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Investigation Into Subaru Ascent Transmission Problems Could Bring A New Lawsuit

A new report says the Subaru Ascent transmission problems are being investigated. Will the findings bring a new lawsuit against Subaru?

The all-new Subaru Ascent 3-Row family hauler has had problems with its automatic transmission, and a new investigation could bring a lawsuit against Subaru of America. The Ascent was all-new for the 2019 model year and made at the Subaru plant in Lafayette, Indiana. The Ascent transmission issues put the SUV on the Consumer Reports 10-Least Reliable cars list.

A report from says attorneys are investigating whether a class action lawsuit can be filed following reports of transmission problems in the Ascent family hauler. What is the problem with the Ascent transmission?

2021 Subaru Ascent, pricing, features, specs
Photo credit: Subaru of San Bernadino

Subaru Ascent owners have reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that they have had shifting problems. Drivers report feeling the vehicle hesitates, jerking or about to stall, and slipping of the continuous variable transmission (CVT) automatic gearbox.

Brian Jones, ASE certified master tech and Lemberg Law expert automotive contributor says there are several problems with the Ascent, and his investigation reveals, “Report after report talk about needing a new transmission shortly after purchasing the Ascent.”

2021 Subaru Ascent, pricing, features, specs
Photo credit: Riverside Subaru via @MarcUrbano

Did Subaru have a recall for the Ascent transmission issues?

Subaru of America recalled 76,842 2019 model year Ascent SUVs over a faulty sensor in the transmission. The hydraulic transmission sensor may inaccurately measure the hydraulic fluid pressure, and the Continually Variable Transmission (CVT) chain may slip in Ascent 3-Row vehicles.

If the chain slips, there could be irregular noise, vibration, hesitation while driving, and a malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) illumination. The NHTSA says if driving under this condition continues, the vehicle may experience a loss of power, increasing the risk of a crash.

The affected vehicles were manufactured between February 22, 2018, and May 7, 2019, and were eligible for a software update under the Subaru recall. says attorneys investigating the problem have reason to believe the update may not have fixed the cars and that those built after May 7, 2019, and left out of the recall, also “suffer from the same transmission problem.”

What should Ascent owners do?

The report says, “In light of these reports, attorneys are investigating whether a class action lawsuit can be filed. Before they can even consider filing a lawsuit, however, they need to speak with drivers to learn more about the problem.”

2019-2020 Subaru Ascent owners experiencing transmission slippage, jerking, shuddering, or other transmission issues can contact here.  

You Might Also Like: New Subaru Ascent Family Hauler 3 Year Report Card - Are The Problems Fixed?

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, Riverside Subaru via @MarcUrbano, Subaru of San Bernadino


Steve (not verified)    January 11, 2021 - 3:37PM

Hi Dennis,

Thanks for the info! I went to the site and it says 2019/2020 models. Do they think this might affect 2021 models as well? Thanks!

David (not verified)    January 12, 2021 - 11:02PM

In reply to by Steve (not verified)

I own a 2019 Crosstrek with no issues, scared about upgrading to 2021 Ascent to stay Subaru as I need a bigger vehicle or just go Toyota Highlander for peace of mind?!

kathleen Waterman (not verified)    January 19, 2024 - 10:22AM

In reply to by David (not verified)

DONT DO IT, I HAVE BEEN IN THE DEALERSHIPS EVERY YEAR WITH MAJOR REPAIRS ON MY 2019 Accent, the transmission was replaced, they had to replace a part that was causing fires to start in the car, and my air condition did not work for the first two summers, They want to replace my radio since my volume nob doesn't work. $2,500 is what they want to charge me.
THE DEALERSHIP WANTED TO PUT A REBUILT TRANSMISSION IN MY brand new accent, I have a heart condition and not having air in the summer was very troublesome, I did end up in the hospital with the problem. The service at the prestige dealership was awful. I got no compensation for all the inconvenience and stress the Accent caused me.
I had to fight them for a new transmission which I hope is a new one.
When the car just stopped and would not start I was on Rt 9 in Delaware getting ready to go over the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Scary

Richard Owen (not verified)    February 15, 2024 - 11:49AM

In reply to by Steve (not verified)

I have a 2021 Subaru Ascent. I find that during city driving, typically in the 20mph - 40 mph range, when ascending (no pun intended) some of our steeper hills, I release pressure on the accelerator and hear and see, via the tachometer, the engine revving 300 - 500 rpm. The car does not lurch forward, rather slowing normally while the engine is revving for 3 - 5 seconds.
Kind of like releasing the clutch on a manual transmission while keeping pressure on the accelerator.
Any thoughts regarding this observation in the 2021 model would be appreciated.
Richard Owen

Bill (not verified)    January 11, 2021 - 6:23PM

Is this only for 2019 and 2020 models or does it also affect 2021? The class action website just says 2019 and 2020.

Patricia Faulkner (not verified)    July 13, 2021 - 9:33AM

In reply to by Bill (not verified)

My 21 ascent is having the issue. It’s been at the dealer since Friday and they don’t expect to have it back to me for weeks. The dealer mentioned their tech is doing several transmissions right now.

Travis (not verified)    January 12, 2021 - 3:38PM

I had mine replaced but they installed incorrectly and had to redo it. Had my ascent for over three weeks. I was able to take video and post it on you tube of the issues

Scott (not verified)    January 22, 2021 - 12:58PM

In reply to by Travis (not verified)

Can you share the link of the transmission issue so I can see if I am having the same issue.
I own the 2019 Ascent and have experienced the 'shutter' intermittently. I have been in contact with the Class Action folks and need to decide if I want to be retained y the folks filing the class action suit.

Miguel (not verified)    January 12, 2021 - 6:02PM

No problems with my transmission yet but I am having problems with the brakes and rotors with less than 10,000 miles

Virginia U Tomasian (not verified)    February 19, 2021 - 10:41AM

In reply to by Miguel (not verified)

As I think about this, the Ascent is a heavy vehicle. That coupled with the type of brake pad used could contribute to the problem. Find out the type of brake pads used. How frustrating for you.

doug (not verified)    January 13, 2021 - 12:32PM

I have a car manufactured during the specified period, was recalled and purported fixed. I WAS NOT. It still stumbles, hesitates and bucks. So very disappointed I can't express it.

Patricio Reyes (not verified)    April 1, 2021 - 2:54PM

I have the same issue with my Ascent 2019 with cvt transmission problem. Almost, I got kill by a truck in the middle nowhere between NY and PA highway. My Ascent transmission was making noise and losing power uphill until die on me. I waited a month to fix the issue. Now, so far so good. My lease is about to expire. I don't know if should finance or I should go some place else like Toyota.

Lauren (not verified)    April 17, 2021 - 8:07PM

Just bought a 2019 Ascent, I didn't realize they hadn't fixed this problem. I have had my car less than a week. 47k miles. All of a sudden, screeching noises, shuddering, jerking, randomly dropping speed or increasing speed. I'm absolutely terrified to drive my car. When I put the VIN in online, it says no recalls for it (I assumed that might mean they already fixed the car I have), OBVIOUSLY NOT! I got a subaru to feel safer driving my family around, THIS IS NOT SAFE!

Bernadette Langren (not verified)    August 15, 2021 - 3:22PM

I own a 2019 Subaru Ascent. This will be the fourth time to have the same problem fixed. The AT Oil temperature light comes on. The dealer has looked at it, replaced the valve body wiring and returned it to us just to have it happen again. I am getting frustrated at Subaru! Why can't they just fix it the first time???

Faulktra (not verified)    August 18, 2021 - 5:17PM

I own a 2019 Subaru Ascent that is having the same transmission issues. Jerks forward when shifting from reverse to drive, hesitates while driving and lots of squeaking noises It’s been looked at multiple times by the service department at dealership who agrees there is a problem with the vehicle but cannot get approval from Subaru Corporate who says it’s “normal operation”. This is not acceptable.

Marty (not verified)    July 26, 2022 - 9:42PM

In reply to by Faulktra (not verified)

Faulktra I have a 2019 ascent and the issues I am having sound exactly the same. I have also received the same response from the dealer. I am curious if you ever got acceptable resolution?

Dmytro (not verified)    August 23, 2021 - 6:30PM

Transmission in my 2019 Subaru Ascent just died. Didn't have much issues with it until this moment. The only issue I had was the engine or transmission making higher pitched noise when accelerating hard from a complete stop - to this the service said they tightened something and it was gone for some time but recently came back.
For the main issue with my transmission they said they are going to replace it and need a week to do so. I've had the vehicle for just 3 years and only put 17,500 miles on it.

Kelly Waleng (not verified)    October 14, 2021 - 5:57PM

My 2019 Subaru Ascent is having major issues. It recently had to have the fuel rail sensor replaced, hatch module repaired and now my eyesight and RAB are turning off every 30 minutes. The dealership said it did not break well at one point while driving so they are replacing some breaking sensor. I am al little over 35,000 miles and am thinking of buying an extended warranty. Any suggestions on whether or not to invest in an extended warranty given the issues the 2019 Ascent is known for?

TIM KOEPP (not verified)    November 24, 2021 - 10:06PM

Just bought a 2021 Ascent in late October, and at about 2000 miles, i noticed the vehicle shutter and hesitate on numerous occasions. I took it back to the dealer in mid November at 2800 miles and they told me they need to replace the transfer case clutches. There is also trouble with the heating system, i cant use the full option so the vehicle monitors the temperature. It defaults back to auto. The tech showed me when i bought the vehicle to leave on the AC and switch to full, but it stopped working. Each time you hit the AC and full options, the fan selection goes to floor only each time. Any changes turns off the AC and full option. Havent heard from the mechanic how to repair this problem.

Jose Guido (not verified)    December 28, 2021 - 11:47AM

I own a 2019 Subaru Scent Touring, with 24,500 miles. There was a steering column recall took it to the dealership and was taken care of. One time the driver window was operating properly took it to the dealership, they lubed the mechanism no issues ever after. The front right strut went bad while driving on the highway. Took it to the dealership they replaced it . The strut was listed as a recall, I was relieved. Engine issues so far NONE. Transmission issues so far NONE.
Overall satisfaction 8 out 10.

Phillip Ellenburg (not verified)    February 11, 2022 - 9:47AM

2020 Ascent. My first and probably last subaru.
Ive experienced the same kind of shuttering and power loss. It also slips or sounds like it’s slipping at the crest of hills as you let off the gas. Doesn’t seem to know what gear to select so it just revs out. I live in the Gatlinburg,Tn area so its all hills and curves here.
Does anyone else find the tiny defrost button on the bottom of the dash just a little bit dangerous to find while your windshield is fogging up. Defrost is something you need to easily engage while driving and it is in the most inconvenient and difficult to find place on the dash. You should be able to turn it on without taking your eyes off the road.

Evan (not verified)    April 16, 2023 - 7:31AM

In reply to by Phillip Ellenburg (not verified)

I have a 21 ascent I have noticed this same problem where it revs out at the top of the hill instead of powering up the hill.
I have driven around beautiful Gatlinburg and know the hills in the area.
Did you find a solution ???

Earle D Hancock (not verified)    June 9, 2022 - 12:09PM

Hi, my new 2022 Ascent is slow to down shift from top gear causing the engine to lug. Always unpleasant often dangerous when coupled with compressor delay.

Roger L Wilson (not verified)    July 8, 2022 - 8:41PM

Just had my 2019 towed to the dealer for lost power and multiple dash lites on this is the second time within the last 6 months the first time the dealer had it for a week

Pat Myers (not verified)    July 15, 2022 - 11:53AM

Just left my 2020 Ascent at dealer for transmission problems. Dealer said repair parts will not be available for a month,then they must remove rear of transmission and measure parts then order right size parts (there are three different possibilities of sizes). They said Subaru will not send the three sized parts to speed repair time.
Car had less than 36,000mi
They provided a loaner car, but it is inferior to my vehicle setting in their lot.
I really regret purchasing this vehicle.