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Why Subaru Ascent Needs A New Sport Trim To Be The Most Reliable Family Hauler

The 2021 Subaru Ascent comes with new upgrades, but it's missing one trim level. See why a Sport trim would make the family hauler the most reliable all-wheel-drive SUV.


Is the Subaru Ascent reliable? The 2021 Subaru Ascent is more reliable with new steering responsive headlights now standard across all trims. It's a significant enhancement with top safety scores and helps customers see better around dark corners. The Ascent family hauler comes in four trim levels, but the 3-Row SUV needs a new Sport trim to be the best and more reliable for customers with active lifestyles.

The Subaru Forester Sport compact SUV comes with it, The Outback Onyx Edition XT wagon has it, and the 2021 Crosstrek Sport and Limited subcompact SUV now offer it. It's called Dual-Function X-Mode, and it provides added off-pavement capabilities and, more importantly, improved all-weather performance.

2021 Subaru Ascent, pricing, features, specs

Is the 2021 Subaru Ascent a capable all-wheel-drive SUV?

The 2021 Subaru Ascent 3-Row family hauler is more than competent, and all trims come standard with all-wheel-drive. They also get a feature called X-Mode. The added X-Mode offers excellent all-weather and trail driving capabilities beyond what most SUVs offer.

With the X-Mode system activated, the vehicle is better able to capitalize on the traction available and provides sure-footedness over and above what is afforded by Subaru's symmetrical full-time all-wheel-drive. You can read a brief explanation of how the X-Mode system works and how to get the most from everyday use here.

2021 Subaru Ascent, pricing, features, specs

Why does the Ascent need a Sport trim with dual-function X-Mode?

The new for 2019 Dual-Function X-Mode in some Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek trims have a knob on the console, allowing the driver to switch from Snow and Dirt mode to Deep Snow and Deep Mud Mode. This mode enables the SUVs to maintain momentum when driven in more extreme deep snow and mud situations.

Not everyone who owns a Subaru Ascent will go off-road or uses it for extreme off-pavement adventures. For those who live in cold weather climates where snowfall is a regular occurrence, dual-function X-Mode will enable the SUV to get through the deep white stuff and mud while traveling to a ski area and going over a high mountain pass this winter.

Like Forester, Crosstrek, and Outback, Subaru could offer a new Ascent Sport trim for customers with active lifestyles that could use the extra traction. The Subaru Ascent will get a refresh for the 2022 model year. Will the Ascent family hauler be upgraded with dual-function X-Mode? Stay tuned.

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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 and the founder of 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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