2021 Subaru Ascent

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

2021 Subaru Ascent Review: Modest Family Cruiser

It may not be the most suave or eye-catching sport-utility vehicle and its performance is far from stimulating, but the 2021 Subaru Ascent wasn't designed to turn heads or to excite. The midsize semi-luxurious crossover SUV is a modest and uncomplicated family cruiser that offers a plush ride, plenty of modern driver-assist systems, creature comforts, and conveniences, and versatile seating for up to eight people. The Toyota Highlander, Kia Telluride, and Hyundai Palisade are the Ascent SUV's most direct competitors and some of the best cars in the classification. That sets a really high bar for the Ascent, which its uncouth engine, plain styling, and relatively cramped third-row seats keep it from effectively reaching. Nevertheless, the Ascent's standard Subaru Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system facilitates some impressive off-roading capability and sets it apart in the broad segment.

The 2021 Subaru Ascent draws power from a 2.4-liter turbocharged flat-4 BOXER engine that's been dialed to deliver 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque.

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2021 Subaru Ascent Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Subaru Ascent?

Subaru tends to build its volume products on a six-year product cycle with a significant refresh taking place after the third year. The 2021 model is the third year this car will be produced, but it still gets a few notable changes. Advanced adaptive cruise control with lane-centering and lane-keep assist is now added to the EyeSight driver-assist suite, and steering responsive LED headlights are now standard across all trim levels, as well as second and third-row seatbelt reminders. A new leather option has been added for Touring models: Slate Black with silver stitching.

Pros and Cons

  • Remarkably comfortable ride quality
  • Comes standard with all-wheel drive
  • Comprehensive and user-friendly infotainment
  • Plenty of tech and features on all trims
  • Multitude of seating configurations
  • Lackluster, loud, and unrefined engine
  • 3rd-row seats are relatively cramped
  • Uninspired exterior design

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2021 Subaru Ascent Trims and Prices

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.4L Turbo Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
2.4L Turbo Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
2.4L Turbo Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive
2.4L Turbo Flat 4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
All-Wheel Drive

Ascent Exterior

2021 Subaru Ascent Front Angle View Subaru
2021 Subaru Ascent Rear Angle View Subaru
2021 Subaru Ascent Side View Subaru
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  • 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

Exterior Colors

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

Ascent Performance

2021 Subaru Ascent Front View Driving Subaru
2021 Subaru Ascent Rear View Driving Subaru
2021 Subaru Ascent Engine Subaru

Engine and Transmission

As standard, every trim in the Ascent SUV lineup comes equipped with a turbocharged 2.4-liter 4-cylinder gas engine delivering up to 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. Power is forwarded through a continuously automatic variable transmission to the Subaru's all-wheel drivetrain. Unfortunately, acceleration responses from the Ascent's powertrain are very jerky, especially around town. Throttle responses are erratic, too, and overall, while the powertrain is reasonably fuel-efficient, it just feels very unrefined compared to the many other turbocharged engines out there.

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

Ascent Gas Mileage

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    19.3 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 21/27 mpg
* 2021 Subaru Ascent 2.4T 8-Passenger

Ascent Interior

2021 Subaru Ascent Dashboard Subaru
2021 Subaru Ascent Dashboard 1 Subaru
2021 Subaru Ascent Glove Box Subaru
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Seating and Interior Space

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

Ascent Trunk and Cargo Space

2021 Subaru Ascent Front Seats Subaru
2021 Subaru Ascent Rear Passenger Seats Subaru
2021 Subaru Ascent Trunk Space Subaru

Ascent Safety and Reliability


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

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Subaru Ascent a good SUV?

If you're not too concerned about looks and/or exciting performance and handling and just want a vehicle that will get you and your family from point A to point B comfortably and safely, then the 2021 Ascent is certainly a feasible option for you. Its comprehensive and user-friendly infotainment system, featureful cabin, 4-door layout, various seating configurations, and large trunk make it ideal as a daily runabout and vacation partner. With its decent ground clearance, standard AWD system, and X-Mode setup, the Ascent will also allow for some adventurous off-road excursions. Equip it with the right gear, and you also get a max towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. These qualities, along with a favourable review of the 2021 Subaru Ascent from the USA's main safety rating authorities, support the Ascent's family-friendly nature.

Unfortunately, the price of the 2021 Subaru Ascent SUV, starting at $32,295, puts it directly alongside the segment-leading Kia Telluride, which is just a phenomenal vehicle all-round. Even so, the first-gen Ascent is still well worth considering for its comprehensive driver assists and safety consignment and good reliability standing.

🚗What Subaru Ascent Model Should I Buy?

With the entire lineup making use of the same powertrain, choosing the right Ascent for you will purely come down to what features you want. The entry-level trim does come with a good selection of desirable features, but we feel aiming one notch up for the Premium trim is certainly worthwhile. For only a little more than the base trim, the Premium brings in the eight-inch infotainment touchscreen, which improves both usability of the system and the visual impression of the cabin. It also gets an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. Unlike with the Base, the Premium's second-row bench can also be swapped out for captain's chairs, something to consider if you don't need seating for eight.

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2021 Subaru Ascent Video Reviews

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