2022 Subaru Ascent - Driven - story fullscreen Fullscreen

2022 Subaru Ascent - Driven

The Subaru Ascent comes with decent specs as standard, but misses out on some rather important stuff, too

There are a plethora of mid-size three-row SUVs that you can buy today, and the Subaru Ascent is one of them. The Ascent has some things going in its favor, like a standard all-wheel-drive system, smooth ride, etc., but it also has many things that will make potential customers look elsewhere. For starters, there’s the Continuously Variable Transmission that offers a supple ride, but comes with the infamous rubber band effect. The third-row isn’t the most spacious either. But, all that said, you get a whole lot of safety tech even in the base trims, amongst other things. We recently tested the Ascent, and here’s all you need to know about this SUV from Subaru.

  • 2022 Subaru Ascent - Driven
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2022 Subaru Ascent – Exterior

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The Subaru Ascent is available in five trims – Base (called the Ascent), Premium, Onyx Edition, Limited, and Touring. The model that we tested was Limited. The Subaru Ascent looks pretty good, in my humble opinion. Looks, of course, are subjective, but it’s got a please-all-offend-none design. Subaru has played it safe by offering a design that doesn’t look too flashy and one that will age gracefully. An SUV that can get lost in the mix, for sure.

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The Ascent features LED headlights and LED fog lamps in the trim. You also get body-colored mirrors and door handles. It comes with two wheel sizes, depending on the trim. The base and Premium trims come with 18-wheels – different finishes, though – whereas the other three trims ride on 20-inch wheels. The Limited and Touring models are finished in dark gray with a machine finish. The wheels are shod in 245/50 section all-season tires.

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There is a sliding panoramic moonroof standard on the Touring trim, but it’s optional on the Limited. The rear looks quite nice, with taillights extending to the side of the body and a chrome bar stretching across the tailgate connecting them. The Subaru Ascent is available in eight exterior shades:

  • Autumn Green Metallic
  • Brilliant Bronze Metallic
  • Crystal Black Silica
  • Crimson Red Pearl
  • Ice Silver Metallic
  • Magnetite Gray Metallic
  • Crystal White Pearl
  • Abyss Blue Pearl (Our test vehicle)

How Big Is The 2022 Ascent?

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The Subaru Ascent is offered in five trims - Base (called the Ascent), Premium, Onyx Edition, Limited, and Touring. Our test ride was the Limited model

The Subaru Ascent measures 196.8 inches in length, 0.3 inches longer than the Pilot, but two inches shorter than the Explorer. The Ascent is 76 inches wide, which is lesser than the 78.9-inch wide Explorer and the 78.6-inch wide Pilot. However, it is the tallest. It measures 71.6 inches in height, which is more than the Pilot and Explorer, which measure 70.6- and 69.9 inches tall.

Despite being just 0.3 inches longer than the Pilot, the Ascent’s wheelbase is 2.8 inches longer than the Pilot’s – 113.8- vs 111 inches. The Explorer takes the cake here with a 119.1-inch long wheelbase. As for the tracks, the Ascent’s front and rear tracks are 64.4- and 64.2 inches wide, respectively. It is less than both its rivals. The Explorer’s tracks are 67 inches wide and the Pilot’s are 66.3 inches wide at the front and back.

The angle of approach is the lowest on the Ascent – 17.6 degrees. The Pilot’s approach angle is 19.7 degrees, whereas the Explorer’s is the best, rated at 21 degrees. The 21.8-degree angle of departure on the Ascent is better than the Pilot’s 20.8 degrees and a little less than the Explorer’s 22 degrees. If ground clearance is your main criteria, then the Ascent will make you happy. It sits 8.7 inches off the ground. The Explorer and Pilot have ground clearance rated at 7.9- and 7.3 inches, respectively.

Ascent vs Explorer vs Pilot - Exterior Dimensions
Subaru Ascent Ford Explorer Honda Pilot
Length 196.8 198.8 196.5
Width 76 78.9 78.6
Height 71.6 69.9 70.6
Wheelbase 113.8 119.1 111
Front Track 64.4 67 66.3
Rear Track 64.2 67 66.3
Angle of Approach 17.6 21 19.7
Agle of Departure 21.8 22 20.8
Ground Clearance 8.7 7.9 7.3

How Much Does 2022 Ascent Weigh?

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The Subaru Ascent is the heaviest of the lot. It weighs 4,430 pounds, which is 85 pounds more than the 4,345-pound Ford Explorer and 389 pounds heavier than the Pilot, which weighs 4,041 pounds.

How Much Can The 2022 Ascent Tow?

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The Subaru Ascent can tow up to 5,000 pounds. This is a little less than the Explorer, which can tow 5,300 pounds, but a lot more than the Pilot that has a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.

2022 Subaru Ascent – Interior

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The cabin is a nice place to be and everything seems well laid. Behind the three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel is a digital-analog instrument cluster. The vertically slotted air vents on the center console on either side of the touchscreen look sweet. You get to choose from two upholstery options here – Slate Black Leather or Warm Ivory Leather. Our test ride featured the latter. As for the seating arrangement, the SUV can be had either with a bench seat for the second-row, or captain’s chairs. Our Ascent came with captain’s chairs, which makes it a seven-seater.

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The touchscreen you get here is an eight-inch StarLink that supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. All trims except for the base feature an eight-inch touchscreen. The base trim features a 6.5-inch touchscreen system. A six-speaker audio system comes as standard here, but a Harman Kardon system is optional.

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You get some other features here, like:

  • Tri-zone climate control
  • Power-adjustable front row seats
  • Heated front-row and second-row seats
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Push-button start
  • Power tailgate
  • Paddle shifters
  • 19 cup and bottle holders!

How Spacious Is The 2022 Ascent?

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In the front row, the Subaru Ascent offers 41.3 inches of headroom, 61.1 inches of shoulder room, 57.7 inches in hip room, and 42.2 inches of legroom. The Explorer comes with a headroom of 40.7 inches of headroom, 61.8 inches of shoulder room, 59.2 inches of hip room, and 43 inches of legroom. The Pilot offers 39.5 inches of headroom, 62 inches of shoulder room, 59.1 inches of hip room, and 40.9 inches of legroom.

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At the rear, you get 40 inches of headroom, 60.3 inches of shoulder room, 57.5 inches of hip room, and 38.6 inches of legroom in the Ascent. In the Explorer, you get 40.5 inches of headroom, 61.9 inches of shoulder room, 59.1 inches of hip room, and 39 inches of legroom. The Pilot, on the other hand, comes with 39.9 inches of headroom, 62 inches of shoulder room, 57.3 inches of hip room, and 38.4 inches of legroom.

Ascent vs Explorer vs Pilot - Interior Dimensions
Subaru Ascent Ford Explorer Honda Pilot
Front Headroom 41.3 40.7 39.5
Front Shoulder Room 61.1 61.8 62
Front Hip Room 57.7 59.2 59.1
Front Leg Room 42.2 43 40.9
Rear Headroom 40 40.5 39.9
Rear Shoulder Room 60.3 61.9 62
Rear Hip Room 57.5 59.1 57.3
Rear Leg Room 38.6 39 38.4

How Much Cargo Space Does The 2022 Ascent Offer?

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With all the seats in place, you have 17.8 cubic feet of cargo space in the Ascent, 18.2 cubic feet in the Explorer, and 16.5 cubic feet in the Pilot. The maximum cargo space in the Ascent is 86.5 cubic feet, 87.8 cubic feet in the Explorer, and 83.8 cubic feet in the Pilot.

2022 Subaru Ascent – Drivetrain

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The Subaru Ascent is powered by a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine that puts out 260 horses at 5,600 rpm and 277 pound-feet of torque between 2,000- and 4,800 rpm.

It comes standard with an all-wheel-drive system on all five trims. The gearbox, however, is a downer. Power is channeled to the wheels via a CVT, which is good as long as you’re soft on the A-pedal. In short, this gearbox isn’t for enthusiasts. Or, even for the ones looking at adrenaline rushes every now and then.

Here’s to give you an idea as to how much power the rivals make. The Explorer comes with many engine options, but a similarly displaced 2.3-liter, four-pot mill makes 300 ponies and 310 pound-feet of torque. The Honda Pilot is offered only with a single option, which is a V-6 that puts out 280 ponies and 262 pound-feet of twist. Both of them are mated to conventional automatic gearboxes. Also, unlike the Ascent, you can have them with either a two-wheel-drive or an all-wheel-drive system. In both the SUVs with the two-wheel-drive system, power is routed to the front wheels.

How Much Fuel Economy Does The 2022 Ascent Offer?

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The Subaru Ascent delivers 21 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 23 mpg combined. For the all-wheel-drive model, it dips by 1 mpg in every aspect. The Explorer returns 21 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 24 mpg combined, making it the most frugal of the lot. The Pilot delivers 19 miles in the city, 26 miles on the highway, and 22 miles combined for every gallon of fuel consumed.

How Much Does The 2022 Subaru Ascent Cost?

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Here’s how the 2022 Subaru Ascent is priced: Base Ascent - $32,295; Premium - $34,795; Onyx Edition - $37,995; Limited - $39,595; Touring - $45,445

Here’s how the 2022 Subaru Ascent is priced:

  • Base Ascent - $32,295
  • Premium - $34,795
  • Onyx Edition - $37,995
  • Limited - $39,595
  • Touring - $45,445

There is an additional destination fee of $1,050 as well.

Is The 2022 Subaru Ascent Better Than The Ford Explorer?

2021 Ford Explorer King Ranch Edition High Resolution
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The Ford Explorer prides on being ‘America’s all-time best-selling SUV’. The brand has been around for a very long time and is one of the safest bets you can have in the mid-size, three-row SUV segment. The 2021 model came with five trims, but the company upped the ante by adding three more trims for the 2022 model. One of them is the mid-trim ‘King Ranch’.

As stated earlier, the Ford Explorer comes with many engine options. One is them is a 2.3-liter, four-cylinder mill that puts out 300 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of twist. The V-6 EcoBoost displaces three liters and makes 400 ponies and 415 pound-feet of torque. The third option is a 3.3-liter hybrid that cranks out 318 horses and 322 pound-feet of oomph. It has a slightly better towing capacity when compared to the Ascent. The Blue Oval SUV can tow between 5,300- and 5,600 pounds, depending on the trim and configuration. As for the pricing, the 2022 Ford Explorer starts at $33,245 and goes up to $54,115.

Is The 2022 Subaru Ascent Better Than The Honda Pilot?

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The Honda Pilot is the SUV you should opt for if you want an SUV with a minivan spirit. It ticks all the boxes just fine, but there’s nothing that will excite you to the extreme. It is offered in six trims; one more than the Ascent and two less than the Explorer. All of them are equipped well for the price point they deal at. But, as is the case with most of the offerings in this segment, the third row is tight. Also, at a time when touchscreen systems are becoming highly important for customers, Honda, for some reason, is still taking it for granted in the Pilot.

The Honda Pilot is offered with only one engine option, which is a 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. A nine-speed automatic drives either the front wheels or all of them. All-in-all, you can’t go wrong with the Honda Pilot, but there’s probably nothing much to pull your heartstrings either. The 2022 Honda Pilot starts at $37,580 and goes all the way up to $49,870.

2022 Subaru Ascent – Packages

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Our test ride came with a $2,950 optional package equipped, which included:

  • Harman Kardon Audio System
  • Panoramic Moonroof
  • Eight-inch Touchscreen System with Navigation
  • Cargo-area cover

2022 Subaru Ascent – Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

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The safety and driver assistance features that you get in the Subaru Ascent Limited are:

  • Pre-Collision Braking System
  • Pre-Collision Throttle Management
  • Lane Departure and Sway Warning
  • Advanced Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Centering
  • High Beam Assist
  • Reverse Automatic Braking
  • Brake Assist
  • Brake Override System
  • Vehicle Dynamics Control
  • Rear-view Camera
  • TPMS

2022 Subaru Ascent – Warranty

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The Subaru Ascent goes up against the likes of the Honda Pilot and the Ford Explorer. Swipe up to read the in-depth review

These are the following warranties you get with a Subaru Ascent:

  • 3-year/36,000-mile Basic Warranty
  • 5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain Warranty
  • 5-year/Unlimited Mileage Rust Perforation
  • 3-year/36,000-mile 24/7 Roadside Assistance
Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Senior Editor, Truck Expert, EV Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a senior editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
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