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2021 Subaru Ascent Review - Trims, Prices, Towing Capacity, Features, And Rivals Comparison

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Shivendra Garg

Automotive Content Creator July 01, 2020 at 10:04 AM
Although there is no official information about the 2021 Ascent, it is expected to enter the market by the summer of 2020. Subaru typically rebuilds its model every 5 years. The 2021 model is its third year of first generation and it is being said that there will be no significant changes.

Subaru, after over a decade of selling SUVs in America, introduced its Ascent SUV in 2019. It is said to have replaced Subaru's Tribeca. That way, the 2021 Subaru Ascent is only in its third year of first generation. So will Subaru break their chain and give this midsize SUV a mid-cycle refresh?

As it turns out, Subaru generally refreshes their vehicles once every five years. So chances are the 2021 Subaru Ascent isn't going to have much changes. However at this point, all is just speculation but a calculated one. For this year too, its closest competitors are Ford ExplorerChevrolet Traverse and Toyota Highlander.

What will be the Trims and Prices of the 2021 Subaru Ascent?

2021 Subaru Ascent will carry over the four trims from the 2020 model. This time though, the prices of the base model will be about $300 more expensive than the outgoing model and there will be more standard features across the range. The Base 2020 Subaru Ascent is priced at around $31,995. Other trims will be Premium, Limited and Touring. The 2021 Subaru Ascent Touring will cost around $46,495. For that kind of money, this variant of the midsize SUV gets loaded with all the bells and whistles. Although, the hike in asking price has not been for nothing.

The 2021 Subaru Ascent will now get adaptive cruise control as standard. The base and Premium models will also get steering-responsive LED headlights and seat-belt reminders for the second and third rows. By examining the features and price of each trim, it turns out that the base variant is extremely budget-friendly. It provides you with system integration features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Apart from this, Subaru Ascent offers AWD drivetrain as standard for all models. So the base trim is recommended since it is cost-effective. But for those who want a luxurious experience with updated technologies, can go for Limited trim.

What Engine will Power the 2021 Subaru Ascent? 

The 2021 Subaru Ascent will be powered by the same 2.4-liter Boxer-four engine coupled with a continuously variable transmission. For its class, this midsize SUV is underpowered and CVTs are infamous for making the driving experience a little watered down. However, the Ascent delivers promising results. 

Models

2021 Subaru Ascent (Expected)

202 Chevrolet Traverse 

2020 Ford Explorer 

2020 Toyota Highlander 

MSRP

$32,295

$31,000

$32,365

$34,600

Engine

2.4L Turbocharged Boxer-4 

3.6L V-6

2.3L Turbocharged Inline-4 

3.5L V6

Drivetrain

AWD

AWD

AWD

AWD

Transmission 

CVT

9-speed automatic 

10-speed automatic 

8-speed automatic 

Horsepower

260 hp @ 5,600 rpm

305 hp @ 6,800 rpm

300 hp @ 5,500 rpm

295 hp @ 6,600 rpm

Torque 

277 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm

260 lb-ft @ 2,800 rpm

310 lb-ft @ 3,500 rpm

263 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm

It does have a high performing and responsive turbocharged engine. As a result of which, it overpowers most of its contenders. It may not have the most powerful engine but the 2.4-liter flat-four motor of the Ascent is one of the most torquey.

How Quickly will the 2021 Subaru Ascent Accelerate? 

The torquey motor of the Subaru Ascent paired with Subaru's renowned Symmetrical AWD setup really makes for some sprightly performance. As a result, the 2020 Subaru Ascent manages to accelerate past the 60 MPH mark in just 6.9 seconds. That makes it one of the quickest-accelerating SUV of its class.

Models

2021 Subaru Ascent (Expected)

202 Chevrolet Traverse 

2020 Ford Explorer 

2020 Toyota Highlander

0-60 MPH

6.9 sec

6.7 sec

6.8 sec

7.2 sec

Quarter Mile

15.5 sec

15.5 sec

15.3 sec

15.6 sec

Top Speed

131 MPH

130 MPH

143 MPH

115

Engine 

2.4L Turbocharged Boxer-4 

3.6L V-6

2.3L Turbocharged Inline-4 3.5L V6

It also one of the firsts to run past the quarter-mile line. The performance of Ascent is bested only by Traverse and Explorer which have more powerful engines. That Subaru's top speed of 131 MPH is also the second fastest after the Ford Explorer. The 2021 Subaru Ascent should return similar performance.

Will the 2021 Subaru Ascent offer a fun Ride?

It is pretty much a given that the 2021 Subaru Ascent, which will be arriving by the mid of 2020, doesn't have any additional features than the 2020 model that would make it a better ride than before. Anyway, this SUV offers an amenable riding experience. The suspension can easily level out any type of uneven road and fluctuations specially when set in X Mode, an off-road setting, that comes as part of the Symmetrical AWD.

But its 8.7-inches of ground clearance also allows it comfortably glide over most surfaces. The fact that is underpinned by the same platform as the Crosstrek and Impreza provides it with its agility. Still, it is not to be forgotten that this is a three-row SUV.

How strong will the Brakes of the 2021 Subaru Ascent be? 

The Ascent is the biggest SUV ever built by Subaru. Accordingly, the engineers at Subaru have fixed it with some of the biggest brake rotors in its category. Braking on this three-row SUV is taken care of 13.1-inch front and 13.0-inch rear disc brakes. Apart from that, the standard Eyesight technology helps keep the car safe at all times.

Models

2021 Subaru Ascent (Expected)

202 Chevrolet Traverse 

2020 Ford Explorer 

2020 Toyota Highlander

Brake Rotors: Front (in)

13.1

12.6

12.8

12.9

Brake Rotors: Rront (in)

13.0

12.4

12.8

12.2

Curb Weight (lbs) 

4603

4362

4345

4370

60-0 MPH (ft)

119

130

121

116

Under emergency braking, The Subaru Ascent stops from a speed of 60 MPH within 119 feet. That is really impressive for a vehicle its size. Still, the Toyota Highlander is better at it than the Ascent. But is about 300 pounds lighter in comparison.

Will the Fuel Economy numbers of the 2021 Subaru Ascent change? 

Despit having an AWD setup as standard, this midsize SUV is quite economical. It manages to return EPA rated MPG of over 27 combined. That makes it one of the most frugal three-row SUV of the segment. It also gets a fairly big fuel tank. 

Models

2021 Subaru Ascent (Expected)

202 Chevrolet Traverse 

2020 Ford Explorer 

2020 Toyota Highlander

MPG (City)

21

18

17

20

MPG (Highway)

27

27

24

24

MPG (Combined) 

23

21

20

22

Fuel capacity (Gallons) 

19.3

21.7

19.2

17.9

Range(City/Highway/ Combined) (mi) 

386/502/444

391/586/456

384/518/384

358/483/394

Emission
(Tons/yr. of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year)

7.7

8.4

8.8

7.5

The 19.3 gallon fuel tank of the Ascent is bigger than most other SUVs of its kind. That paired with already fuel efficient Boxer-4 engine allows it turn up as the midsize SUV with the most range after the Chevrolet Traverse. That Chevy's V6 gets a huge help from its 21.7 gallon fuel tank.

Will the Interior of the 2021 Subaru Ascent be Modified? 

Subaru Ascent is a family SUV designed for comfort and versatility. A spacious compartment, enormous dashboard, cavernous cargo, airy panoramic moonroof and bucket seats with leather upholstery are all the features you will find inside this midsize, three-row SUV.

As far as versatality is concerned, the Subaru Ascent allows a choice of seven or eight person seating. The second or middle row can be had either with bench seats or captain's chairs. When opting for the latter, a total of seven people can sit inside this SUV.

Models

2021 Subaru Ascent (Expected)

202 Chevrolet Traverse 

2020 Ford Explorer 

2020 Toyota Highlander

Passenger capacity 

8

8

7

8

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

40.1/61.6/42.2

41.3/62.1/41.0

41.4/61.5/42.9

40.7/59.3/44.2

Second Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

38.7/60.3/38.6

40.0/62.2/38.4

40.6/61.0/39.5

39.9/59.6/38.4

Third Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

36.3/57.2/31.7

38.2/37.3/33.5

37.8/50.8/32.0

35.9/55.0/27.7

Cargo Capacity (cu-ft)

17.6

23.0

18.2

16.0

It gets as many as 19 cup and bottle holders as standard too. There is also a feature for storage under the floor. This allows you to fit in all the people and their belongings comfortably. So there is no denying that the Ascent is a true family vehicle in every sense.

What will be there to keep you Entertained? 

Subaru updated the infotainment system of the Ascent for the model year 2020. The new interface is slick and intuitive as well. Even visibility under sunlight is decent, and most of the buttons fall into hands easily. There is plenty of features to keep you indulged on your long drives that do tend to get boring at times.

Subaru Ascent also gives optional access to SiriusXM satellite radio. On board the pricier Limited and Touring trims is a bigger 8.0-inch multimedia unit and TomTom navigation system. It would mean a lot if Subaru were to make that touchscreen standard across the range of the 2021 Ascent.

Will the Exterior of the 2021 Subaru Ascent be Redesigned? 

The only exterior update that the 2021 Subaru Ascent will get will come in the form of steering-responsice LED headlights. Other than that, it will continue to be the same imposing three-row SUV that it is. It makes sure to complement luxury with utmost funtionality.

The tall ride height allows it trave off-road easily but at the same time, the heavy and muscular build keeps it planted on the ground. Up front, the grille is massive and the headlights are a reminder of the Subaru Outback. Only, this one is abit soft around the edges.

Models

2021 Subaru Ascent (Expected)

202 Chevrolet Traverse 

2020 Ford Explorer 

2020 Toyota Highlander

Curb Weight (Ibs) 

4603

4362

4345

4370

Length (in) 

196.8

204.3

198.8

194.9

Width (in) 

76.0

78.6

78.9

76.0

Height(in) 

71.6

70.7

69.9

68.1

Ground clearance (in) 

8.7

N/A

7.9

8.0

Wheelbase (in) 

113.8

120.9

119.1

112.2

Then to further enhance usability, the roof has been fixed with standard roof rails. They really underscore this SUVs ability to carry all your luggage around. The tail is complete with power rear gate which is standard on the Limited and Touring variants but offered as an option on the Subaru Ascent Premium.

Some of the exclusive exterior features of Subaru Ascent are:

  • Body-color door handles
  • Body-color front and rear bumper
  • Rain sensing windshield wipers
  • 18-inch/20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels with silver finish
  • Raised roof rails
  • Body-colour side mirrors
  • Liftgate rear cargo cabin
  • Steering-responsive LED headlights
  • Power rear gate

What new Safety Features will the 2021 Subaru Ascent get?

The Subaru Ascent focuses a lot on safety of its occupants. Consequently, it comes equipped with Subaru’s EyeSight system across the lineup as standard. This system combines adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, lane departure warning and lane-keep assist to keep the car and the people inside safe at all times.

Subaru also offers its STARLINK Connected Services as standard on all models except the base. As a result, the 2020 Subaru Ascent scores an overall 5-star rating from NHSTA and also scores Good on the tests conducted by IIHS. In fact, the IIHS named it as a Top Safety Pick for the year 2020. The Subaru Ascent is equipped with the following safety features:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Pre-collision braking
  • Lane departure warning and lane-keep assist
  • Blind-spot detection and rear cross-traffic alert
  • Reverse automatic braking
  • Front, Side and Side-Curtain airbags
  • LATCH system
  • Height-adjustable seatbelts

Should you Buy the 2021 Subaru Ascent? 

It is highly recommended to buy this SUV because of all that it is. The car has responsive engine, one that offers both performance and efficiency. Then you have the spacious and versatile cabin which is extremely well laid-out and laced with modern amenities. The standard AWD setup is just the cherry on the cake. Sure, there will not be many changes this time around, but the 2021 Subaru Ascent will continue be the impressive SUV that it has been since its debut in 2019.

Also Read:

Will you be able to rely on the Subaru Ascent?

Are owners of Subaru Ascent satisfied with the car?

2021 Subaru Ascent Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is there a Subaru Ascent Hybrid?

The Ascent is Subaru's latest entrant in the three-row SUV category. As of now it is offered with only a single powertrain option. So far there is no such thing as a Subaru Ascent Hybrid.

When was Subaru Ascent released?

The Subaru Ascent was launched in the States on November 28, 2017. However, Subaru introduced it for purchase in the third quarter of 2018 where it first went for sale as a 2019 model.

How much can Subaru Ascent tow?

The Subaru Ascent gets a powerful 260 hp turbocharged motor that also makes close to 280 lb-ft torque. This allows it to have a maximum towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds.

What is Subaru Ascent Popular Package 3?

The Subaru Ascent comes with as many as 10 additional packages. Of them, the Popular Package 3 adds an all-weather floor liner, rear seatback protector, cargo tray, rear bumper cover, auto-dimming exterior mirror with approach light and an aero crossbar set.

What color options does Subaru Ascent get?

The Subaru Ascent is offered with about 8 color options. There's Crystal Black Silica, Crystal White Pearl, Ice Silver Metallic, Tungsten Metallic, Magnetite Gray Metallic, Cinnamon Brown Pearl, Abyss Blue Pearl and Crimson Red Pearl.

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