Best & Worst Subaru Ascent Years

I've analyzed every Subaru Ascent car model from 2019 until the latest car model and categorized the best & worst years in this simple guide.

In this guide, I’ll analyze all Subaru Ascent generations, the best Subaru Ascent years to buy, and the worst Ascent years to avoid.

Armed with data and reviews from trusted sources such as the NHTSA, Consumer Reports, and Kelley Blue Book, we meticulously evaluate Ascent’s performance across various metrics.

This article will highlight the key findings of our investigation of different Subaru Ascent models’ performance, reliability, safety, common problems, recalls, and resale values.

Let’s dive right in!

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Table of ContentsShow

Subaru Ascent Generations

The Subaru Ascent, introduced in 2019, marked Subaru’s re-entry into the three-row SUV segment.

It featured Subaru’s standard symmetrical all-wheel drive, a robust 2.4L turbocharged engine, and an array of safety features, including the EyeSight Driver Assist Technology.

The Ascent stood out for its spacious interior, offering comfortable seating for up to eight passengers and ample cargo space, making it a strong contender in its class.

Here’s an overview of the Subaru Ascent generations:

1st generation2019-Present

The generational changes, particularly in features and specifications, can be significant for potential buyers.

Subaru Ascent Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

In our assessment of the best and worst years for the Subaru Ascent, we consider a comprehensive array of factors, including:

  • Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Safety ratings
  • Consumer Reports reliability scores
  • Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
  • NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
  • Edmunds owner ratings
  • JD Power owner ratings
  • Kelley Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
  • VehicleHistory owner ratings
  • owner ratings

The upcoming graph amalgamates all the combined ratings from these sources, offering a comprehensive overview of the Subaru Ascent’s performance over the years.

Subaru Ascent Car Smite Score Combined Overall Score

Here’s a table categorizing each model year of the Subaru Ascent into best, neutral, and worst years based on extensive research and data compilation.

GenerationBest YearWorst Years
1st generation2022

In our categorization, the “Neutral Years” represent a balanced option, offering standard reliability without significant issues or exceptional accolades.

It’s crucial to note that factors such as NHTSA recalls negatively impact our rankings. A higher number of complaints and recalls generally indicates a decrease in the vehicle’s reliability.

Let’s dive into the Subaru Ascent’s best, neutral, and worst years.

Best & Worst Years for Subaru Ascent 1st Generation (2019-Present)

Subaru Ascent 1st generation 2019 model
The 2019 Subaru Ascent

The Subaru Ascent, aimed at families needing extra room, was equipped with three rows of seats, standard all-wheel drive, and Subaru’s EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, promising a secure and comfortable ride.

The model years from 2022 to 2024 are the best years for the first-gen Subaru Ascent, while 2019 and 2020 are the worst years to avoid.

The Best Years: 2022, 2023, 2024

The 2022, 2023, and 2024 Subaru Ascent models represent the best years of the first generation, showcasing the culmination of Subaru’s efforts to refine and perfect the vehicle.

These years retained the robust 2.4L turbocharged BOXER engine, delivering 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque, coupled with a refined Lineartronic CVT that ensured both responsive performance and fuel efficiency, with EPA estimates around 21 city/27 highway MPG.

Subaru enhanced Ascent’s safety features during these years, introducing more advanced versions of the EyeSight system with additional functionalities like lane centering and emergency lane keep assist, contributing to its IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award.

The infotainment system saw upgrades for increased user-friendliness, including larger touchscreens and more intuitive interfaces across all trim levels – from the base model to the luxurious Touring trim, which featured leather upholstery, ventilated seats, and a panoramic sunroof.

Despite their advancements, 2022-2024 Subaru Ascent models maintained Subaru’s commitment to safety and reliability without significant issues reported, solidifying their status as the best years for the Ascent.

The Worst Years: 2019, 2020

What are the Subaru Ascent years to avoid? The 2019 and 2020 models of the Subaru Ascent faced challenges that marred their initial market reception.

These early models were plagued with issues ranging from the electrical system, notably battery drain problems linked to the power rear gate, to transmission troubles characterized by slipping and unexpected shifts.

The windshield’s susceptibility to cracks without impact was a peculiar and recurring complaint among owners. Some owners also reported vibration and shuddering during braking.

Recalls were numerous, addressing critical concerns like the potential for engine shutdown due to a PVC valve separation, fuel pump failures that could stall the vehicle, broken drive chains, faulty transmission hydraulic sensors showing incorrect hydraulic fluid pressure, and a risk of fire from a ground terminal issue.

These problems, particularly in crucial areas such as the engine and transmission, significantly undermined consumer confidence in the Ascent’s reliability, making these years the least reliable for purchase.

See NHTSA 2019, 2020 Subaru Ascent recalls and complaints.

Subaru Ascent Resale Values

Discover the Subaru Ascent’s average resale values over time with this detailed and informative graph.

Subaru Ascent Average List Price


What year is best for the Subaru Ascent?

After careful review, we recommend 2022-2024 as Subaru Ascent’s best model years for their enhanced features and reliability. We advise that you avoid the 2019 and 2020 models due to their reported issues.

What features do you value most in a family SUV like the Subaru Ascent, and why?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

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Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.