyers will feel at home from the second they slide into the cabin. In short, the Highlander is a family-friendly, though unexciting SUV. Note that historically the Highlander holds its value very well."

What Consumer Report likes about the 2022 Subaru Ascent

CR says, "The Subaru Ascent has great visibility, a stellar ride, a roomy cabin, and a turbocharged four-cylinder that delivers impressive fuel economy and has good acceleration and passing performance. But its reliability remains a concern."

What is the Ascent's fuel mileage?

The Subaru Ascent base and Premium trim levels get an EPA estimated 21/27 city/highway mpg and 23 combined mpg. Because they are slightly heavier, the Ascent Limited and Touring trim levels get an EPA estimated 20/26 city/highway mpg and 22 combined mpg.

Should SUV shoppers avoid the 2022 Subaru Ascent?

Consumer Reports predicted reliability score is based on data from 2019, 2020, and 2021 models. According to the report, the same reliability rating carries through since there are no changes to the 2022 models. The 2019-2020 Subaru Ascent model years are still dragging down the 2022 model year family hauler's score.

In 2022, Subaru of America has corrected the transmission and most other issues in 2022 Ascent 3-Row SUVs. There have been no significant issues with the 2022 Subaru Ascent SUV, and the NHTSA says there are zero recalls for 2022 models.

What is the Ascent safety score?

The Ascent SUV has a superior safety rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS gives the 2022 Ascent a Top Safety Pick Plus award, better than the 2020 models because of its improved headlights.

What's next for the 2023 Ascent?

The 2023 Subaru Ascent 3-Row SUV is scheduled to refresh. It will get a new front fascia outside (headlights, bumper, hexagon grille), unique interior upgrades with fabric changes inside, and a new exterior color.

The 2023 Ascent family hauler arrives in the second half of 2022 as a 2023 model. Reports not confirmed by Subaru of America say the Ascent could get a Wilderness trim level but would arrive after the 2023 model year.

Don't look for Consumer Reports to upgrade the reliability score on the 2023 Subaru Ascent. CR says even though Subaru will give the 2023 Ascent a refresh, the changes will only be cosmetic and won't improve reliability scores.

You Might Also Like: The Much-Criticized Subaru Ascent Makes Forbes 10 Best 3-Row SUVs List

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. Check out 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.

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Photo credit: Subaru USA, Toyota