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$33,345
Starting MSRP
$31,286
Starting Mkt Avg
TrueCar Rating
Owner Rating
Pros

Reputation for reliability. Standard all-wheel drive. IIHS Top Safety Pick+.

Cons

Engine is noisier and less refined than most competitors. Limited third-row space.

Verdict

The 2021 Subaru Ascent possesses all of the Outback's appeal and capability with more seats and space. We recommend the Subaru Ascent to shoppers looking for a high-quality, family-friendly SUV that is exceedingly safe, sure-footed in nasty weather, and fun to drive.

Pros

Reputation for reliability. Standard all-wheel drive. IIHS Top Safety Pick+.

Cons

Engine is noisier and less refined than most competitors. Limited third-row space.

Verdict

The 2021 Subaru Ascent possesses all of the Outback's appeal and capability with more seats and space. We recommend the Subaru Ascent to shoppers looking for a high-quality, family-friendly SUV that is exceedingly safe, sure-footed in nasty weather, and fun to drive.

Overview

A three-row crossover with standard all-wheel drive, the 2021 Subaru Ascent is the brand's largest vehicle and one of our favorites in the midsize-SUV class. With its comfortable and well-appointed interior, smooth ride, long list of available features, and class-leading safety, the Ascent is extremely family-friendly. It's responsive and fun to drive thanks to its standard turbocharged 260-horsepower engine, all-wheel drive, and sturdy structure. Every Ascent is also equipped with a third-row seat, although rivals such as the Chevrolet Traverse, Kia Telluride, and Hyundai Palisade offer considerably more third-row space.

Subarus are known for their toughness, and the Ascent isn't afraid of a dirt road. Its suspension soaks up rough terrain and its class-leading 8.7 inches of ground clearance can tackle mild trails as well. Even the Jeep Grand Cherokee doesn't match that number. If there's a drawback to its high stance, it's the reduced aerodynamics that result in middling fuel economy. Considering all the benefits of the Ascent's rugged setup, it's a reasonable trade-off.

What's New for 2021

The 2021 Subaru Ascent is nearly identical to last year's model. However, Subaru has improved and expanded the availability of some safety features. The SUV's adaptive LED headlights are now standard on all models along with high beam assist, adaptive cruise control featuring lane centering, and lane-keeping assist. The Ascent also gets seatbelt reminders for its second and third row so passengers don't forget to buckle up.

2021 Subaru Ascent Trim Comparison

Standard
Optional
Unequipped

* Additional Options Available

Standard
Optional
Unequipped

* Additional Options Available

Starting MSRP

Starting Market Average

MPG

Engine

Blind Spot System

Lane Keep Assist

Moonroof

Front Heated Seats

Cruise Control

Climate Control

Proximity Keyless Entry

Bluetooth

Bluetooth Streaming Audio

Apple CarPlay

Android Auto

Wheel Size

Starting MSRP

$33,345

Starting MSRP

$35,845

Starting MSRP

$40,645

Starting MSRP

$46,495

Starting Market Average

$31,280

Starting Market Average

$34,331

Starting Market Average

$38,741

Starting Market Average

$44,460

MPG

21 city/27 hwy

MPG

21 city/27 hwy

MPG

20 city/26 hwy

MPG

20 city/26 hwy

Engine

2.4L H4 Turbo

Engine

2.4L H4 Turbo

Engine

2.4L H4 Turbo

Engine

2.4L H4 Turbo

Blind Spot System

Blind Spot System

Blind Spot System

Blind Spot System

Lane Keep Assist

Lane Keep Assist

Lane Keep Assist

Lane Keep Assist

Moonroof

Moonroof

Moonroof

Moonroof

Front Heated Seats

Front Heated Seats

Front Heated Seats

Front Heated Seats

Cruise Control

Cruise Control

Cruise Control

Cruise Control

Climate Control

Climate Control

Climate Control

Climate Control

Proximity Keyless Entry

Proximity Keyless Entry

Proximity Keyless Entry

Proximity Keyless Entry

Bluetooth

Bluetooth

Bluetooth

Bluetooth

Bluetooth Streaming Audio

Bluetooth Streaming Audio

Bluetooth Streaming Audio

Bluetooth Streaming Audio

Apple CarPlay

Apple CarPlay

Apple CarPlay

Apple CarPlay

Android Auto

Android Auto

Android Auto

Android Auto

Wheel Size

18"

Wheel Size

18"

Wheel Size

20"

Wheel Size

20"

Trims and Pricing

The 2021 Subaru Ascent comes in four trim levels: Base, Premium, Limited, and Touring. All models come with standard all-wheel drive and an impressively long list of high-tech driver aids and safety systems.

The base model starts at $33,345 (including delivery fee). For the best value, we suggest stepping up to the Premium trim level, which costs about $2,500 more. It adds important features including blind-spot detection with lane change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, an eight-way power driver's seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, Wi-Fi capability, and a larger 8-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system.

Starting at $40,465, the Limited model is furnished with luxuries such as keyless entry, push-button start, power rear liftgate, and leather-trimmed upholstery. We enjoyed the standard power sunroof and heated steering wheel in the top-trim Ascent Touring test vehicle, which costs $46,495. You'll find similar pricing for the Toyota Highlander and slightly higher prices for the most expensive Honda Pilot.

This is what others paid nationwide for a 2021 Subaru Ascent Base
How to Use the TrueCar Price Graph

The TrueCar Price Graph shows you new car sales data in a way that helps you easily recognize a fair price for a vehicle similar to the one you want. The vertical bars represent what people in your area recently paid for similar vehicles. These transactions don’t include dealer documentation, administrative, or similar processing fees.

How to Use the TrueCar Price Graph

The TrueCar Price Graph shows you new car sales data in a way that helps you easily recognize a fair price for a vehicle similar to the one you want. The vertical bars represent what people in your area recently paid for similar vehicles. These transactions don’t include dealer documentation, administrative, or similar processing fees.

  • What is MSRP?

    MSRP stands for Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, sometimes also known as the sticker price. Because this price is only a suggestion, a dealer can choose to sell a vehicle above—or, more often, below—MSRP.

  • What is Market Average?

    Based on actual recent transactions other buyers have made, the Market Average shows you the average price others paid for vehicles similar to the one you want, while taking into account that most of these vehicles have different option combinations from the ones you specified.

  • Statewide, Regional, and National Data

    If there are insufficient transactions in your area, we calculate your Market Average by gathering statewide, regional, or national data. Because this data can come from a large geographical area it may not be as representative of your local market.

MSRP
$33,345
Market Average
$31,286
Avg Savings off MSRP
6.2% off
Customize Yours
Excellent Price
Great Price

5% - 9% off MSRP

$30,282 - $31,397

Fair Price
High Price
402
sales
763
sales
448
sales
186
sales
Select Style
Nationwide Data

This graph helps you recognize a fair price for the Subaru Ascent by displaying national new car sales transactions from the past 30 days. This data can come from a large geographical area, so may not be as representative of your local market. The prices have been normalized to account for transactions involving different configurations of this model.

Engine and Performance

Every 2021 Ascent is equipped with a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with an unusual flat (or horizontally opposed) engine layout. Subaru has used this engine design, which it calls a "boxer" engine, for nearly 50 years in essentially all of its models. With 260 horsepower, it gets the SUV off the line well. The engine is also respectably smooth, but some may find its sound unrefined compared to the more conventional inline four-cylinder engine designs and V6s in this class. There's also plenty of passing power on the highway as the Ascent's continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT for short) is one of the best of its type. Drivers can also have some fun with the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. This powertrain, along with the Ascent's standard all-wheel drive, allows the SUV to tow up to 5,000 pounds. This is in line with competitors such as the Chevrolet Traverse, Hyundai Palisade, and Volkswagen Atlas.

We like the Ascent's steering because it's tight, quick, and responsive while not being too heavy or overly isolated. It gives the SUV a sporty feel along with its composed suspension and reassuringly firm brake pedal. The Ascent is athletic on a twisty road, maneuverable around town, and easy to park. It's also quiet inside and delivers a relaxed full-size gait on the highway. We would gladly set out on a cross-country road trip in the Ascent: swallowing several states whole in a single day.

Fuel Economy

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates the Ascent's fuel economy with 18-inch wheels to be 21 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined. With the 20-inch wheels (which are standard on the upper trim levels), its ratings dip to 20 mpg city, 26 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined. In our Ascent Touring on 20-inch wheels, we averaged 20 mpg in mixed driving around Los Angeles.

The Ascent's fuel economy is about average for its class. Many midsize SUVs are EPA-rated to deliver about the same miles-per-gallon as the Subaru. However, there are hybrids in this class that get vastly better fuel economy than the rest of the pack. The 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is rated at 36 mpg city and 35 mpg highway, and the Toyota Venza is rated at 40 mpg city/37 mpg highway.

2021 Subaru Ascent Exterior Photos

Interior

Open a door and you'll be impressed by the design and craftsmanship of the Subaru Ascent's interior. The simple cabin is stylish and modern without being extreme. It's also very well put together. Everything feels solid and the controls are exactly where you expect them to be. You can pilot this SUV for hours and emerge feeling fresh. Headroom and legroom are abundant in the first two rows, but the third row is tight for adults. Its second row slides and reclines for additional comfort while its seats are heated if you upgrade to the Limited or Touring trim levels. Interior storage is also abundant, as we counted 19 cupholders throughout the cabin. Mochaccinos for everyone!

With its seats in place, the Ascent provides 17.8 cubic feet of cargo space. There's quite a bit of storage under the cargo floor which is great for keeping items out of sight. With the third row folded flat, cargo space increases to 47.5 cubic feet. With both the second and third rows folded, the Ascent has 86.5 cubic feet of space. Those are above-average numbers for its class. Only the much larger Chevrolet Traverse offers significantly more space for passengers and cargo.

Infotainment & Connectivity

Subaru made a clear effort to keep its infotainment system simple even though it contains all the cutting-edge features expected at this price point. We appreciate that. The base model offers both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and gets a 6.5-inch touchscreen (the other trim levels have an 8-inch screen). Although there are larger screens available in the class, the size of the Subaru's interface never feels insufficient. In the Premium model, the system also adds Wi-Fi capability. Navigation is optional on the Limited and included on the Touring. The Harman Kardon QuantumLogic surround-sound system (a Limited and Touring trim option) sounds good but doesn't knock our socks off, even with 14 speakers. Our test car also had six USB ports, including two inputs in the front section of the center console and two charging ports in the rear section of the center console.

2021 Subaru Ascent Interior Photos

Safety

Subarus are known for their safety and crash protection, and the 2021 Ascent has the highest possible safety ratings from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). NHTSA awarded it five stars and IIHS named it a Top Safety Pick+. Standard driver aids and safety systems are extensive and include adaptive cruise control with lane centering, automatic emergency braking and Pre-Collision Throttle Management, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist. Blind-spot detection with both lane-change assist and rear cross-traffic alert are available, along with a front-view monitor that displays a 180-degree view.

Subaru Ascent vs. the Competition

Overall, the 2021 Subaru Ascent holds up extremely well compared to its many competitors. Its performance, dynamics, build quality, ground clearance, comfort, and safety are standouts in a crowded class. If you want more third-row space, check out the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade or the Chevrolet Traverse; the Kia and the Hyundai also come with a longer warranty than the Subaru. If ultimate fuel economy is what you're after, go for a hybrid. Toyota offers two in this class, the Highlander Hybrid and the Venza, and they're both impressively fuel-efficient. Some may find the Subaru's infotainment screens small compared to competitors, but the Ascent's system is one of the most user-friendly in the segment.

Subaru Ascent Owner Reviews

Based on 161 Reviews
Overall Satisfaction
4.8
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
Fuel Efficiency
4.0
Safety Technology
5.0
Features
5.0
All Reviews
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
Fuel Efficiency
3.0
Safety Technology
5.0
Features
5.0
pros
Seating. Detail to trim. Safety
cons
Not yet a hybrid.
Submitted by Sheldon L on Jan 22, 2021|2021 Subaru Ascent Touring 7-Passenger|Purchased on Dec 2020
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
Fuel Efficiency
5.0
Safety Technology
5.0
Features
5.0
pros
The color and Java brown interior
cons
I like this vehicle
Submitted by Touraine J on Jan 16, 2021|2021 Subaru Ascent Touring 7-Passenger|Purchased on Dec 2020
5.0
Performance
5.0
Comfort
5.0
Fuel Efficiency
5.0
Safety Technology
5.0
Features
5.0
pros
It is comfortable and stylish. I just love my new Ascent!
cons
Wish the automatic start was on the key fob not an app on your phone.
Submitted by K D on Jan 10, 2021|2021 Subaru Ascent Limited 8-Passenger|Purchased on Dec 2020

2021 Subaru Ascent FAQs

At first glance, the Ascent's interior is a departure stylistically from past, more utilitarian Subaru appointments. It feels sleek and sophisticated, with high-quality materials and styling that compete with some luxury brands that are considerably more expensive. But subtle details remind drivers that this is still a Subaru. While many rivals have opted for a high-mounted "floating" infotainment screen, Subaru still builds theirs into the center stack. The cabin is spacious, with front headroom and legroom near the top of the class.

The Subaru Ascent made its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November of 2017, but it didn't go on sale until nearly a year later in late 2018. The Subaru Ascent's first model year was 2019.

The Subaru Ascent has been in production since 2018 and is made at Subaru of Indiana's manufacturing plant in Lafayette, Indiana.

There are four available trims for the Subaru Ascent: Standard, Premium, Limited, and Touring. All-wheel-drive, Hill Descent Control, and other traction management systems are standard. The Standard trim has a starting price of about $32,500 and comes with a power liftgate, cloth upholstery, and a 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen. The Touring configuration starts at $45,500 and adds second-row captain's chairs, heated and ventilated front seats, and a 14-speaker Harman Kardon Quantum surround-sound audio system.

People who viewed the 2021 Subaru Ascent also considered

The Starting Market Average is a proprietary mathematical calculation based on actual recent transactions. It provides a statistically accurate understanding of what other buyers are paying for the least expensive configuration of this vehicle. Adjustments to the calculation beyond make, model, and trim are normalized based on detailed, anonymized transaction information. This accounts for the fact that most or all recently-sold vehicles included different option combinations. The data underlying the Starting Market Average calculation are filtered for extreme outliers and subjected to a weighted averaging process that considers factors such as the recency of transactions and the timing of data lags. In certain instances, the calculated result is adjusted to take account of abrupt changes in the market that may not yet be fully reflected by recent transaction prices. In all cases where the Starting Market Average is shown there is sufficient sample size and transaction detail to be statistically reliable.