2021 Subaru Ascent features, specs, recalls
Denis Flierl's picture

Why Subaru Ascent Just Made The 10 Least Reliable Cars List And What You Should Know

Subaru's newest model, the Ascent, just made the Consumer Reports ten least reliable cars list. Here are the problems with the 3-Row family hauler.

Torque News reported last week, Subaru's newest SUV, the Ascent, makes the Consumer Reports 10 Least Reliable Cars list and lost their recommendation due to reliability issues. CR says the Ascent 3-Row SUV initially had average reliability, but recent transmission problems, sometimes requiring a replacement, have lowered its reliability score.

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.

2021 Subaru Ascent features, specs, recalls

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.

2021 Subaru Ascent features, specs, recalls

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), 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 have reliability problems?

The Subaru brand makes reliable cars, according to the new study from Consumer Reports. Out of twenty-six automakers in the U.S. market, Subaru scores number eight overall, dropping from number seven previously. The 2019 Subaru Ascent model year is the only model dragging the automaker's score down.

Should SUV shoppers stay away from the 2021 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's 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 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. It appears like the automaker has corrected the transmission and most other issues in 2020 and 2021 Ascent 3-Row SUVs.

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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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Our 2019 Subaru Outback has the tailgate/battery issue. Twice we left the tailgate open for an extended period of time and drained the battery. NO OTHER LIGHT WERE ON AND NO OTHER DOORS WERE OPEN. We checked thoroughly each time. Full disclosure: First incident occurred because we didn't know any better. Second one, we got distracted and forgot we had it open.