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Subaru Ascent Makes Consumer Reports 10 Least Reliable Cars List Again

Is the 2022 Subaru Ascent reliable? Ascent just made the Consumer Reports ten least reliable cars list again. Are there still problems with the 3-Row family hauler?


Torque News reported that in 2020, the Ascent 3-ROW SUV made the Consumer Reports 10 Least Reliable Cars list (by subscription) and lost their recommendation due to reliability issues. The most recent Consumer Reports review now says the 2022 Ascent 3-Row SUV is at the bottom of the least reliable new cars list at number ten.

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.

2022 Subaru Ascent pricing, features, reliability, safety

Consumer Reports ranking is questionable because they show 2019-2020 were the years with reliability issues and show an improvement for 2021 models.

Ascent issues for 2019-2020
The Ascent had average reliability, and transmission problems, sometimes requiring a replacement, lowered its reliability score in the 2019-2020 models.

2022 Subaru Ascent pricing, features, reliability, safety

Here is everything we know about the Ascent family hauler. Subaru has had recalls on the 2019 Ascent for transmission issues and a defective PCV valve that could cause engine failure. Subaru also issued a recall for Ascent's 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. The recalled models could not be fixed and were destroyed. A Subaru spokesperson said they only sold nine Ascents to customers with this problem. The rest were still sitting on dealers' lots or in transit when the Japanese automaker discovered the issue.

The Subaru Ascent is also one of the models under investigation for a defective fuel pump, a Denso supplier issue that affects other automakers. Subaru recalled 2019 Ascent models to replace the faulty fuel pumps.

According to the Car Complaints website, the 2019 Ascent's three main problems are that the open tailgate drains the battery (average mileage 2,650 miles), and the windshield cracks easily (average mileage 1,500 miles), and the SUV fails to start (average mileage 15,650 miles). Consumer Reports says the 3-Row SUV also had two separate service campaigns for the suspension and climate system issues. All problems reported are for the 2019 model year, as are the recalls.

Does Subaru Ascent have reliability problems?

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

Should SUV shoppers stay away from the 2022 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 is 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 2022 Ascent report satisfaction scores of 3/5. Moreover, the 3-Row SUV does well in Consumer Reports Road Tests with a 93/100 score. Sixty-four percent of Ascent owners say they would buy the same vehicle again.

The 2019 Subaru Ascent had more problems than any other model in the automaker's lineup. In 2022, the automaker 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 models, and zero recalls.

What’s next for the 2023 Ascent?

The 2023 Subaru Ascent 3-Row SUV is scheduled to refresh and arrives in the second half of 2022 as a 2023 model. The family hauler will get a new front fascia outside (headlights, bumper, hexagon grille), unique interior upgrades with fabric changes inside, and a new exterior color. Reports not confirmed by Subaru say the Ascent could get a Wilderness trim level but would arrive after the 2023 model year.

You Might Also Like: New Subaru Reliability - Recalls This Year And What It Means For Customers

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


Duncan McKie (not verified)    May 28, 2022 - 10:44AM

I have had mine for over a year and zero problems. Since the tech is similar through the line, I don't understand why this model is flagged. Sometimes I think folks just get on the bandwagon. Anyway after 5 Subarus I'm not concerned.

Rj (not verified)    May 28, 2022 - 11:30AM

If anything Consumers Reports under reports problem areas, primarily because their demographic buys new and trades before am avalanche of the same issue crops up.

HG (not verified)    May 29, 2022 - 8:39AM

This article is dismissive of 2019 Ascents as if they didn't exist. What about the people who own 2019 Ascents? Sorry, you are out of luck because you bought the new model with "bugs". Subaru should step up and extend the warranty on their "buggy" vehicles. Bumper to Bumper 5 years/60,000 miles, Powertrain 10 years/100,000 miles. Instill confidence, rather than blaming a dragging model.

JM (not verified)    May 30, 2022 - 12:29PM

I have owned 2 Ascents since its release in 2018. Well I'm not sure who the consumer sample set they are interviewing from, but the experience for me as well as other ascent owners seem to be very positive. I test drove a lot of cars before deciding on the Ascent like Highlander, Atlas, Outlander and few others. For our family of 4, the ascent was a clear winner. The quality of interiors, features, safety features, drive quality, handling - there is not one area where I have concerns. Mind you, I'm talking after 4+ years of ownership. My first ascent choked once while starting and that was because I had left it in the garage for a long time during the pandemic. Otherwise there is not a single incident of the vehicle giving up.

Not many are aware that the Subaru Ascent has an auto pilot mode and I use it all the time. It will be a bit scary and intimidating at the beginning but once you get used to it, it works like a charm. It's not touted by the company much and many are ignorant of it. On a highway if you fire up both the adaptive cruise control and the lane assist, the ascent would drive by itself (it's so lovely to watch the car turn the wheel automatically). It's not recommended to keep your hands off the steering wheel at any point of time and the ascent will warn you if your hands are off the wheel for more than 15 secs. I would just keep my hands on the wheel while the car just chauffers me around. (Please be responsible and attentive. You should be in control all the time even in auto pilot)

My only pet peeve is that Subaru decided not to have a 360deg Cam for a vehicle of this size. I find that to be useful while parking and backing up. Not sure why they did not go for it. My wife's pet peeve is that it's trunk does not have the open by foot sensor which she feels is very convenient and essential for family SUVs. But hey, I can definitely lives without these nice-to-haves.

Overall, 2 Subaru Ascents, for more than 4+ years. Completely satisfied with it and also planning to trade one of them for the Solterra whenever it arrives. I'm proud to say that we are one of those happy Subaru family customers.

Ray Jensen (not verified)    May 31, 2022 - 9:05AM

This Consumer Reports "review" is not only unfair and's just plain BS. Granted...the 2019 and 2020 models were inexcusably bad. Subaru should be ashamed and embarrassed putting g out junk like those cars in the highly competitive Asian and South Korean marketplace. However...Subaru has seriously stepped up...and now is building a real flagship "big" Subaru. I bought one...and I was in the car business for 35 years...with some of that time running a Subaru store and owning Subarus of our own. We now have 17,000 miles on our 2021 Ascent Limited...and I am very happy to report that it is the best car rhat we have ever owned...AND one of the most reliable! No issues. It's a great car. Not by choice...1 week after we took delivery...we had to drive 1,600 hot summer highway miles in fairly grueling weather . The car was "bulletproof". And it was that way all the way home too....and ever since. I have to really question this "review". I'm frankly disappointed in CR for not giving this wonderful, safe car a 2nd chance. It's a great car now.

Frankie (not verified)    December 1, 2022 - 9:21PM

I'm so happy to see many users defended Subaru Ascent. I just bought a pre-owned 2020 Touring. One day experience is great.

Sherry (not verified)    February 4, 2023 - 4:35PM

We just purchased. a 2019 Ascent and are upset to find such bad reviews in relation to the auto. It currents has a recall on it in regard to some bolt. The dealership from which we purchased the vehicle told us that Subaru would contact us about the recall but we haven’t heard anything about the recall. The dealership assured us of the dependability of the Subaru. We bought an extended warranty on the vehicle. After reading the report on the vehicle it’s probably a good thing although it was quite expensive. I feel sick.

Mark Warburton (not verified)    March 7, 2023 - 5:06PM

I purchased a new Ascent Limited in November of 2022. I have been very pleased with the car. I have had no issues with vehicle and feel the CR review isn't fair to Subaru. Glad I didn't see it before buying. We test drove Toyota Highlander and a Honda Pilot but chose the Subaru.

Mark Thiele (not verified)    March 8, 2023 - 3:00PM

We've had a 2020 Ascent for almost 3 years now. Just now finally brought the car in to the dealer to get 3 recalls done and a couple minor issues looked at. TSB on the front brakes vibrating updated the pads to a new chamfered design the assembly line switched to. We love the car, and hate that Subaru chose to move around 20 dedicated buttons to the touchscreen only in the 2023 ascent onyx loner we were given.

James (not verified)    March 26, 2023 - 5:18PM

We have a 2019 Ascent and it has never missed a beat.
Okay, a few recalls but that isn't particularly unusual for a new model with a few kinks, especially us early adopters.
It may not be the sexiest or most advanced SUV compared to the competition but it is a fantastic and reliable family vehicle.
Hard wearing and performs whatever the weather.
Our first Subaru but it won't be our last :)

James (not verified)    March 26, 2023 - 5:20PM

We have a 2019 Ascent and it has never missed a beat.
Okay, a few recalls but that isn't particularly unusual for a new model with a few kinks, especially us early adopters.
It may not be the sexiest or most advanced SUV compared to the competition but it is a fantastic and reliable family vehicle.
Hard wearing and performs whatever the weather.
Our first Subaru but it won't be our last :)