But there's a good reason why.
The Subaru Ascent was only introduced for the 2019 model year as the Japanese automaker's largest vehicle positioned above the Subaru Outback, so we weren't expecting the three-row SUV to get any major changes for the 2021 model year. However, for 2021 the Ascent comes equipped with Subaru's EyeSight suite of driver assists, which adds advanced adaptive cruise control with lane-centering and lane keep assist, which might hopefully elevate it beyond 2020's IIHS Top Safety Pick ranking.
Every trim is also now equipped with steering responsive LED headlights with high beam assists to improve visibility during night driving. A second- and third-row seat belt reminder also joins the list of new standard equipment for the 2021 Ascent.
Inevitably, however, these upgrades have increased the starting price, but it's not as steep as you would expect. For the 2021 model year, the Subaru Ascent starts at $32,295, a $300 increase over the previous year. That seems reasonable considering all the extra standard tech you're getting. The Ascent Premium starts at $34,795, while the Limited trim starts at $39,595. Topping the range is the Touring trim, which carries a $45,445 MSRP. All pricing excludes the $1,050 destination charge.
Regardless of the trim, every 2021 Subaru Ascent is powered by a 2.4-liter turbocharged Boxer engine that produces 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft. of torque, paired with a CVT featuring an eight-speed manual mode function.
Standard features for the 2021 Subaru Ascent include tri-zone front and rear automatic climate control, automatic power door locks, power windows and side mirrors, multi-function display a security system with engine immobilizer, a rearview camera, and 18-inch alloy wheels. Inside, the entry-level 2021 Ascent still comes equipped with a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support.
This is upgraded to an eight-inch display in the Premium trim, which also adds blind spot detection with lane change and rear cross-traffic alert assists, body-color side mirrors, rear window privacy glass, an eight-way power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift lever handle, and more.
Upgrading to the Limited adds reverse automatic braking, keyless access with push-button start, and power rear liftgate with automatic lock button for the tailgate and doors, as well as a more luxurious interior with leather-trimmed upholstery. Enhancing the Limited trim's exterior are LED fog lights, lower door cladding with chrome accents, body-color side mirrors with integrated turn signals, and 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels in dark gray with machine finish.
Finally, the range-topping Touring trim includes an exclusive high gloss black grille, chrome door handles and satin chrome power-folding exterior mirrors with integrated turn signals. Select exterior colors can be specified with black perforated leather-trimmed upholstery with silver stitching, which is new for the 2021 Touring trim. The Touring trim also adds a 14-speaker sound system, panoramic roof, rain-sensing wipers, a smart rear-view mirror, and a 180-degree front-view camera.