2022 Subaru Ascent review: Maestro of mainstream

The Subaru Ascent is not essentially good-looking, but it surely certain is helpful.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Subarus are hardly ever the very best of their section. Competing automobiles are likely to look nicer, provide extra options and have higher interiors. But rattling if these sensible Japanese automobiles and crossovers aren’t at all times a bedrock-solid selection, straightforward suggestions thanks to plain all-wheel drive and exemplary crash-test scores. For drivers in want of a sensible three-row SUV, the 2022 Ascent completely epitomizes the Subaru model.


  • Standard all-wheel drive
  • Stellar security scores
  • Spunky acceleration

Don’t Like

  • Spastic lane-keeping help
  • Meh inside high quality
  • Not nice to drive


The Onyx Edition trim is new for 2022, falling proper within the center of the Ascent’s five-trim lineup. Spicing issues up, this variant comes with a range of visible enhancements together with a blacked-out grille, black window trim, black badges and black mirror caps. The car rolls on 20-inch wheels which might be handled to — you guessed it — a black end. Inside, the carpeted ground mats function particular logos and there are black inside accents.

Onyx Edition Ascents come commonplace with LED head- and foglights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, keyless entry with pushbutton begin, plus an influence liftgate and heated steering wheel. They additionally function tri-zone local weather management and USB ports in all three rows. And should you’re actually thirsty, 19 cup and bottle holders are included at no further price.

A no-frills affair

The Onyx Edition Ascent’s inside is trustworthy and utilitarian, however should you’re a frill-seeker you will need to look elsewhere. The dashboard design is rugged (if a bit busy), and attractively textured delicate plastics are liberally employed all through the cabin. Perforated supplies and contrast-color stitching assist maintain issues from wanting too dour.

But not the whole lot is praiseworthy. Some of the {hardware} buttons for the infotainment system really feel low hire and there is a hodgepodge of chrome and painted-silver accents sprinkled all through. Arguably, although, the worst half of the Onyx Edition’s inside is the black plastic trim on the dashboard and doorways. Glossy and embossed with a mesh texture, it seems dangerous and feels worse, making a “zizz-zizz” sound while you run your fingernails forwards and backwards throughout it. This Ascent additionally comes commonplace with StarTex artificial upholstery, which is water-repellent and dirt-resistant. It does not really feel anyplace close to as good as high quality leather-based, but it surely ought to be straightforward to wash and maintain as much as years of abuse, necessary issues in a household hauler.

Simple, trustworthy, healthful… these are three phrases that precisely describe the Ascent’s inside. 

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The entry-level Ascent contains a 6.5-inch infotainment show, however all different variations include an 8-inch touchscreen. Subaru’s Starlink multimedia array will not win any magnificence contests and it is actually not the very best system accessible at this time, but it surely’s pleasant to make use of and responsive sufficient. Embedded navigation is non-compulsory within the Onyx Edition, although Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are commonplace throughout your complete mannequin vary.

The Ascent will get excessive marks for passenger consolation. The entrance bucket seats are ergonomically pleasant and there is a lot of area within the second-row captain’s chairs, which regulate fore and aft and tip and slide for simple entry to the third row. That aft-most bench is a bit of tight on headroom (although no worse than in rival automobiles), but it surely’s nonetheless decently comfy as a result of the underside cushion is an effective peak above the ground, so your knees aren’t at chin degree when sitting again there. I additionally love the little seize handles on the highest of the second-row seatbacks. They make accessing the third row just a bit simpler.

The Onyx Edition is obtainable in a seven-passenger configuration, although the Ascent can seat as much as eight individuals. When it is time to haul cargo, this car serves up 17.8 cubic ft of area with the third-row seat up and 86.5 with each again rows folded, figures which might be in lockstep with competing fashions.

Punching above its weight

Just one drivetrain is obtainable within the Ascent. Providing hustle is a 2.4-liter turbocharged boxer-four that’s each clean and discreet. This engine cranks out a decent if not astounding 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. These figures are proper in step with the warmth different three-row SUVs are packing as of late. The Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, as an illustration, each have a skosh extra horsepower, however this huge, dangerous Subie is endowed with a bit extra twist. Unless you depend the Dodge DurangoFord’s Explorer is about the one rival with a transparent benefit, its accessible 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 handily outmuscling the competitors, particularly in ST trim.

This turbocharged boxer-four is clean and surprisingly potent. 

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The Ascent’s engine is matched solely to a constantly variable transmission, one that gives eight simulated gears when shifted manually. This unit does an admirable job offering sturdy efficiency and good gasoline economic system. Thanks to plentiful torque and favorable gearing, this SUV virtually leaps off the road while you faucet the accelerator. This gusto carries by way of to increased speeds, too. No, the Ascent is not sports-car fast, however its efficiency is powerful. I do want, although, that the “gearbox” had been a bit smoother. This is an odd grievance for a CVT since they do not actually, you recognize, shift, however sometimes this transmission feels clunky, shuddering barely at decrease speeds.

Rounding out the Ascent’s powertrain is commonplace all-wheel drive, which is totally clear, at the very least in dry, summer season situations. This system can be a godsend in winter slop or on moist roads, but it surely also needs to assist make this SUV a secure towing platform. All in, the Ascent is rated to pull as much as 5,000 kilos, a determine that is proper in step with the competitors.

Overall, the Ascent’s mechanicals ought to get you 20 mpg in metropolis driving and 26 mpg on the freeway. Combined, the Ascent is rated at 22 mpg, a determine I’ve managed to beat with out a lot effort. According to the journey pc, the Onyx Edition mannequin I’m testing is returning a formidable 23.5 mpg. Curiously, in accordance with the EPA, lower-trim Ascents are barely extra environment friendly than higher-end fashions.

You get class-competitive quantities of cargo room on this Subaru.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Refined and responsive, the Ascent’s powertrain is a winner, however the car’s different dynamics may very well be improved. My chief grievance is the steering, which is free and imprecise, too gentle on middle and overly boosted. I get it, no person buys a three-row SUV for canyon carving, however competing automobiles provide extra exact steering and really feel nimbler than the Ascent.

This SUV’s trip high quality is refined, neither so stiff that it crashes over bumps nor too delicate that it wallows like a hog when hustled. The construction feels prefer it was carved out of a metal billet and is totally unyielding, with no quivering or shakes when pushed over damaged roads.

Safety valedictorian

That stable basis helps present wonderful crash efficiency, a significant consideration of any family-oriented car. This Subaru earns a Top Safety Pick Plus ranking from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the very best rating the smash-’em-up group arms out. The car obtained “good” crash-test scores throughout the board, comes with wonderful accident-prevention expertise, has easy-to-use child-seat anchors and has vibrant LED headlights.”

The 2022 Subaru Ascent is a well-rounded three-row SUV.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

The automaker’s EyeSight suite of driver aids is commonplace throughout the Ascent vary. This consists of gadgets like lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise management and automated emergency braking. Lane centering is bundled, too, although it’s miles from the very best accessible at this time, always beeping when street markers finish or should you flip previous a sure level whereas cornering. This function additionally tugs awkwardly on the wheel typically, paradoxically making it tougher to drive. Fortunately, lane centering is straightforward to change off. Automatic excessive beams are included at no further cost and all fashions, save the bottom model, include blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

In the thick of it

This 2022 Subaru Ascent Onyx Edition SUV checks out for an eminently cheap $41,320 together with $1,125 in vacation spot charges, a complete that is proper in step with the common new-vehicle transaction value as of late. That determine is padded by a $2,200 choices bundle, which features a panoramic sunroof, cargo-area cowl and provides embedded navigation to the Starlink infotainment system. Not solely is the Ascent a roomy, comfy and extremely protected three-row SUV, it is also a robust worth.

Even although I’d fairly have a Hyundai Palisade, Kia Telluride or Honda Pilot, that are extra upscale and higher to drive, I can not fault anybody for getting a Subaru Ascent. This family-hauler is an eminently logical selection, one which’s within the thick of the three-row SUV section, competing on equal phrases with rivals just like the Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer and Chevy Traverse.

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