Subaru Ascent Years To Avoid and The Best Years

Subaru Ascent Years To Avoid – When it comes to dependable and family-friendly vehicles, Subaru has earned its reputation as a trusted brand among mainstream consumers. Renowned for crowd-pleasers like the Outback and Forester, Subaru has captured the hearts of many with promises of hassle-free ownership.

However, before you rush to add the relatively new Subaru Ascent to your driveway, there are some crucial points you need to consider.

In this article, we will explore the Subaru Ascent and shed light on its strengths and weaknesses.

Although on the surface, this three-row SUV may seem like a perfect fit for families, it’s essential to delve deeper into its history since the 2019 model year.

Subaru Ascent Years To Avoid

Despite being produced by a brand synonymous with reliability, Ascent has encountered challenges in the highly competitive automotive market.

If you’re in the market for a used Ascent, it’s crucial to be aware of the specific Subaru Ascent years to avoid.

Within this guide, we’ll provide valuable insights to help you make an informed decision.

Additionally, we’ll also present the best Ascent model you can consider, ensuring that you drive away with confidence in your choice.

Let’s embark on this journey to explore the Subaru Ascent’s ups and downs, revealing the critical information you need to make the right choice for your family’s automotive needs.

Subaru Ascent Years To Avoid

Subaru Ascent has undoubtedly garnered attention since its debut.

However, like any vehicle lineup, there are certain model years that may present reliability issues and a less compelling value proposition.

Subaru Ascent Years To Avoid

We will explore the specific Subaru Ascent years to avoid and shed light on the critical problems faced by the 2019 and 2020 models.

2019 Subaru Ascent: The Inaugural Year Struggles

The 2019 Subaru Ascent, being the first model year for this SUV, experienced its fair share of reliability woes, as is often the case with newly introduced vehicles. reports that the 2019 Ascent accumulated a staggering 398 NHTSA complaints and faced six recalls, making it the most problematic year for Ascent.
1. Open Tailgate Drains Battery

One of the most severe reliability issues encountered in the 2019 Ascent is a vexing glitch that drains the battery when the tailgate is left open.

Several owners reported that the cargo light fails to turn off when the tailgate remains open, leading to a complete battery drain.

This issue left some owners stranded with a dead battery and even necessitated the replacement of two batteries within just two months.

2. Windshield Easily Cracked

Another significant concern that prospective buyers should be aware of in the 2019 Ascent is the susceptibility of its windshield to cracks, chips, and breakage.

Shockingly, the windshields developed cracks spontaneously, even under normal driving conditions, such as parking or idling.

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The widespread nature of this issue prompted a class-action lawsuit against Subaru, accusing the manufacturer of neglecting to acknowledge the problem and pushing the burden of repair expenses onto the customers.

2020 Subaru Ascent: Addressing Past Issues, Yet Lingering Challenges

Following the problems faced in the debut year, Subaru made efforts to rectify the issues for the 2020 Ascent, resulting in improved reliability compared to its predecessor.

However, some familiar woes persisted, making it another model year to approach with caution.

1. Windshield Easily Cracked

Unfortunately, the 2020 Ascent was not entirely immune to the defective windshield issue, which continued to plague some owners.

Similar to the 2019 model, the windshields in the 2020 Ascent developed spontaneous cracks, leading to expensive repair bills and causing significant inconvenience for owners.

2. Premature Battery Drain

Another recurring problem witnessed in the 2020 Ascent was a premature battery drain.

Some owners reported that their SUV’s battery died unexpectedly within the first week of ownership, even after battery replacements.

This widespread issue prompted a class-action lawsuit against Subaru, alleging that the company knowingly installed batteries with insufficient capacity to power the vehicle’s electrical components when it is turned off.

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By making a well-informed choice, you can confidently enjoy all the benefits that a Subaru Ascent has to offer without being plagued by unexpected issues.

Best Year for Subaru Ascent

Choosing the right Subaru Ascent that combines reliability, safety, and modern features can be a daunting task, given the varying performance of different model years.

Best Year for Subaru Ascent

However, fear not! In this, we will explore the best years for Subaru Ascent, shedding light on their key features, performance, and consumer ratings.

Whether you’re looking for a spacious family hauler or a reliable SUV for your adventures, we’ve got you covered.

2021 Subaru Ascent: The Epitome of Reliability

For those seeking a top-notch three-row SUV with outstanding reliability, the 2021 Subaru Ascent stands tall among the rest. According to J.D. Power, this model year boasts a Quality & Reliability rating of 80/100 and a Consumer Rating of 82/100, making it a highly favorable choice.

With only 34 complaints and zero recalls as of the time of writing, the 2021 Ascent offers a remarkable track record in terms of reliability.

Equipped with a turbocharged 2.4-liter flat-4 engine, generating 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque, the 2021 Ascent delivers peppy performance to handle various driving scenarios.

The standard all-wheel drive (AWD) ensures excellent traction and stability on different road surfaces, adding to its appeal.

Safety is a top priority for Subaru, and the 2021 Ascent does not disappoint.

With standard safety features such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and adaptive headlights, this model year has earned the prestigious IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award and a 5-star rating from the NHTSA.

Notably, Subaru has addressed major reliability issues that plagued previous models, ensuring you won’t have to worry about tailgate battery drains or spontaneous windshield cracks.

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With its spacious interior, advanced infotainment system, and impressive towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds, the 2021 Ascent strikes an ideal balance between affordability and reliability.

2023 Subaru Ascent: Modern Tech and Improved Reliability

Best Year for Subaru Ascent

Part of the first generation introduced in 2019, the 2023 Subaru Ascent showcases the latest tech and significantly fewer teething issues than earlier predecessors.

It secured the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, affirming its commitment to safety.

Enhancements for the 2023 model year include refreshed front and rear styling, a larger touchscreen display, and seamless integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

With a generous 8.7-inch ground clearance and AWD as standard, the 2023 Ascent ensures a smooth driving experience on various terrains.

Shoppers can choose from six trim levels, ranging from the Base to the luxurious Touring, catering to diverse preferences and budgets.

With a starting price of approximately $33,895 and going up to $49,500, the 2023 Ascent offers a range of options to suit various needs.

Powered by a reliable 2.4-liter turbocharged engine paired with a CVT transmission, this model year achieves an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 20 MPG in the city, 26 MPG on the highway, and 22 MPG in combined driving.

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2022 Subaru Ascent: A Trustworthy Option with Minimal Complaints

Best Year for Subaru Ascent

The 2022 Subaru Ascent presents yet another solid choice for prospective buyers, boasting a stellar record with minimal complaints on the NHTSA website and excellent consumer reviews.

With its impressive array of driving aids, user-friendly infotainment system, and ample ground clearance, the 2022 Ascent has gained popularity among SUV enthusiasts.

New to the 2022 model year is the Onyx Edition trim, featuring a sleek blacked-out exterior design for those seeking a unique style.

With five available trim levels, including the Base, Premium, Onyx Edition, Limited, and Touring, buyers can select the one that best aligns with their preferences and requirements.

Under the hood, the 2022 Ascent is powered by a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder turbo engine, producing 260 horsepower, and offers a comparable fuel economy to its siblings.

Expect up to 21 MPG in the city, 27 MPG on the highway, and 23 MPG in combined driving, making it efficient for both city commuting and long journeys.

Consumer feedback highlights the model’s exceptional appearance, comfort, interior quality, safety features, and overall driving experience, further cementing its status as a reliable and well-rounded choice.

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Subaru Ascent Problems

The Subaru Ascent has garnered attention as a family-friendly SUV with its spacious interior, standard all-wheel drive, and advanced safety features.

However, like any vehicle, it’s essential to be aware of potential problems that may arise during ownership.

Subaru Ascent Problems

In this section, we will delve into common Subaru Ascent problems reported by owners and provide insights on potential solutions.

By understanding these issues, you can make informed decisions and ensure a smooth driving experience with your Subaru Ascent.

1. Transmission Issues

One of the most common problems reported by Subaru Ascent owners revolves around the transmission system. Some drivers have experienced jerking or shuddering sensations when accelerating or decelerating.

In severe cases, there have been reports of the transmission slipping, leading to potential safety hazards.

Solution: If you encounter transmission issues, it’s crucial to visit an authorized Subaru service center promptly. Technicians can diagnose the problem and perform necessary repairs or adjustments to the transmission system.

Regular maintenance, including fluid changes, can also help prevent or mitigate transmission-related problems.

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2. Windshield Cracks

Another recurrent problem among Subaru Ascent owners is the susceptibility of windshields to cracks and chips.

Some drivers have noticed cracks spontaneously appearing on their windshields, even under normal driving conditions.

Solution: If you notice any windshield damage, address it immediately by seeking professional repair services. Small chips can often be repaired without replacing the entire windshield.

Additionally, park your Subaru Ascent in a sheltered area when possible to minimize exposure to potential hazards.

3. Electrical Glitches

Several owners have reported electrical issues in their Subaru Ascent, such as malfunctioning infotainment systems, non-responsive touchscreens, or warning lights illuminating unexpectedly.

Solution: Electrical problems can be challenging to diagnose and resolve on your own. It’s best to take your Subaru Ascent to an authorized dealership or a certified mechanic with expertise in Subaru vehicles.

They have access to specialized diagnostic tools and software to identify and rectify electrical glitches accurately.

4. Open the Tailgate Battery Drain

In the earlier model years of the Subaru Ascent, some owners faced a concerning issue where leaving the tailgate open for an extended period led to rapid battery drain.

Solution: If you own an affected model, try to avoid keeping the tailgate open for extended periods when the engine is off.

If you encounter battery-related problems, consider investing in a high-quality replacement battery to ensure reliable performance.

Regular maintenance, such as battery checks during routine services, can help prevent unexpected battery drain.

Read Also: Why Are Subarus So Safe?

5. Air Conditioning and Heating Problems

A handful of owners have reported issues with the air conditioning and heating systems in their Subaru Ascent, such as inconsistent cooling or heating performance.

Solution: If you experience problems with the HVAC system, schedule an appointment with a Subaru service center to have the system checked and serviced.

Regular maintenance, including checking and replacing filters, can improve HVAC system performance and overall comfort.

6. Dashboard Rattling

Some owners have mentioned dashboard rattling noises, particularly when driving over rough roads or uneven surfaces.

Solution: Dashboard rattling can be due to loose components or faulty fittings. It’s best to have an authorized Subaru technician inspect and address the issue to ensure a noise-free driving experience.

Read Also: Why Are Subarus So Popular?

How long should a Subaru Ascent last?

The Subaru Ascent is built to be a durable and long-lasting vehicle, with an average lifespan of around 200,000 to 250,000 miles. With a yearly average of 15,000 miles, this translates to approximately 13 to 17 years of reliable service.

Interestingly, the Kia Telluride, a competitor of the Ascent, also boasts a similar average lifespan of 200,000 miles.

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What problems does a Subaru Ascent have?

While the Subaru Ascent is generally a reliable SUV, it is not without its share of reported issues. Most commonly, power equipment problems have been encountered by owners.

These issues encompass various components, including warning lights, alarm systems, body control modules, tire pressure monitors, gauges, exterior and interior lights, wiper motors, horns, and more.

Although some of these problems might be minor inconveniences, others, such as security system malfunctions or horn failures, can be more serious and may warrant immediate attention.

What did the Subaru Ascent replace?

The Subaru Ascent made its debut in 2019, serving as a replacement for the company’s previous Tribeca SUV, which had been discontinued in 2014. The Tribeca had a short-lived production run, and Subaru sought to fill the gap in its lineup with a new three-row SUV, leading to the creation of the Ascent.

Utilizing the Subaru Global Architecture platform, the Ascent shares its underpinnings with most of the other Subaru models, except for the BRZ coupe and the Solterra electric SUV.


The Subaru Ascent has undoubtedly emerged as a formidable contender in the three-row SUV market, boasting a reputation for durability and reliability. With an estimated lifespan of 200,000 to 250,000 miles, this family-friendly vehicle promises many years of dependable service for its owners.

Power equipment problems, including issues with warning lights, alarm systems, and other components, have been among the common concerns.

Nevertheless, Subaru has made significant efforts to address and improve these issues over time, evident in the refined 2021 model year that exhibits excellent reliability and safety scores.

While the 2019 and 2020 models faced some challenges, the 2021 Ascent stands out as a top-notch choice with improved reliability and a wealth of features that make it a compelling option for families.

The Subaru Ascent has proven to be a durable and trustworthy vehicle with the potential to provide many years of enjoyable driving. With proper maintenance and timely repairs, any potential problems can be minimized or resolved.

If considering a used Ascent, it’s best to opt for the 2021 model year for its enhanced reliability and overall performance.

Remember, staying informed about common issues and conducting thorough research will help you make a well-informed decision when choosing your Subaru Ascent. By doing so, you can enjoy all the benefits this SUV has to offer without worrying about unforeseen troubles down the road.