Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide
"The 2021 Subaru Ascent stands out in showrooms as the brand's largest model, but in the American car market it's overshadowed by a plethora of other popular three-row crossovers." - Car And Driver
The 2021 Subaru Ascent is designed for those looking for a three-row SUV with the capacity to hold and entertain your family, The 2021 Ascent is part of the first-generation introduced in 2019. Available in four trim levels, the 2021 Ascent's prices range from $32.295 for the base trim up to $45,445 for the Touring. This Subaru's biggest vehicle offers seating for up to eight passengers and a dynamic drive along with new and improved safety features. The cargo capabilities are diverse, and it has a turbocharged engine and AWD.
Though there are not many differences between the 2020 and the 2021 Ascent, Subaru betters the latest model in terms of value and safety. The 2021 Ascent's standard feature list gains lane centering, lane keep assist, and steering-responsive LED headlights with automatic high beams. Also, the top-range Touring goes more luxurious with the addition of Perforated black leather, and silver stitched seating upholstery. These changes have lead to a $300 increase in the price of this three-row SUV in comparison to the outgoing 2020 model. Below, we have reviewed the 2021 Subaru Ascent to help you make an informed buying decision, Let's find out how good is the 2021 Ascent?
2021 Subaru Ascent Key Competitors:
Pricing and Features
Engine and Performance
2021 Subaru Ascent Pricing and Features
"The 2021 Subaru Ascent boasts a comfortable ride, adult-friendly seating, and plenty of tech features." - Cars.USnews
How much does the 2021 Subaru Ascent Cost?
The 2021 Ascent has a starting price of $32,295 MSRP for the base trim, adding a $1,050 destination fee amounts to the payable cost of $33,345. Next-in-line Premium begins at $34,795 and the Ascent Limited costs $39,595. The top-range Touring begins at an MSRP of $45,445 and is the most expensive and fully loaded Ascent model. All trims of the Ascent gets Symmetrical AWD and STARLINK multimedia. Subaru adds more standard safety features and technology features to the 2021 Ascent than the outgoing 2020 Ascent.
Ascent's base trim comes with ample standard features for the price. Some of the top features include an all-wheel drive, 18-inch alloy wheels, active torque vectoring, hill-descent control, and steering-responsive LED headlights with automatic high beams. The cabin is good for seating 8 passengers, and have EyeSight driving assistance features, 3-zone automatic climate control, air vents in all three rows, cloth upholstery, reclining/60/40 split-folding 2nd-row and 3rd-row seats, a 6.5-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, four USB ports, Bluetooth, and 19 cup holders.
Adds to Base
Adds to Premium
Adds to Limited
Apple Carp and Android Auto
STARLINK Multimedia w/Navigation
18” Alloy Wheels
Optional second-row seats; Captain or Bench
20” Alloy Wheels
Ventilated Front Seats
EyeSight Driver Assist Technology
Remote Engine Start
Keyless Entry and Push Button Start/Stop
Tri-Zone Automatic Climate Control
Rear Climate Control
Power Rear Gate
The 2021 Ascent also offers several optional features. If you move up the Ascent’s trim levels, more desired features such as blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, power-adjustable/heated/ventilated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel, panoramic moonroof, heated side mirrors, keyless entry/ignition, bigger 20-inch wheels, and a powered tailgate are added. You can choose between spill-repellent cloth or leather seating in the mid-level trims.
- See 2021 Subaru Ascent Configurations and Trims
- Check out the best deals and prices of the New Subaru Ascent.
2021 Subaru Ascent Buying Advice
Which 2021 Subaru Ascent Model is right for me?
We recommend buying the 2021 Subaru Ascent Premium as the best value trim. For an MSRP of $34,795 (excluding destination charges), the Ascent Premium gains an 8-inch touch screen, a Wi-Fi hot spot, stain-resistant cloth upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, second-row climate controls, remote engine start, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and lane change assist. Though all Ascent trims have an all-wheel-drive and the same boxer-4 engine, the Premium has slightly better EPA fuel-economy ratings than the top two trims.
We have listed below the key changes for the Subaru Ascent over the last few years:
- 2019: Subaru Ascent is all-new for 2019, so there is no 2018 model.
- 2020: Added rear-seat reminder system and power-folding side mirrors to the standard features list
- 2021: Adds a few new standard safety features such as Adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams and lane keep assist
If you are considering older Ascent models, read our 2019 Ascent and 2020 Ascent reviews to help you make a decision. Also, check out the Subaru Ascent deals page to find the best savings on used vehicles for sale.
- Read about the 2021 Subaru Ascent Reliability, Warranty, and Maintenance
- Check out the Customer Reviews of the Subaru Ascent
2021 Subaru Ascent Engine and Performance
"This Subaru is powered by a turbocharged 260-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). This powertrain is strong, and it delivers quick acceleration." - Cars.USNews
2021 Subaru Ascent Engine Options, Horsepower and Acceleration: Powerful, Capable and Economical
- Engine: turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder Boxer with 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque
- Drivetrain: all-wheel drive (AWD)
- Transmission: Continuously variable automatic (CVT)
The 2021 Ascent's engine is a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces muscular 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with a CVT automatic and standard all-wheel-drive. With a 7 seconds 0 to 60 mph time, the Ascent's powertrain delivers strong acceleration in the midsize SUV class. This Subaru's CVT imitates an 8-speed automatic and you can shift gears manually using the steering-mounted paddle shifters.
2021 Subaru Ascent Ride and Handling
The Ascent shows minimal body lean around the curves and drives like a smaller vehicle with accurate steering. The independent suspension offers a comfortable ride over imprections and Ascent also shows sporty tendencies in handling. Its standard all-wheel drive and 8.7 inches of ground clearance make it a good choice for light off-roading as well. The interior of the Subaru Ascent remains quiet and the outward vision is good in all directions. Another advantage of the Ascent is that the base trim has a tow rating limited to 2000 lbs, but with the $34,795 Premium offers a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 lbs. The Ascent may not offer the most spirited driving but you will be happy with its balanced ride.
2021 Subaru Ascent Fuel Economy
"The Ascent keeps pace with its class when driven with a light foot." - The Car Connection
Despite its standard AWD setup, the 2021 Ascent returns EPA estimated fuel economy of 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. The fuel economy ratings fall to 20/26 mpg on Limited and Touring trims becasue of there larger wheels. None of the rivals with all-wheel-drive configuration are as efficient as the Subaru Ascent.
Equipped with a 19.3-gallon fuel tank across all trim levels, Ascent delivers a decent driving range - approx 444 miles in mixed driving conditions. However, the rivals have a similar-sized fuel tank but the front-wheel-drive (FWD) setup improves the gas mileage. It is the 2021 Toyota Highlander that finds itself in the last spot in this segment.
- 2021 Subaru Ascent Reliability, J.D. Power Report, Recalls, and Warranty
- Compare head to head: 2021 Subaru Ascent vs 2021 Ford Explorer
2021 Subaru Ascent Interior
"On the convenience front, the base Ascent is well-equipped with 19 (!) cupholders and a 6.5-inch touchscreen featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto." - MotorTrend
2021 Subaru Ascent Interior: Spacious and Comfortable
With room for eight occupants, the interior of the three-row Ascent is designed for families. For 2021, Subaru adds a new Slate Black leather upholstery with silver stitching for the top-range Touring trim. The interior quality is decent with soft-touch materials on the doors and a nice-feeling steering wheel. Every Ascent above the base trim has an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and 2021 Ascent Limited and Touring models have a four-way power-adjustable front passenger’s seat.
In second row, passengers get 39 inches of leg room, which is plenty for tall occupants. The $39,595 Limited and $45,445 Touring trims gets Captain’s chairs for no extra cost. They’re available on Ascent Premium as part of a $1,500 package along with a power liftgate and keyless ignition.The Third row has 31.7 inches of leg room which is suitable for small adults for a long journey, though they are easily accessible, courtesy of wide-opening doors and low step-in height.
2021 Subaru Ascent Cargo Space and Interior Storage Options: Best-in-class
Tated at 17.8 cu-ft behind the third-row, the 2021 Subaru Ascent offers one of the best cargo spaces in the segment. Although you’ll need to open the door manually as Subaru deos not have kick- or proximity-activated liftgate. The Ascent’s 47.5 cubic feet behind the second row, and 86.5 cubic feet behind the first-row seats is usable enough. The rear seats fold completely flat, if you choose the regular 2nd-row bench but with the captain’s chairs it's almost flat. The cabin of Ascent scores high on practicality and storage as it gets 19 cup holders for 2.4 beverages per person.
2021 Subaru Ascent Infotainment and Interior Features
The 2021 Ascent comes with a standard 6.5-inch touchscreen unit with six-speakers and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration. The Subaru's Starlink system is intutive and offers user friendly touch controls. There are physical knobs and controls that makes changing audio and climate settings easy for the driver. Premium and Limited models come standard with an eight-inch screen, along with voice controls and HD Radio. The top-range Ascent Touring adds navigation and premium Harman Kardon 14-speaker system, otherwise optional on Limited.
Some of the top 2021 Ascent interior features include:
- 19 cupholders
- Panoramic moonroof
- Heated and ventilated front seats
- Heated second-row seats
- Ten-way power driver's seat with power lumbar and two-position memory
- Starlink Multimedia
- 8-in. touchscreen
- 4G LTE Wi-Fi capability
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Tri-zone automatic climate control
- Which is better Subaru Ascent vs Honda Pilot?
- What features in the 2021 Subaru Ascent are most important?
2021 Subaru Ascent Exterior
"People will have their own thoughts on the outward beauty or otherwise of the 2021 Ascent. There's only so much a designer can do with a midsize SUV and stay within the realms of acceptability." - KBB
The 2021 Subaru Ascent, the midsize SUV is a good looking crossover but in front of rivals such as Hyundai Palisade or Kia Telluride, it looks average. For 2021, Ascent gains steering-responsive LED headlights with automatic high beams as standard. The exterior styling of Ascent is enhanced in the top two trims with fog lights lower-door cladding and chrome accents. The top-range Touring further add side mirrors in satin silver, chrome door handles, and a chrome skidplate up front. With 18-inch wheels on base and Premium trims, and standard 20-inch alloys on the Limited and Touring, Ascent looks fairly handsome.
The Ascent is 16.4 feet long and has a curb weight ranging from 4,430 for the base to 4,603 pounds for the Touring. Among the rivals, this Subaru is the heaviest because of its standard all-wheel drive. The boxer-engine configurations offer a low center of gravity to the SUV, making the drive balanced and handling sporty. Another advantage the Ascent offers is the highest ground clearance of 8.7 inches, making it a good off-roading SUV. You can get the 2021 Ascent in 8 color options, and the best-selling being the Crystal White Pearl, Ice Silver Metallic, and Crystal Black Silica.
- 2021 Subaru Ascent common problems and reliability
- Compare the dimensions of 2021 Subaru Ascent with Rivals
2021 Subaru Ascent Safety
"More standard safety equipment complements great crash-test scores in the 2021 Ascent." - The Car Connection
The 2021 Ascent earned the highest five-star rating from the NHTSA. IIHS gave the latest Ascent the 2021 Top Safety Pick + award. Moreover, changes for 2021 adds more safety features and driver-assist technologies as standard. The 2021 Ascent benefits from the lane-keeping assistance and lane-centering, advanced adaptive cruise control system, and the EyeSight suite of driver assistance tech. You also get seat belt reminders for second and third-row seats as standard on all models.
the most important standard safety features included in the 2021 Ascent are:
- EyeSight driver suite
- Forward automatic emergency braking
- Pre-collision throttle management
- Adaptive cruise control
- Lane departure and sway warning
- Head-up display
2021 Subaru Ascent Competition
2021 Subaru Ascent vs 2021 Toyota Highlander
The 2021 Toyota Highlander has been the most formidable rival in the segment by being the most-selling SUV of the year. But the Subaru Ascent is the most feature-loaded in the segment and also the fastest. It is also quite ahead in terms of practicality. So if you want an SUV with better MPG estimates, standard AWD, and a plethora of safety features then the Subaru Ascent outshines Highlander by far. However, Subaru Ascent is a bit expensive to maintain and not as reliable as the Highlander.
2021 Subaru Ascent vs 2021 Ford Explorer
Ford Explorer has been in this game of mid-size three-row SUVs since way before the Ascent arrived. Ford's EcoBoost engine lives up to its reputation of being punchy and efficient. It is also the most spacious car for passengers and cargo. However, the Subaru Ascent outshines the Explorer in terms of handling, standard equipment on offer, and class-leading safety features. The fact that Ascent's base model is about $2000 cheaper in comparison to Ford Explorer Base with the AWD setup, makes it a lot more value for money.``
Compare head to head:
- Which is better: 2021 Subaru Ascent or 2021 Chevrolet Traverse?
- Which is better: 2021 Subaru Ascent or Honda Pilot?
- Which is better: 2021 Subaru Ascent or Mazda CX-9?
2021 Subaru Ascent Final Verdict
The 2021 Ascent is a good midsize SUV which offers great versatility, and practicality for the price. With a strong powertrain, towing capability of 5,000 lbs, and ample cargo space, the Subaru Ascent is designed for large families. The flat-four engine is powerful and manages to get above average fuel economy. Most buyers will also be impressed with its standard safety features on board. For family SUV buyers, the Ascent is a great alternative with seating for eight or seven with optional second-row captain’s chairs. Another standout feature is Ascent's standard AWD capabilities which makes it a reliable all-season companion.
More from Subaru:
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- Check out the first look of the 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness
2021 Subaru Ascent 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.
2021 Subaru Ascent Consumer Reviews and Ratings
based on 84 ratings
2021 Subaru Ascent Overall Reviews
R. Aaron2021 Subaru Ascent
Premium 4dr SUV AWD w/8-Passenger (2.4L 4cyl Turbo CVT)
User Overall Rating
Posted On: June 2, 2021
The Highway Touring Ascent
Pros - Classic design, looks extremely amazing bonnet, grille design goes perfectly
Cons - Mpg is bit on lower side, headroom in rear is bit of an issue
The rudded urbanite The massive rail above and the metal protection from underneath the car makes driving more fun. Also the sliding tray in acrgo section is very helpful for offloading and unloading heavy cargo. A very good service department and for 7,500-mile service, I got my inspection done pretty well and a complimentary oil change. Great service from the beginning and got a good banker with all the proceedings done on time
Richard C. Wright2021 Subaru Ascent
Limited 4dr SUV AWD w/8-Passenger (2.4L 4cyl Turbo CVT)
User Overall Rating
Posted On: May 5, 2021
2021 Subaru Ascent
Pros - "Large cargo area Lengthy list of standard safety and tech features"
Cons - Cramped third row
Lengthy cargo Subaru My only gripe so far is that the unlock option on the driver's door handle only lets you choose between unlocking one of all four doors. There is no way to open the remaining doors with a second push. A great experience from start to finish! Brian and Wayne were friendly, knowledgeable, and weren’t pushy about the sale. In the end, I decided to complete the sale by the next day because I felt confident in the knowledge you provided us.
Jason J. Macedo2021 Subaru Ascent
Premium 4dr SUV AWD w/8-Passenger (2.4L 4cyl Turbo CVT)
User Overall Rating
Posted On: May 5, 2021
The ascending Subaru
Pros - "Generous standard features list Standard all-wheel drive"
Cons - Below-average predicted reliability rating
The Premium Ascent Easy dashboard controls, great acceleration and handling, very responsive steering, great interior space, sleek design What else would I mean except that I had a nice time with the Hatfield team and would consider popping in to try out a Subie? They were able to meet my needs despite the fact that I arrived from Cincinnati on short notice. Tim works as a business agent.