2022 Subaru Ascent review: Maestro of mainstream

The Subaru Ascent just isn’t essentially handsome, but it confident is handy.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Subarus are seldom the very best in their segment. Competing automobiles are inclined to glance nicer, supply extra capabilities and have superior interiors. But damn if these functional Japanese cars and trucks and crossovers aren’t normally a bedrock-reliable alternative, uncomplicated tips thanks to normal all-wheel generate and exemplary crash-examination scores. For drivers in have to have of a functional 3-row SUV, the 2022 Ascent completely epitomizes the Subaru manufacturer.


  • Common all-wheel generate
  • Stellar security rankings
  • Spunky acceleration

Really don’t Like

  • Spastic lane-retaining support
  • Meh interior quality
  • Not great to generate


The Onyx Edition trim is new for 2022, falling ideal in the center of the Ascent’s 5-trim lineup. Spicing items up, this variant arrives with a wide range of visual enhancements which include a blacked-out grille, black window trim, black badges and black mirror caps. The car rolls on twenty-inch wheels that are handled to — you guessed it — a black end. Inside, the carpeted ground mats characteristic exclusive logos and there are black interior accents.

Onyx Edition Ascents appear normal with LED head- and foglights, an vehicle-dimming rearview mirror, keyless entry with pushbutton start off, furthermore a electrical power liftgate and heated steering wheel. They also characteristic tri-zone local climate management and USB ports in all 3 rows. And if you happen to be really thirsty, 19 cup and bottle holders are provided at no further price tag.

A no-frills affair

The Onyx Edition Ascent’s interior is straightforward and utilitarian, but if you happen to be a frill-seeker you can want to glance elsewhere. The dashboard style and design is rugged (if a bit active), and attractively textured smooth plastics are liberally employed through the cabin. Perforated supplies and contrast-shade stitching enable keep items from looking far too dour.

But not all the things is praiseworthy. Some of the hardware buttons for the infotainment technique come to feel small rent and there’s a hodgepodge of chrome and painted-silver accents sprinkled through. Arguably, even though, the worst aspect of the Onyx Edition’s interior is the black plastic trim on the dashboard and doors. Glossy and embossed with a mesh texture, it appears terrible and feels worse, creating a “zizz-zizz” seem when you run your fingernails back and forth throughout it. This Ascent also arrives normal with StarTex artificial upholstery, which is water-repellent and dust-resistant. It would not come to feel any where in the vicinity of as pleasant as quality leather-based, but it really should be uncomplicated to clean and hold up to yrs of abuse, significant things to consider in a family hauler.

Uncomplicated, straightforward, wholesome… these are 3 words that accurately describe the Ascent’s interior. 

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The entry-degree Ascent capabilities a six.five-inch infotainment screen, but all other versions appear with an 8-inch touchscreen. Subaru’s Starlink multimedia array will not likely gain any splendor contests and it’s undoubtedly not the very best technique available right now, but it’s pleasant to use and responsive plenty of. Embedded navigation is optional in the Onyx Edition, though Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile are normal throughout the overall design selection.

The Ascent will get high marks for passenger ease and comfort. The entrance bucket seats are ergonomically pleasant and there’s a lot of room in the next-row captain’s chairs, which alter fore and aft and tip and slide for uncomplicated accessibility to the 3rd row. That aft-most bench is a minor limited on headroom (even though no worse than in rival automobiles), but it’s nevertheless decently relaxed due to the fact the base cushion is a great top above the ground, so your knees aren’t at chin degree when sitting back there. I also adore the minor get handles on the leading of the next-row seatbacks. They make accessing the 3rd row just a minor easier.

The Onyx Edition is made available in a 7-passenger configuration, even though the Ascent can seat up to eight persons. When it’s time to haul cargo, this car serves up seventeen.8 cubic feet of room with the 3rd-row seat up and 86.five with both back rows folded, figures that are in lockstep with competing styles.

Punching above its excess weight

Just 1 drivetrain is made available in the Ascent. Offering hustle is a 2.four-liter turbocharged boxer-four that is both smooth and discreet. This engine cranks out a respectable if not astounding 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. These figures are ideal in line with the heat other 3-row SUVs are packing these days. The Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, for occasion, both have a skosh extra horsepower, but this major, terrible Subie is endowed with a bit extra twist. Except if you depend the Dodge DurangoFord’s Explorer is about the only rival with a apparent advantage, its available three.-liter twin-turbo V6 handily outmuscling the competitors, specifically in ST trim.

This turbocharged boxer-four is smooth and amazingly strong. 

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The Ascent’s engine is matched solely to a repeatedly variable transmission, 1 that gives eight simulated gears when shifted manually. This device does an admirable occupation supplying robust functionality and great gas financial system. Many thanks to considerable torque and favorable gearing, this SUV nearly leaps off the line when you faucet the accelerator. This gusto carries as a result of to better speeds, far too. No, the Ascent just isn’t sports activities-car or truck speedy, but its functionality is robust. I do wish, even though, that the “gearbox” were being a bit smoother. This is an odd complaint for a CVT given that they don’t really, you know, change, but from time to time this transmission feels clunky, shuddering marginally at lower speeds.

Rounding out the Ascent’s powertrain is normal all-wheel generate, which is totally clear, at least in dry, summer season problems. This technique would be a godsend in wintertime slop or on wet roads, but it really should also enable make this SUV a steady towing platform. All in, the Ascent is rated to drag up to five,000 lbs, a figure that’s ideal in line with the competitors.

All round, the Ascent’s mechanicals really should get you twenty mpg in city driving and 26 mpg on the freeway. Merged, the Ascent is rated at 22 mpg, a figure I have managed to conquer with no substantially effort. According to the vacation computer, the Onyx Edition design I’m tests is returning an impressive 23.five mpg. Curiously, according to the EPA, lower-trim Ascents are marginally extra successful than better-conclusion styles.

You get course-aggressive amounts of cargo area in this Subaru.

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Refined and responsive, the Ascent’s powertrain is a winner, but the vehicle’s other dynamics could be improved. My chief complaint is the steering, which is loose and imprecise, far too light-weight on heart and extremely boosted. I get it, no one buys a 3-row SUV for canyon carving, but competing automobiles supply extra precise steering and come to feel nimbler than the Ascent.

This SUV’s ride quality is refined, neither so stiff that it crashes over bumps nor far too smooth that it wallows like a hog when hustled. The structure feels like it was carved out of a steel billet and is totally unyielding, with no quivering or shakes when driven over damaged roads.

Security valedictorian

That reliable foundation allows give great crash functionality, a significant thought of any family-oriented car. This Subaru earns a Best Security Decide Moreover ranking from the Insurance policies Institute for Highway Security, the optimum score the smash-’em-up organization arms out. The car gained “great” crash-examination scores throughout the board, arrives with great accident-avoidance technological innovation, has uncomplicated-to-use youngster-seat anchors and has vibrant LED headlights.”

The 2022 Subaru Ascent is a nicely-rounded 3-row SUV.

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The automaker’s Vision suite of driver aids is normal throughout the Ascent selection. This involves products like lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise management and computerized emergency braking. Lane centering is bundled, far too, even though it’s much from the very best available right now, consistently beeping when street markers conclusion or if you transform previous a selected place whilst cornering. This characteristic also tugs awkwardly at the wheel often, paradoxically creating it tougher to generate. Fortunately, lane centering is uncomplicated to switch off. Automatic high beams are provided at no further demand and all styles, help you save the foundation edition, appear with blind-spot checking and rear cross-site visitors notify.

In the thick of it

This 2022 Subaru Ascent Onyx Edition SUV checks out for an eminently fair $41,320 which include $one,one hundred twenty five in place expenses, a whole that’s ideal in line with the regular new-car transaction price these days. That figure is padded by a $2,200 selections package, which involves a panoramic sunroof, cargo-place deal with and adds embedded navigation to the Starlink infotainment technique. Not only is the Ascent a roomy, relaxed and extremely safe 3-row SUV, it’s also a robust benefit.

Even even though I’d fairly have a Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride or Honda Pilot, which are extra upscale and superior to generate, I are not able to fault any person for getting a Subaru Ascent. This family-hauler is an eminently reasonable alternative, 1 that’s in the thick of the 3-row SUV segment, competing on equivalent phrases with rivals like the Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer and Chevy Traverse.