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Subaru Ascent Fails To Make Best 3-Row SUV List - Should You Avoid It?

The updated list of best 3-Row SUVs from Consumer Reports does not include the 2022 Subaru Ascent. Should new car shoppers avoid it?


What 3-Row midsize SUVs are the best for families? According to an updated list from Consumer Reports (by subscription), the 2022 Chevrolet Traverse is your best pick. They also include the Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride, and Toyota Highlander as other good choices. What about the 2022 Subaru Ascent?

In addition to third-row seating, all recommended models scored well in Consumer Reports road tests, reliability, critical active safety features, and performed well in crash tests

2022 Subaru Ascent pricing, features, safety, fuel mileage
photo credit: Competition Subaru

How does the Ascent score?

Consumer Reports currently ranks the Ascent number eleven of fourteen midsize 3-Row SUVs. In road tests, the Ascent gets a 93/100, predicted reliability of 1/5, EyeSight safety technology is standard on all trim levels, and receives the highest Top Safety Pick+ award from the IIHS. 
Is the Subaru Ascent reliable?

It's been well documented, and we have covered Ascent's bad marks from Consumer Reports for its reliability issues for the 2019 and 2020 model years. CR says the 2021 models' reliability is improving and doesn't show ratings for the 2022 models.

2022 Subaru Ascent pricing, features, safety, fuel mileage
photo credit: Schumacher Subaru

Have the problems in the 2022 Subaru Ascent been fixed?

The NHTSA shows no recalls, zero complaints, and no manufacturing communications for the 2022 model year Ascent. The 2022 Ascent 3-Row SUV arrived in the fall of 2021, and Consumer Reports says predicted owner satisfaction is 3/5, with 64 percent of owners saying they would "buy the vehicle again."

Our take

The 2019 Subaru Ascent had more problems than any other model in the automaker's lineup, but there have been no significant issues reported for the 2022 Subaru Ascent models. The automaker has corrected the transmission and most other matters in 2021 and 2022 Ascent 3-Row SUVs.

What sets the Ascent apart from other 3-Row SUVs? The family hauler has four advantages over other 3-Row midsize SUVs.

The Ascent family hauler has a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with as much power (260 horsepower) as the 3-Row competitor's V6 powerplants. 

What is the fuel mileage of the 2022 Ascent?

Fuel mileage is important to new 3-Row SUV shoppers with gas prices rising. The 2022 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.

2. The 2022 Ascent also has a superior safety rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS gives the 2021 Ascent a Top Safety Pick Plus award, better than the 2020 models because of its improved headlights.

3. An overlooked advantage the Ascent has over other SUVs is its ground clearance (8.7-inches). It's best-in-class among 3-Row SUVs.

4. All trims come standard with all-wheel-drive and add X-Mode for improved all-weather performance in mud, snow, and severe conditions.

What is the price of the 2022 Ascent?

The 2022 Subaru Ascent base starts at $33,420, and Premium trims begin at $35,920. The new Ascent Onyx Edition starts at $39,120. The upper Limited starts at $40,720, and the top-trim Touring has a starting MSRP of $46,570. Pricing includes destination fees.

The Ascent scored the best 3-Row SUV by Motor Trend

Recently, Motor Trend awarded the Subaru Ascent number overall in the 3-Row SUV category with a score of 9/10. M/T says they rated the Ascent using the same factors owners do, including how they drive, interior space, fuel efficiency, technology, design innovation, value, and safety. 

M/T says, "Subaru's three-row impresses with its torquey turbocharged engine, smooth ride quality, and ample standard safety tech. Good fuel economy and strong safety ratings only sweeten the deal."

The bottom line

The Consumer Reports overall score of 60 for the 2022 Subaru Ascent reflects issues with the 3-Row family hauler in the first two years of production. The Ascent scores high in all other areas except for "predicted" reliability and is not an accurate indicator of its actual reliability.

You Might Also Like: The 2022 Subaru Ascent and Forester Are The Only SUVs To Earn Best IIHS Seatbelt Rating

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