2022 Subaru Ascent
To play in today’s SUV market, you have to attract families to your vehicles. You give them three rows of seating, space enough for everyone and everything, and to give them enough traction so they can go anywhere they wanted to.
Leave it to Subaru to develop a vehicle for that market while sticking to what they do best: Produce vehicles with horizontally opposed engines that develop a lower center of gravity and offer standard all-wheel drive.
The result is the 2022 Subaru Ascent.
It has been on the market for a few years and have found a core of customers who have outgrown their Outbacks and Foresters for more space. We wanted to know whether the Ascent will not only satisfy loyal Subaru customers moving into a larger vehicle, but those looking an attainable three-row SUV that offers something different than the rest of the pack.
While it follows a lot of Subaru’s design conventions – and, is built on Subaru’s Global Platform – there are some unique touches the Ascent that stands out in its class. For example, the grille is larger for better airflow into the engine compartment.
The doors open much wider to allow for access into the third-row seats. You also have a distinct and quite upscale rear end treatment with a large liftgate for greater cargo access. In all, it has a very distinct Subaru look, which helps to invite its loyal customers to this larger SUV.
Our tester had the new-for-2022 Onyx Edition. This new trim level adds blacked-out treatments to the grille and other accents throughout the exterior. The finishing touch was a set of 20-inch black finished alloy wheels.
Inside the Ascent were more touches to the Onyx Edition, including a carbon fiber-like trim throughout the cabin, along with two-tone StarTex leather-like upholstery. Still, the basic elements to the Ascent are present in our tester, including an analog instrument cluster with a digital information center, another information screen on top of the center stack and an 8.0-inch STARLINK infotainment touchscreen with climate controls below.
We like the controls on this Subaru. They are tactile and logical to use. The shifter may seem short for some drivers, but it has a very assuring feel when you use it.
The front seats were fine. We would love a bit more bolstering and overall support behind the wheel. The Onyx Edition comes in a seven-seat configuration with second-row Captain’s Chairs instead of a bench seat.
Cargo space starts with a nice space behind the third row. Fold those seats down to a 47.0 cubic feet space behind the second-row seats. With the rearmost rows of seats down, you have a generous 86.0 cubic feet space for a big shopping trip.
The only engine available on the Ascent is a 260-horsepower turbocharged 2.4-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine. It’s 277 pound-feet of torque does help to pull this 4,472-pound SUV around quite nicely. This engine is connected to a continuously variable transmission and Subaru’s Symmetrical all-wheel drive system.
We experienced an average of 22.9 MPG in terms of fuel economy.
The ride quality is best described as solid. The suspension absorbs rougher road surfaces and does well away from the main roads. We did find some minimal lean and roll on the turns and through evasive maneuvers. The ride/handling mix was made for family journeys instead of going deep into the woods.
The steering system was OK. It exhibited a decent turning radius, but it felt a bit overboosted at times. On-center felt fine for us. The brakes were also pretty good with a solid pedal feel and feedback to the wheels. The Ascent turned in some good stops in normal and panic situation.
Pricing for the 2022 Subaru Ascent starts at $32,295 and is available in five different trim levels. Our Onyx Edition tester came with s sticker price of $41,320.
The Ascent is largest vehicle sold by Subaru and fits in a segment that families want the most – the mid-size three-row SUV. Its competitors include the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee L, Dodge Durango, Mazda CX-9, Toyota Highlander, Hyundai Palisade, Nissan Pathfinder, Honda Pilot, Volkswagen Atlas, Kia Sorento and Telluride.
Even in a crowded segment, the Subaru Ascent found a good following among the brand’s loyal customers. If you’re looking for something different in a family SUV, please take a good look at the Ascent. You might want to consider one for your family.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors