2022 Subaru Ascent

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.

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

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
$32,295
Premium
2.4L Turbo Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$34,795
Onyx Edition
2.4L Turbo Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$37,995
Limited
2.4L Turbo Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$39,595
Touring
2.4L Turbo Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
$45,445

2022 Subaru Ascent SUV Exterior

Midsize SUVs have it rough; even a good looking crossover will be considered mediocre when placed alongside the Hyundai Palisade or Kia Telluride, which is exactly what happens when the Ascent is placed alongside its peers. In such company, the Ascent SUV is starting to age. Still, it looks fairly handsome, with 18-inch wheels on base and Premium trims, while on the Onyx, Limited and Touring, 20-inch alloys become standard. These three models also add LED fog lights. All Ascent trims are equipped with steering-responsive LED headlights and raised roof rails. The differentiation between trims is minor, with base derivatives featuring black mirror caps, mid-range models featuring body-colored items, and the Touring getting satin chrome items as well as chrome door handles, and a power tilt/slide glass moonroof. The notable exception is the new Onyx Edition, on which Crystal Black Silica exterior mirrors are used, in addition to blacked-out exterior accents and black 20-inch alloy wheels. It also gets a panoramic moonroof as standard.

2022 Subaru Ascent Front Angle View Subaru
2022 Subaru Ascent Front Angle View 1 Subaru
2022 Subaru Ascent Front View Driving Subaru
See All 2022 Subaru Ascent Exterior Photos

2022 Subaru Ascent Dimensions

The 2021 Subaru Ascent is classified as a midsize crossover SUV and measures up in size closely with the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander. The 3-row Subaru Ascent has a total length of 196.8 inches, a width of 76 inches, and a height of 71.6 inches. The SUV's body is spread over a 113.8-inch wheelbase, and all trim levels have a ground clearance of 8.7 inches, making this car eligible for some off-road action. Curb weights range from 4,430 pounds for the base model to 4,603 lbs for the Touring.

  • Length 196.8 in
  • Wheelbase 113.8 in
  • Height 71.6 in
  • Max Width 76.0 in
  • Front Width 64.4 in
  • Rear Width 64.2 in
  • Curb Weight 4,430.0 lbs

2022 Subaru Ascent Exterior Colors

While it's not the best looking in its class: the Ascent wears several striking shades of paint that bring out its better lines and angles with eight available colors. The base model is offered in only four hues: Crystal Black Silica, Ice Silver Metallic, Magnetite Gray Metallic, and Crystal White Pearl. But stepping up to the Premium avails the full range of color options, adding Brilliant Bronze Metallic, Crimson Red Pearl, and Abyss Blue Pearl to the palette, as well as Autumn Green Metallic, a new hue for the 2022 model year that replaces last year's Cinnamon Brown Pearl.

  • Autumn Green Metallic
  • Abyss Blue Pearl
  • Crimson Red Pearl
  • Ice Silver Metallic
  • Magnetite Gray Metallic
  • Crystal White Pearl
  • Brilliant Bronze Metallic
  • Crystal Black Silica

2022 Subaru Ascent Performance

The 2022 Subaru Ascent SUV was never intended to compete with modern high-performance SUVs. Instead, it plays the role of the humble worker, albeit one that embraces turbocharging instead of the old-school mentality of displacement über alles. All trim levels come fitted with a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, not a large V6 like many rivals. Despite being down on size, the specs are decent though with 260 hp on tap and a broad window of 2,400 revs where peak torque is available. Subaru makes no 0-60 mph claims, which is fair when considering these are family SUVs, but with turbo torque and standard all-wheel-drive - something most rivals make optional - the Ascent is capable of decent acceleration on just about any surface. However, it isn't quick, and rivals like the Mazda CX-9 leave it for dead in the traffic light GP. The Ascent's towing capacity is limited to 2,000 lbs in the base model, climbing to 5,000 lbs for the rest of the range.

2022 Subaru Ascent Front View Driving 1 Subaru
2022 Subaru Ascent Rear View Driving Subaru
2022 Subaru Ascent Engine Subaru

Subaru Ascent Engine and Transmission

Mention the word 'turbo' in the same sentence as 'Subaru' and the brain immediately conjures images of Colin McRae blasting through forests in his Impreza WRX to the sound of turbos spooling, crowds cheering, and champagne bottles popping, but in the 2022 Ascent SUV, turbocharging means none of that. Instead, it's about controlling emissions and gas mileage. All models are equipped with a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder, which in typical Subaru tradition, is oriented in a flat-four configuration. It produces 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque and sends power to all four wheels via a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

That means that it is slightly down on power when compared to the 280-hp Honda Pilot and 295-hp Toyota Highlander, but it offers more torque lower down in the rev range. Around town and at low speeds, the Ascent can feel jerky, and its throttle responses seem erratic. However, despite the torque on offer, there isn't much performance here. Hard acceleration yields plenty of noise from the CVT, but the speed doesn't increase with quite the same levels of vim and vigor. Things settle on the highway, but it's never truly pleasant, and overtaking requires some forethought. There are better powertrain configurations in the USA, both with and without turbochargers.

  • Engine
    2.4L Turbo Flat 4 Gas
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain
    AWD

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.

2022 Subaru Ascent Fuel Economy

The 2021 Ascent doesn't offer astounding gas mileage but falls in line with what the rest of the class has to offer. Base and Premium models ride on 18-inch wheels, which afford them the best mileage estimates of 21/27/23 miles per gallon city/highway/combined. Onyx Edition, Limited, and Touring derivatives roll on 20-inch alloys that drop the mileage estimates to 20/26/22 mpg. But where rivals are more economical, they're equipped with FWD. Selecting the comparable AWD-alternatives yields worse estimates than the Subaru. Of course, the likes of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid will be vastly more economical, but the Ascent does well for what it is. With a maximum fuel capacity of 19.3 gallons, the Ascent will be able to travel between 425 and 444 miles in mixed conditions.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    19.3 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 21/27 mpg
* 2022 Subaru Ascent 8-Passenger

2022 Subaru Ascent Interior

The interior of the Ascent is typical of the midsize three-row fraternity, with ample space and impressive levels of versatility. But it isn't the most attractive in the segment, and the best features are reserved for the upper half of the trim roster. Also negatively impacting its ratings is the lack of space for third-row occupants and a sense of narrowness for those in the second row, particularly when compared to rivals like the Kia Telluride. The build quality is acceptable but is not on par with some rivals. There are redeeming factors like an intuitive infotainment suite and clever storage solutions, but on the whole, the Ascent feels like a middle-of-the-road entrant in the three-row segment: capable, but not exceptional.

2022 Subaru Ascent Driver Seat Subaru
2022 Subaru Ascent Front Seats Subaru
2022 Subaru Ascent Infotainment System Subaru
See All 2022 Subaru Ascent Interior Photos

2022 Subaru Ascent Seating and Interior Space

The 3-row Ascent is built to be spacious but still isn't the best in the midsize segment. However, it caters for up to eight passengers, with those in the two front rows receiving the lion's share of the available space. Those in the front benefit from 41.3 inches of headroom and 42.2 inches of legroom, while second-row inhabitants receive 40 and 38.6 inches, respectively. But shoulder room in the middle begins to feel tight for those with larger frames. The 3rd row is technically geared to seat three, but with just 57.2 inches of shoulder room and 31.7 inches of legroom, realistically, only young teenagers and kids will be comfortable back there. Access to the Subaru Ascent's 3rd row is decent, however, especially with the available second-row captain's chairs equipped, although this brings down the total seating capacity to seven. The seven-seat configuration is unavailable on the base car (it's an eight-seater by default), optional on the Premium and Limited, and standard on the Onyx Edition and Touring.

  • Seating capacity
    8-seater
  • Front Leg Room 42.2 in
  • Front Head Room 41.3 in
  • Rear Leg Room 38.6 in
  • Rear Head Room 40.0 in

2022 Subaru Ascent Interior Colors and Materials

Inside the Subaru Ascent, you'll find a range of quality materials, with the topmost trims benefitting from the most premium of surfaces. The base model is only offered with cloth upholstery in Slate Black, but it feels robust and up to the task of handling messy family situations. The Premium car gets even better stain-resistant upholstery in one additional color, namely Warm Ivory. The new Onyx Edition gets water-repellent StarTex upholstery in gray. Finally, the Limited and Touring get leather seats. While the former utilizes the same color combinations, the top-of-the-range Touring swaps out the Ivory option for Java Brown. The base and Premium cars feature Ivory carbon fiber-patterned interior accent trim doors, while the top two cars get an Ivory leather interior. The Touring features a wood grain-patterned accent trim.

2022 Subaru Ascent SUV Trunk and Cargo Space

Class-competitive storage is par for the course here, but with loads of space being key for buyers in the USA, the Subaru Ascent doesn't rank right up there with the best. 17.8 cubic feet of cargo space can be found behind the third row while folding the rearmost seats - a feat made possible by a 60/40-split rear bench - unlocks up to 47.5 cubic feet on models without the available moonroof. Drop both the second and third rows of seating, and a maximum of 86.5 cubes can be revealed. With all rows in place, the storage is decent, but behind the best in the segment. Subaru counters this with clever storage solutions like velcro straps that allow for numerous storage configurations.

Internal storage for the eight inhabitants isn't as great as some rivals either: you get some cubby space and a center console storage bin, as well 19 bottle and cupholders for all three rows.

2022 Subaru Ascent Trunk Space Subaru
2022 Subaru Ascent Maximum Cargo Space Subaru
2022 Subaru Ascent Maximum Cargo Space 1 Subaru

Ascent Infotainment and Features

Features

In our 2021 review of the Ascent, we commented on its relatively good levels of standard features for the price; this hasn't changed. The base model comes equipped with a six-way manually adjustable driver's seat, tri-zone climate control, a power tailgate, a rearview camera, and steering-responsive headlights. As with the rest of the range, the base model features Subaru's EyeSight Driver Assistance package, which includes pre-collision braking, lane departure, and sway assistance, and adaptive cruise control with lane centering. This suite is bolstered by the addition of blind-spot monitoring from the Premium and reverse automatic braking from the Onyx Edition. The Premium adds second-row climate controls, eight-way driver's seat adjustment, and heated front seats, but the best features are reserved for the top trims. The Onyx Edition and up gain keyless access with push-button start, a heated steering wheel, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror, while the Limited and up get a power front passenger seat and heated second-row seats,, while the Touring adds a 180-degree front camera, 120-volt AC power outlet, and ventilated front seats.

Infotainment

The infotainment system on the base model consists of a rather small and dated 6.5-inch touchscreen display hooked up to Subaru's Starlink system. This system features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, Starlink cloud-based applications, SiriusXM, AM/FM/CD compatibility, Bluetooth streaming, and an auxiliary jack. Premium, Onyx Edition, and Limited models come standard with an eight-inch display, which includes voice controls and HD Radio while this same system sees the introduction of navigation for the Touring derivative. All but the top model gets six speakers as standard, with the Touring upgrading to a Harman Kardon 14-speaker system that's optional on the Limited. Premium models and higher also receive standard Wi-Fi hotspot capability.

2022 Subaru Ascent Common Problems and Reliability

The Subaru Ascent has not been recalled as either a 2020 or 2021 model and no recalls have yet been issued at the time of writing for the 2022 model. The Ascent is covered by a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty, a five-year corrosion warranty, drivetrain cover for five years or 60,000 miles, and roadside assistance for three years or 36,000 miles.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

Ascent Safety

If you're looking for a safe family SUV, then look no further: the Subaru Ascent is one secure family transporter. According to the NHTSA's review, the Ascent scored a full five out of five stars overall. The IIHS mirrored these sentiments, awarding the car full marks and 2019, 2020, and 2021 Top Safety Pick + awards with no caveats or trim requirements. This rating should carry over to the 2022 model.

2022 Subaru Ascent Key Safety Features

All Ascent models are fitted with six airbags, including side-curtain and seat-mounted front side airbags. Other standard safety features include high beam assist, as well as brake assist and a rearview camera. All trim levels come with Subaru's EyeSight driver assistance package, which includes pre-collision braking, lane departure, and sway warning, as well as adaptive cruise control with lane centering. Premium derivatives and above add blind-spot detection, lane change assist, and rear cross-traffic assistance, while Onyx Edition and above get auto-reverse braking. The ranger-topper finally adds a standard 180-degree frontal camera.

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.

🚘What's the Price of the 2022 Subaru Ascent?

You can't go wrong with finding a used model for sale at a low price, but if you're looking to buy new, you'll be glad to hear that the Subaru Ascent's price isn't that steep and has not increased for the new model year. The base model starts at an MSRP of $32,295, which does not include tax, registration, and a destination fee of $1,125. The Premium model will set you back $34,795, the new Onyx Edition costs $37,995, and the Limited comes in at just under $40k with an asking price of $39,595. The top of the range Touring will set you back $45,445. These prices place the Ascent next to the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander in base trim, but both those brands ask more for their top-trim cars, making the Subaru an attractive choice.

2022 Subaru Ascent Models

The 2022 Subaru Ascent SUV is sold in five trims, namely Base, Premium, Onyx Edition, Limited, and Touring.

The base trim comes as standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, a power liftgate, roof rails, and LED headlights with a cornering function. Inside standard equipment includes manually adjustable and cloth-covered seats, as well as three-zone climate control. The infotainment setup comprises a 6,5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as a six-speaker audio system. The Subaru EyeSight suite of driver-assistance features is standard on all trims.

The Premium trim adds to these features an eight-way electrically adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, second-row climate controls, and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. The infotainment screen measures eight inches and incorporates an HD Radio and 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. Rear cross-traffic alert and a blind-spot monitoring system with lane-change assistance are added too.

New for the 2022 model year is the Onyx Edition, which is based on the Premium and distinguished by its blacked-out exterior accents, black 20-inch alloy wheels, and extra equipment that includes a panoramic moonroof, LED foglights, standard seven-seater configuration with second-row captain's chairs, a heated steering wheel, StarTex water-repellent upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, second- and third-row USB ports, and silver carbon-fiber dash and door trim.

The Limited trim carries over most of the Onyx Edition's equipment, but deletes the blacked-out exterior styling and the seven-seater configuration, reverting to the default eight-seat layout. Extra items on this trim include an electrically adjustable front passenger seat, heated rear seats and steering wheel, a compass rear-view mirror with HomeLink, leather upholstery, keyless entry with push-button start, and automatic braking.

The flagship Touring trim gets satin chrome exterior accents, a powered slide/tilt panoramic sunroof, the seven-seater seating layout with second-row captain's chairs, woodgrain inserts, ventilated front seats, a 120-volt power outlet, and a 180-degree front camera. The infotainment system gains a 14-speaker Harman Kardon audio system and navigation.

See All 2022 Subaru Ascent Trims and Specs

2022 Subaru Ascent Additional Packages

While the base model isn't offered with any packages, the Premium model gets a choice of two - the 8-Passenger Convenience Package with keyless access, auto-dimming mirror, and automatic reverse braking ($1,460) or the 7-Passenger Convenience Package with one seat fewer and the same extras as the previous package for the same price. The Onyx Edition gets access to the Optional Package at $2,200 that adds navigation and a cargo cover. The Limited model is offered with a choice of two packages, namely 7- or 8-Passenger Technology Package including Harman Kardon audio, navigation, and a rear cargo area cover, both at $2,950. No packages are available on the Touring, which is already fully equipped.

🚗What 2022 Subaru Ascent Model Should I Buy?

The great thing about the 2022 Ascent is that all trim levels are offered with the same drivetrain and much of the same safety equipment, which makes the purchasing decision a whole lot easier, as you only have to worry about convenience features. While the base model might offer a fair amount of the basics, we feel that to truly be a comfortable and capable daily family runner, the Ascent needs to provide slightly more, and that's why we would suggest going with the next best thing: the Premium. This car manages to keep the price low at $34,795, but adds a whole lot of gear that is not found on the base model. Notable inclusions are a driver's power-adjustable seat, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, second-row climate controls, and an eight-inch infotainment system. You also get 4G internet connectivity as well as blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic assist. This is a good deal for the amount of money you're going to spend. We'd add the Convenience Package for added comfort on a relatively tight budget.

2022 Subaru Ascent Comparisons

Honda Pilot Honda
Subaru Outback Subaru
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Subaru Ascent260 hp21/27 mpg$32,295
Honda Pilot 280 hp20/27 mpg$39,060
Subaru Outback 182 hp26/33 mpg$26,945

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

Subaru Ascent Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2022 Subaru Ascent:

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$32,295 - $45,445
Price Range (MSRP)
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