2022 Subaru Ascent

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2022 Subaru Ascent Review: Climbing The Ranks Of Greatness

After debuting in 2018 as the replacement for the Tribeca, the Subaru Ascent has drawn praise and adoration as the largest Subaru vehicle ever produced. The three-row Ascent takes up residence in the midsize SUV segment against tough competition like the Toyota Highlander and Mazda CX-9, but with standard all-wheel-drive and impressive gas mileage estimates, it has the advantage of being better off-road than many of its contemporaries. Forgoing the standard V6 that many use, the Ascent draws power from a turbocharged 2.4-liter Boxer engine developing 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque, while making use of a high-torque CVT transmission. A plush ride, flexible seating, and an abundance of driver assists right from the base level are all compelling attributes, but when the best in the segment include the Kia Telluride and Hyundai Palisade, the Ascent is simply not at the same level.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 7 /10
  • Performance 7 /10
  • Fuel Economy 7 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 9 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 9 /10
  • Reliability 9 /10
  • Safety 9 /10
  • Value For Money 8 /10
8.1
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2022 Subaru Ascent Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2021 Subaru Ascent?

The only change to the 2022 Subaru Ascent is the addition of a new model based on the Premium seven-seater. It's called the Onyx Edition and besides donning a special appearance package with blacked-out exterior accents and special wheels, it also has extra equipment fitted. Subaru has also tweaked the exterior color palette for the 2022 model year. As for the rest of the Ascent lineup, nothing changes, not even pricing.

Pros and Cons

  • Wide range of seating configurations
  • Comfortable suspension
  • Impressive safety tech on every trim
  • Standard all-wheel-drive
  • Easy-to-understand infotainment
  • Poor performance, despite a turbocharged engine
  • Unrefined engine sounds strained under hard acceleration
  • Smaller third-row seats than rivals
  • Humdrum styling

Best Deals on 2022 Subaru Ascent

2022 Subaru Ascent Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Base
2.4L Turbo Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$32,795
Premium
2.4L Turbo Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$35,295
Onyx Edition
2.4L Turbo Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$38,495
Limited
2.4L Turbo Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$40,095
Touring
2.4L Turbo Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$45,945
See All 2022 Subaru Ascent Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

Without any changes made to the hardware for the new model year, all 2022 Ascent models ride the same as their 2021 counterparts, which isn't a bad thing at all. That means that the plush ride comfort we've come to know and love has been retained. It's particularly pliant over rougher surfaces, and while many rivals in this segment have become pavement crawlers that seldom see even a patch of dirt, the standard all-wheel-drive and 8.7 inches of ground clearance mean the Ascent can regularly traverse gravel without fuss. It's remarkably comfortable while doing so, too, filtering out imperfections at all speeds, even on 20-inch alloy wheels. But while the suspension isolates you from the outside world, the lack of sound deadening doesn't. Road and wind noise permeate the cabin, and the CVT results in an annoying drone that can't be escaped when the engine is placed under load.

Overall, the Ascent is composed on all surfaces, body roll is kept to a minimum, and the light-but-accurate steering is responsive to inputs but not overly sensitive. The brakes are also keen to respond and are well-measured. It lacks the playfulness of some rivals, however, and the Mazda CX-9 will always leave drivers feeling more in-tune with their SUV than the Ascent will.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2022 Subaru Ascent a good SUV?

The 2022 Subaru Ascent is a capable performer. While it might not have the best looks, or be the most dynamically pleasing, it does enough things right to make it a worthy option in the midsize crossover SUV segment. The engine is somewhat lackluster and the CVT contributes to general noise within the cabin, but it gets the job done and is decently frugal in the process. The interior is a mixed bag - there are decent quality materials, but the Ascent lacks the spacious nature of class-leading rivals, and those in the third-row seats will feel particularly hard done by. Storage also isn't spectacular. But where the Ascent is a clear class leader is in its standard consignment of safety features, where even the base trim is an IIHS TSP+ winner. Combine that with the standard all-wheel-drive, ample ground clearance, and X-Mode system to make off-road excursions a little easier, and the Ascent isn't as bad as initial appearances might imply. It's not a bad crossover in the slightest, but when the benchmark is set by the Kia Telluride and Mazda CX-9, the Ascent is always going to come up short.

2022 Subaru Ascent Comparisons

Honda Pilot Honda
Subaru Outback Subaru

2022 Subaru Ascent vs Honda Pilot

The Pilot is a popular answer to the midsize SUV puzzle and offers a solid overall package that remains highly competitive in this segment. As with many cars in this class, the Honda sticks a traditional V6 power plant and produces a healthy 280 horsepower. This is more than the Ascent, but the Subaru offers more low down torque. And yet, the Honda feels brisker in and out of traffic. Power is sent to the front or all wheels via a nine-speed automatic transmission, which feels far more usable than the CVT in the Subaru. The Pilot, as with the Ascent, doesn't look stunning. Instead, it looks mature and, well, pretty boring. On the road, the Pilot is well balanced and feels slightly more inviting to drive than the Ascent. Starting at $39,060, the Pilot is more expensive, ending at a price just over $50k. The Pilot is more generous to its third-row occupants, but suffers in the cargo bay for it. The Pilot is the better car to drive, but can't match the Ascent for off-road ability. For regular, day-to-day use, though, we would go with the Honda.

See Honda Pilot Review

2022 Subaru Ascent vs Subaru Outback

Ascent vs Outback: it's a battle between the two biggest Subaru models on sale, but the two are very different. For starters, the Outback is more of an off-road wagon, only offering two rows of seating for five occupants compared to the eight you can fit in the Ascent. The Outback doesn't get the turbocharged engine as standard, making do with a 182-hp naturally aspirated 2.5-liter that lacks punch, but also helps reduce the base price. The Outback has less cargo space (32.5 cubes minimum up to 75.7 cubes overall), but also starts at around $5,000 less than the Ascent. Both are similarly kitted when it comes to features, but the choice between the two will come down to needs. If you need seating for up to eight, only the Ascent will do, but if you can get away with seating five, the Outback has our vote, especially in turbo guise.

See Subaru Outback Review

2022 Subaru Ascent Popular Comparisons

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