What’s Wrong With The Subaru Ascent? It’s The Only Model Dropping Behind
Is the 2021 Subaru Ascent a good three-row SUV? The Subaru Ascent family hauler checks all the right boxes for three-row shoppers, but why are sales of the Ascent so dismal? Subaru of America reports the 2021 Subaru Ascent sales for April, and they are up slightly over April 2020. Subaru reports 4,398 sales compared with 3,954 last year.
The surprising number is the Ascent sales year-to-date. Subaru has delivered 18,871 Ascent SUVs to customers in 2021. But last year, 19,578 models were sold through April 2020. That's 3.6 percent less than a year ago. Every other Subaru model is up from the pandemic year. But Ascent is the only model that is dropping behind.
photo credit: Competition Subaru
Why aren't more shoppers choosing the Ascent 3-Row SUV?
When the Ascent first launched in 2019, the new 3-Row SUV was a success, and customers responded. Subaru did well in picking up its loyal customers who traded in their Forester and Outback for a larger vehicle. But Subaru has failed to gain new customers from other brands.
Subaru is doing well with its niche customers who use a 3-Row SUV for more than a family and grocery hauler. Subaru Ascent comes standard with all-wheel-drive, 8.7-inches of ground clearance, and X-Mode for off-pavement excursions. The Ascent fills a niche with features no other 3-Row has to offer, so it's a surprise Subaru isn't selling more of them.
What does the Subaru Ascent need to lure away customers from the competition?
Reliability has been Ascent's most significant issue. Consumer Reports had the 2019 Ascent on its 10 Least Reliable Cars list and lost their recommendation due to reliability issues. With an all-new model, it's not unusual for vehicles to have "bugs" that need to be fixed.
The Camden, N.J. automaker seems to have corrected the transmission issues in the 2020 and 2021 Ascent models. But it could take time to convince new 3-Row SUV buyers it's a reliable vehicle.
What is the price of the 2021 Ascent?
The 2021 Subaru Ascent base starts at $33,345, and Premium trims begin at $35,845. The upper Limited starts at just over $40,000, with a starting price of $40,645. The top-trim Touring has a starting MSRP of $46,495.
The rest of 2021 will tell the story if the 2021 Subaru Ascent will recover and be a success or continue to drop behind.
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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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Photo credit: Subaru USA