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New Subaru Ascent Family Hauler 3 Year Report Card - Are The Problems Fixed?

Is the 2021 Subaru Ascent 3-Row SUV a quality vehicle for families? Check out its three-year report card.


It's hard to believe, but the 2021 Subaru Ascent 3-Row family hauler is entering year three. How is Ascent doing? Subaru of America )SOA) reports 2020 sales, and the Subaru Ascent finished the year with a drop in sales like all SOA's nameplates due to COVID. The Ascent had 67,623 sales in 2020 compared with 81,958 in 2019, down 17.5 percent.

In December, Subaru delivered 6,692 Ascent family haulers to customers compared with 8,280 in December 2019, down 19.1 percent. The Ascent is the number four selling nameplate in Subaru's stable behind Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek. Is the new Subaru Ascent reliable?

2021 Subaru Ascent, pricing, features, specs

Does the Subaru Ascent have reliability problems?

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 issued recalls on the 2019 Ascent for a defective PCV valve that could cause engine failure. Ascent also had a recall for driveshaft bolts that could loosen. The 3-Row SUV was also recalled because of possible missing spot welds on, or around, the B-pillar, compromising vehicle strength.

2021 Subaru Ascent, pricing, features, specs

But the big recall for the 2019 Ascent was for transmission problems. The Ascent took a hit when Consumer Reports put the family hauler on its 10 Least Reliable Cars list, and the 3-Row SUV lost their recommendation due to reliability issues.

Should SUV shoppers stay away from the 2021 Subaru Ascent?

Subaru does cover the Ascent model's issues and recalls 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 2020 Subaru Ascent models. In year three, quality improves in the 2021 Ascent all-wheel-drive 3-Row SUV.

You Might Also Like: Subaru Boss Reveals How They Fix Past Quality Issues And Improve New Models Now

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, Subaru of San Bernadino


Michael Smith (not verified)    January 9, 2021 - 9:20AM

Have a 2019 Ascent that has been back to the dealer more than a dozen times. A few minor problems have been fixed but the major ones have not. Subaru North America keeps changing the reps we deal with and each new one keeps saying take it back to the dealer and let them try again. .We think the car is a lemon but it looks like they will string us along for another few years. Can't wait to dump this piece of junk and but a KIA.

Lee Courtney (not verified)    January 9, 2021 - 11:55AM

And yet no mention of the largest, most irritating, and glaringly obvious problem with the Ascent? The battery issues from leaving the tailgate open for more than a few minutes to mystery dead battery problems. A problem which Subaru and SOA seem unable or unwilling to even acknowledge. Talk to some real users like those in Facebook groups like Subaru Ascent Dead Battery Club or other Ascent forums.

Craig K (not verified)    January 9, 2021 - 2:15PM

In reply to by Lee Courtney (not verified)

My family has a nee 2021 Ascent Touring with about 2,300 miles on it. It’s been a great solid car so far and zero issues. The battery issue has been fixed on the more recent models is what I read in a blog awhile back. Proof about a week ago taking groceries into the house the lift gate was up for a few minutes. The car shuts off all the lights in the car so as to not kill the battery if the lift gate or any door is left open for a longer period of time. I don’t know how long as I didn’t watch but it’s not that long as it was only open around 5 minutes. The rear closure button still works after the lights go off also to close to. I read that the rear gate before would not shut off lights thus causing it to drain the battery. Not the case anymore.

Elizabeth Hodges (not verified)    September 21, 2022 - 5:59PM

In reply to by Lee Courtney (not verified)

In first 10,000 miles the battery on my 2020 ascent died ten times leaving me stranded. It took six trips to dealer to finally find the problem. I oils not buy another Subaru. The dealership is great but Subaru itself has turned out to be a big disappointment

Matt (not verified)    January 9, 2021 - 12:17PM

2020 owner here.

Kind of hard to tell if this car is any good, having only put 2000 miles on it over the course of 9 months.

Rick Miller MD (not verified)    January 9, 2021 - 2:00PM

Problems began with dead battery at 6 months but had noted poor stability of hood at different speeds and wind direction - you live in fear that the hood is about to fly off; soft wear problems - noisy screach when blue tooth phone call switches back to radio- minor frustrations tailgate gets stuck half open simple fix when I took it in for service - I violated a simple rule “never buy first year of a new model”

Subaru Ascent Owner (not verified)    January 9, 2021 - 2:28PM

The battery problems are real, check out the Subaru Ascent Dead Battery Group on Facebook, leaving the tail gate open kills the battery, there’s a TSB but a lot of dealers are unwilling to fix

Sheila Walker Graham (not verified)    January 9, 2021 - 3:47PM

2020 Ascent Touring Addition. Mechanically my car is doing great. I have had to take it to the dealership several times for the sunroof not wanting to close properly. 1st dealership was an bunch of idiots who swore they replaced 45 minutes mind you. Last trip to New dealership an hour away to have sunroof well as windshield wiper cowl replaced , seat cooler fan replaced, driver window motor replaced. I have put 15000 miles on it in the past 8 months. Thankfully it is all under warranty.

Richard Dougla… (not verified)    January 10, 2021 - 3:45AM

Just took delivery of 2021 Ascent limited. It is Gorgeous. Runs like a Champion, with Comfortable Interior Seating. The Exterior Paint Job is Beautiful.
Nice Pick up and Safety Factors for Grandkids.
Sincerely, Richard D.Cameron, Miller Subaru, Lumberton, N.j

Richard Dougla… (not verified)    January 10, 2021 - 5:39AM

My New Subaru Ascent Limited rides and Acceleration is nice. It is Great and Safe in the Snow.

Alexandra Benakis (not verified)    January 10, 2021 - 10:00AM

I owned the 2019 Ascent and had every issue documented. The last issue needed 2 weeks in service and a full rebuild of the transmission. When I advised both Subaru headquarters and the dealer that I didn’t feel comfortable driving it again for my family’s safety, I was told that they were sorry, but it had passed the lemon law timeframe. Really??? They held the recall notices to well after the lemon law applied.

Regardless, I grounded my car at the dealership and returned my lease early. In case anyone isn’t aware, I still had to pay my remaining payments.

I will never buy another Subaru or a car from Paul Miller Subaru again after the way I was treated. No regard for my safety, my family’s safety, my time for every repair or my hard earned money.

Pete (not verified)    January 22, 2021 - 4:28PM

In reply to by Alexandra Benakis (not verified)

Thanks Alex,

I was thinking of the Ascent because of safety ratings but because of your and others comments, its a no go. Miller was one of the dealers I was considering as well. Glad I checked this forum.


Nicole (not verified)    March 20, 2021 - 3:34PM

In reply to by Alexandra Benakis (not verified)

Thank you Alex and everyone. I have now decided, I will NOT be changing my forester for an Ascent and I probably will not buy a subaru again. We wanted a larger vehicle, so we were going to move from the forester to ascent but with all the ascent issues and the treatment ppl have suffered from the company's faulty design, I don't want to buy from them. Guess, we are looking to go bigger outside of the Subaru family.

Hdl (not verified)    February 2, 2021 - 1:50PM

I bought used (8000) 2020 ascent in June 2020. 100% pleased.
Great pickup, good mileage, outstanding safety features, smooth ride, so far so good!

Jimmy Brewer (not verified)    March 16, 2021 - 10:53AM

For all comments about issues. Do your research, looks like a class action lawsuit is going on or about to come to light on the Accent

Sam (not verified)    March 31, 2021 - 12:59PM

I'm sorry to see so many issues that Ascent owners are having. I have 2019 Ascent touring and love it. I have clocked 44k miles on it. Battery drains out fast if you're careless.. I had to jump start it about 4 times.. by I'm satisfied customer.

Richard Cameron (not verified)    April 12, 2021 - 9:00AM

Our.New 2021 Ascent Limited is Beautiful.
It's Performance certainly Surpassed my Expectations.
My Wife loves the is Safe in Snow Conditions Wet, and at Night in a Deer Area.
Best Car we had in over 45 Years.

Chris (not verified)    April 12, 2021 - 2:09PM

Late model 2019 limited. We were not included in the recall. 15k miles, zero issues. Use the car for commute and driving in the mountains for skiing & camping. Love the car.

LORRIE Kay TOMAC (not verified)    April 20, 2021 - 5:31PM

I just bought a 2021 Ascent in March. I am a long time Subaru Owner since 2010. My only complaint is the gas mileage. My Outbacks were amazing on fuel economy I could go two weeks before having to fill up. The Ascent has a LOT of power but I am filling my tank at least twice a week and I am not used to that. Otherwise..Great comfort..many perks... smooth ride.. spacious, my three big Furballs fit in the back on trips!! LOVE IT!!

Tony Hardin (not verified)    April 21, 2021 - 1:42PM

Do not buy a Subaru Ascent. My new 2019 has been nothing but problems from date of purchase until now. Many, many, many, many mechanical issues. If you buy a Subaru Ascent you will be very unhappy and disappointed.

Polli Anne Ginnis (not verified)    April 21, 2021 - 2:31PM

Bought the 2019 brand new- have had repeated issues with driver window not rolling up- actually starts going up then down on its own! I've seen several other comments regarding this issue on other forums yet they act like its the 1st they've heard of it! Also bought the tire warranty package in 2018. In 2019 they changed the policy, had to have tires serviced 2 different times, never honored what we paid for and didn't offer a refund. **this was my 1st subaru- i will never buy another. The ascent drives beautifully in snow and ice , however, besides some of the car complaints listed above, its the dealership and Subaru company I feel betrayed by. So frustrating after gold level service from gmc and Toyota dealerships we bought from in the past. Disappointed.

stephen sklans (not verified)    May 23, 2021 - 2:29PM

I have a 2019 touring and love it. Not a single issue with the car. I will buy it after the lease expires. All recalls performed and I never had a problem requiring the recall. Great ride, acceleration, and pick-up. LOVE this car.

TAG (not verified)    June 14, 2021 - 3:11PM

We have leased 2 Impreza’s (2015 & 2018), purchased a Forrester in 2015, and a new 2021 Ascent premium with upgraded packages a few weeks ago. So far, none have been a problem in 6 years of owning SOA’s.

The Ascent has 1500 miles so far, and haven’t experienced any problems to date, although I immediately changed out the M7 battery with a Die Hard AGM due to the many battery warnings….

I’m hoping the third year of the Ascent line has ironed out most of the issues I’ve read about.

Glenn Bugge (not verified)    October 30, 2021 - 1:16PM

We have a 2020 Ascent Limited with 28,000 miles. We have had zero problems. Perhaps Subaru worked out many of the problems experienced by owners of the 2019 model year.

Carl (not verified)    August 7, 2023 - 2:20PM

In reply to by Glenn Bugge (not verified)

I had a 2019 8-seater Touring for 2 years from 2018 to 2020 and loved this car! The only minor complaint I had was with the radio which was slow and unpredictable at times. But overall, when you think about turning the volume down before getting out of the car, this car was perfect for me and my family. It was a 2 year lease because it was the first model of its kind and I wanted to test it.

I had the 2020 Touring 8-seater model in mid-2020, and it was, at first, the exact same car. The new Close&Lock button on the trunk was a great addition, but that's it. It took about six months to notice strange behaviors of the transmission. At first there was little hesitation when cruising, but over time these hesitations started to make dribbling/shaking noises. During the first service I informed the dealer about the strange behavior and they just said that the transmission problems were known, but only for the 2019 model. They seemed skeptical, but they managed to reproduce the problem during the road test. Even then, they had no choice but to tell me to wait for a possible Subaru recall. They said there were no recalls or updates for the 2020 model yet. That being said, nothing has been done to fix the problem and it has only gotten worse. After 2 years the car started making a high pitched slipping noise every time I put it on Drive, sometimes with a little jolt. The same jolt you get when you rev an automatic transmission and put it into gear before the rpm drops. I finally got a letter from Subaru for a transmission firmware update to fix a possible oil pressure issue. But since my car was already 3 years old, I didn't expect magic. The update was completely unnecessary. I picked up the car from the dealership and the noise was still there.

I didn't want to buy the 2020 model because I had heard about transmission problems while I had the 2019. That's why I decided to get a 4 year lease for the 2020. My contract is on about to end and I'm not really confident about the reliability of the CVT. It took 3 years for Subaru to give me a solution to the problem, and it was too late. And, was it really a solution? I should get a call in the next few months to upgrade to the 2023 model and I don't expect to get another one. After 5-6 years I should buy the next one and I'm not sure I want to risk my money on transmission issues. The CVT transmission technically gives great numbers, but my experience hasn't been convincing. I've already put 5 years into leases to make sure I have a long term reliable car while the 4 kids are home, but even though I've always been a Subaru fan I think I'll look for something else, maybe a used Telluride.