Buyer's Guide

2021 Subaru Ascent
Select a Different Model (6 Available): Base
Fuel Economy $ 21 / 27 mpg
Cargo (Std/Max) 18/87 cu.ft.
Seating (Std/Max) 8/8
Horsepower 260@5,600
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2021 Subaru Ascent MODEL OVERVIEW


  • Peppy turbocharged engine
  • Good interior materials
  • Excellent safety scores


  • Third row cramped for adults
  • The way the CVT simulates fake gears
  • Uninspired exterior design

Subaru's biggest vehicle ever is the Ascent, a three-row family-oriented SUV. Introduced for the 2019 model year, the Ascent offers seating for up to eight passengers and diverse cargo capabilities. Like Subaru's best-known cars, it has a turbocharged engine and AWD. The Ascent focuses on safety, which is made even better with new standard features added for 2021.

What's New

  • Adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams
  • Adaptive cruise control now has lane keep assist
  • Second- and third-row seatbelt monitor function
  • Perforated black leather, silver stitched seating upholstery offered on Touring trim
  • Improved tire pressure monitoring system

What We Think

As one of our favorite vehicles in the three-row SUV segment, the Subaru Ascent has diverse appeal and makes a good value proposition.

Don't discount the Ascent's four-cylinder engine. Low-end torque is strong, and it feels peppy. Handling is tuned for stability and comfort, but the Ascent has athletic reflexes, nonetheless.

As a family vehicle, the Ascent succeeds. Some 19 cupholders, air vents in each row, and sliding second-row seats are all standard. Like others in this segment the third row is sized for kids, but the seats ahead are wide and roomy. There's a great deal of cargo space when the rear seats are folded. Attractive interior finishes make it a nice place to spend time.

The Ascent's excellent safety scores are commendable. Subaru's EyeSight driver-assist suite works well, though it can be excessively beepy. Drivers will appreciate the standard AWD.

In a segment full of competitive entrants, the Ascent places near the top. It's not necessarily the most stylish, but in terms of feel and function it's easy to like.

Performance and Fuel Economy

The Ascent's engine is a turbocharged 2.4-liter flat-4 that produces 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. It's connected to a CVT automatic and standard AWD. MotorTrend testing has measured 0-60 mph acceleration times between 6.9 and 7.5 seconds. EPA-rated fuel economy comes to 21/27 mpg city/highway, but it falls to 20/26 mpg on Limited and Touring trims on account of their larger wheels.


The Ascent earns a five-star overall safety score (out of five stars) from the NHTSA, and 2020 Top Safety Pick + designation from the IIHS.

All 2021 Ascent trim levels feature adaptive cruise control with lane keep assist, lane departure warning, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and adaptive headlights. Higher-end trims gain blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and reverse automatic braking.

Cargo Space and Interior Room

Cargo capacity behind the Ascent's third row measures 17.8 cubic feet. With the third row folded, it increases to 47.5 cubic feet. Maximum capacity behind the first row is 86.5 cubic feet.

Depending on trim level, the Ascent can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

As standard, the Ascent is configured as an eight-seater with a second-row bench seat, but optional second-row captain's chairs turn it into a seven-seater. Front-row headroom measures 41.3 inches (40.1 inches with a moonroof), which compares to 40.1 inches in the Honda Pilot. Second-row headroom is 40.0 inches (38.7 inches with a moonroof) in the Ascent, while the Pilot offers 40.2 inches. Third-row headroom is 36.3 inches in the Ascent, a bit less than the Pilot's 38.9 inches.

Front-row legroom is 42.2 inches in the Subaru, better than 40.9 inches in the Honda. Second-row legroom is closer, measuring 38.6 inches in the Ascent and 38.4 inches in the Pilot. Third-row legroom is split by the same margin, at 31.7 inches in the Ascent and 31.9 inches in the Pilot.


The entry-level Ascent trim has a 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen, while all other trims have an 8.0-inch unit. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all; built-in navigation and a front-view camera are included on the range-topping Touring trim. Two USB ports in the first and second rows are standard, while third-row USB ports are included on higher-end trims. A six-speaker audio system is included on all trims except the Touring, which has a 14-speaker Harman Kardon premium setup.

Top Features by Trim

2021 Subaru Ascent

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Power liftgate
  • Eight-passenger configuration
  • Three-zone climate control

2021 Subaru Ascent Premium

  • 8.0-inch infotainment touchscreen
  • Second-row climate controls
  • Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
  • Windshield wiper de-icer

2021 Subaru Ascent Limited

  • 20-inch alloy wheels
  • Keyless entry with push-button start
  • Leather seating upholstery
  • Third-row USB ports

2021 Subaru Ascent Touring

  • Panoramic moonroof
  • 14-speaker premium audio system
  • Second-row captain's chairs
  • Third-row USB ports

Key Competitors:

Engine Name
Engine: 4-Cyl Turbo 2.4 Liter BOXER
Transmission Name
Transmission, Continuously Variable Automatic Mode Select with Manual Mode
Full-Size Utility
Standard MPG
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Fuel Type
Unleaded Regular
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Package Invoice Retail
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Corrosion Warranty Miles
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IIHS Best Pick
NHTSA Rating Front Driver
Not Rated
IIHS Front Moderate Overlap
NHTSA Rating Front Passenger
Not Rated
IIHS Front Small Overlap
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Not Rated
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Not Rated
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NHTSA Rating Rear Side
Not Rated
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Not Rated
Amount Description Expiry Date
$500 Subaru announces a Lease Loyalty program which allows current lease customers to have their first payment and disposition fees waived when leasing a new vehicle through SMF. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 12-31-2021
$500 Subaru announces Military Discount program to active-duty and reserve members of the US Military. [Regional Incentive. See dealer for availability.] 12-31-2021
$0 0% Financing available for varying term lengths : 24, 36, 48, 63 Months - Subaru announces APR rates on select models. 02-01-2021
$0 0.9% Financing for a maximum term of 72 Months - Subaru announces APR rates on select models. 02-01-2021