2021 Subaru Ascent, pricing, features, specs
Denis Flierl's picture

Consumer Reports Still Gives The New Subaru Ascent A Failing Grade

Is the 2021 Subaru Ascent a reliable 3-Row SUV for families? See why Consumer Reports still won't give Ascent a passing report card.
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Should 3-Row SUV shoppers put the 2021 Subaru Ascent on their list? Consumer Reports (by subscription) just compared the new Ascent family hauler with the Toyota Highlander and still won't give Ascent a good report card. Torque News reported in November, the Ascent made CR's 10 Least Reliable Cars List.

Last year, Consumer Reports said the Ascent 3-Row SUV initially had average reliability, but the vehicle's transmission problems, sometimes requiring a replacement, lowered its reliability score. Subaru of America did recall the 2019 Ascent for transmission issues and a defective PCV valve that could cause engine failure.

2021 Subaru Ascent, pricing, features, specs
photo credit: Competition Subaru

The 2021 Subaru Ascent gets some good marks

CR gives the 2021 Subaru Ascent high marks for having excellent visibility, a stellar ride, a roomy cabin, and a turbocharged four-cylinder that delivers impressive fuel economy along with good acceleration and passing performance. But CR says its reliability is still a concern.

CR says, "Reliability has proved to be a concern with the Ascent, based on results from our Annual Auto Surveys of CR members. The Ascent's well-below-average reliability score has significantly brought down its Overall Score as a result."

2021 Subaru Ascent, pricing, features, specs
photo credit: Competition Subaru

Should SUV shoppers stay away from the 2021 Subaru Ascent?

The Subaru Ascent was an all-new model for the 2019 model year, and as with many new cars, there are "bugs" to work out. It's a problem affecting many automakers when they launch an all-new model.

Subaru does cover the Ascent model's issues under its new car warranty (basic coverage is three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first). The powertrain coverage for its cars is five years or 60,000 miles.

Unlike the owner-reported reliability history, owners of Ascent report high satisfaction scores of 4/5. And the 3-Row SUV does well in Consumer Reports Road Tests with a 93/100 score. CR gives the new 2021 models a predicted owner satisfaction score of 4/5.

The 2019 Subaru Ascent had more problems than any other model in the automaker's lineup, but there have been no significant issues with the 2021 Subaru Ascent models. It appears the automaker has corrected the transmission and most other issues in the 2021 Ascent 3-Row SUV.

SUV shoppers may want to wait for the 2022 Subaru Ascent. The 2022 Ascent is in the fourth year of its life cycle, and Subaru will give the family hauler significant upgrades. Subaru will announce the new 2022 Ascent soon. Torque News will bring the recent model changes as soon as they are announced.

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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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