2022 Subaru Ascent FAQ Review

Christian Wardlaw, Independent Expert | Sep 14, 2021

Subaru means different things to different people. For example, if you live where the snow flies regularly, it means getting to where you need to go with a minimum of hassle. Similarly, if you love to drive hard and fast on varying road surfaces, it means access to a street-legal turbocharged rally car. And if you're a parent, models like the 2022 Subaru Ascent provide the safety, security, and utility you seek in a family-oriented vehicle.

What's new for the 2022 Subaru Ascent? - Find the best Subaru deals!

For 2022, the Ascent enters its fourth year of production since its 2018 debut as Subaru's largest model. The 3-row midsize crossover SUV sees no changes aside from adding a new Onyx Edition trim level, which resides right in the middle of the lineup.

The new 2022 Subaru Ascent Onyx Edition has blacked-out exterior trim, black 20-inch aluminum wheels, and water-repellant StarTex simulated leather upholstery. It includes the features found on the Ascent Premium and adds passive keyless entry, a power rear liftgate, a heated steering wheel, and a reverse automatic braking system.

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2022 Subaru Ascent Onyx Edition Blue Front Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

What are the 2022 Subaru Ascent configurations?

Including the new Onyx Edition, Subaru offers the 2022 Ascent in five trim levels: Standard, Premium, Onyx Edition, Limited, and Touring. They all come with a standard turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, all-wheel drive (AWD), and a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

What is the 2022 Subaru Ascent price?

Pricing for the 2022 Ascent ranges from $32,295 to $45,445, and Subaru says the values are unchanged from 2021. The destination charge to ship the SUV from Subaru's Indiana factory to your local dealership is $1,125.

What is the 2022 Subaru Ascent cargo space?

Measured with all three rows of seats in use, the 2022 Ascent can carry 17.8 cubic feet of vertically stacked cargo in its trunk (17.6 cubic feet with the available panoramic sunroof). Fold the third-row seat down and volume measures 47.5 cubic feet behind the second-row seat (47 cubic feet with the sunroof). The maximum capacity is 86.5 cubic feet (86 cubic feet with the sunroof).

What is the 2022 Subaru Ascent gas mileage?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a 2022 Subaru Ascent with 20-inch wheels should return 22 mpg in combined driving. On the evaluation route, the test vehicle averaged 20.5 mpg. This figure, multiplied by the SUV's 19.3-gallon fuel tank, results in a driving range of 395 miles.

Is the 2022 Subaru Ascent safe?

Based on crash tests, the Ascent is a safe SUV. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the SUV a 5-star overall rating. The Ascent gets 5-star ratings in all individual assessments except for rollover resistance, where it earns a 4-star rating.

The 2022 Subaru Ascent safety rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is "Top Safety Pick+." That's the highest one available from the organization.

What is the 2022 Subaru Ascent towing capacity?

Subaru says a properly equipped 2022 Ascent can tow up to 5,000 pounds. I've had the opportunity to tow a sizable camper with the Ascent briefly, and while you're certainly aware of the weight, the Subaru has no trouble handling such tasks on flat, level ground.

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For this review, I evaluated the new 2022 Ascent Onyx Edition. It came with Abyss Blue paint and the optional package that installs a panoramic sunroof, a navigation system, and a cargo cover. The total price came to $41,320, including the $1,125 destination charge.

How is the 2022 Subaru Ascent interior?

2022 Subaru Ascent Onyx Edition Interior Dashboard Seats

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

If you're already acquainted with Subaru's interior designs, you'll feel right at home inside the 2022 Ascent, which feels tall and narrow from the driver's seat.

You face analog gauges separated by a skinny strip of a driver information center, stacked infotainment and climate controls with lots of buttons and knobs, and a third information display at the top of the dashboard. Smatterings of buttons here and there control this and that, and a handy shelf runs the width of the dashboard. The layout is straightforward, but the look is increasingly dated.

Subaru uses soft-touch materials where you're likely to contact the cabin, and the Onyx Edition has exclusive carbon-weave dashboard trim for a sporty appearance. The seats have 2-tone upholstery in a dark and light gray color scheme. Quality is what you would expect in this segment and at this price point.

Is the 2022 Subaru Ascent comfortable?

The answer to this question is dependent on where you sit, which version of the SUV you choose, and the weather conditions.

Subaru touts the Ascent's 8-passenger capacity, but you'll need to mix-and-match adults and kids to hit that number. And if you get the Ascent Onyx Edition or the Ascent Touring, a second-row bench seat is unavailable, limiting the SUV's capacity to seven people. The Touring, however, does come with ventilated front seats, a feature desperately needed for the Onyx Edition (and perhaps the Limited, too).

Unfortunately, the Onyx Edition's water-repellent upholstery also traps moisture against your body. So, if you're wet when you get into it, you're going to be moist (or at least damp) when you get out of it. Needless to say, this is unpleasant. But, you do get the look of leather without worrying that rain and snow will ruin the seats.

Aside from this, the Ascent's driver's seat is quite comfortable, and on chilly days the heated cushions are a gift. Upgrade to Limited trim for a broader adjustment range, a heated steering wheel, and heated second-row seat cushions. Unfortunately, no version of the Ascent comes with a height-adjustable front passenger's seat.

The Ascent's rear doors open wide, to nearly a 90-degree angle. That makes loading the rear rows of seats easier unless you're wedged into a tight parking space with vehicles on either side. The Onyx Edition's captain's chairs have sturdy inboard hooks that appear ready to accept heavy coats or school backpacks, a nice surprise-and-delight feature. Limited and Touring trims include side window sunshades.

Taller and larger adults will not find the Ascent's third-row seat acceptable for anything but a short trip. Generally speaking, these locations are best reserved for children.

Does the 2022 Subaru Ascent drive itself?

No, the Subaru Ascent does not drive itself. Currently, there are no vehicles available in the United States equipped with a hands-free Level 3 advanced driving assistance system (ADAS), let alone Level 4 or Level 5.

The Ascent does, however, include a standard collection of ADAS grouped under the EyeSight brand name. Among several systems in EyeSight, a Level 2 hands-on driving assistance system employs adaptive cruise control and a lane-centering assistance system. The idea here is to make long highway drives easier.

Just know that when you're driving toward the sun, EyeSight's performance is sketchy. During testing, direct late afternoon sunlight caused intermittent problems with EyeSight's stereo cameras, diminishing the performance and availability of the safety systems.

The Ascent's lane-centering technology proved a regular source of irritation when traveling in a direction other than straight into the setting sun. And the Subaru's tall and narrow configuration seemed to amplify its course corrections. I found the Ascent far more enjoyable to drive without the lane-centering assistance system.

Does the 2022 Subaru Ascent have AWD?

Yes, the Ascent has AWD, and unlike with most of this Subaru's rivals, it is standard equipment.

Subaru's AWD system includes an active torque split function that continually varies power delivery between the front and rear wheels as is necessary, while the X-Mode off-road traction technology and hill-descent control system ensure impressive off-roading capability. With 8.7 inches of ground clearance, the Ascent provides greater blizzard-busting and off-roading ability than other midsize 3-row crossover SUVs.

A turbocharged 2.4-liter boxer-type 4-cylinder engine powers the Ascent. It makes 260 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 277 pound-feet of torque between 2,000 rpm and 4,800 rpm. The Ascent offers impressive acceleration regardless of elevation, but it feels especially powerful in the mountains compared to the normally aspirated (non-turbocharged) power plants found in many competitors.

A CVT feeds the power to all four of the SUV's wheels, and it features eight programmed ratios and manual shift control via paddles on the steering wheel. As CVTs go, the Ascent's is a decent one, only rarely behaving in a way that calls attention to its operation.

Is the 2022 Subaru Ascent fun to drive?

Yes, the Ascent can be fun to drive, but usually only when faced with a challenge of some kind. That challenge can come in the form of speed humps and bumps, sets of railroad tracks, foul weather, or a dirt or gravel road. In such situations, the Ascent's unique talents, in combination with its turbocharged engine, delivers some driving satisfaction.

When the sun is out and the roads are clear, the Ascent is less impressive. It can feel too tall and tippy or soft and wobbly. If you're using EyeSight's lane-centering assistance, you'll find yourself trying to override the technology regularly. Aside from its quickness away from traffic lights and down freeway on-ramps, the Ascent is a bit of a bummer.

Unexpectedly, then, when you take a Subaru Ascent with 20-inch wheels on a twisting road, you may find it surprisingly enjoyable to drive. No doubt, the standard active torque split AWD and decent CVT contribute to this impression, but so does the Ascent's comparatively low center of gravity and excellent roll control.

Of course, if you decide to tackle a trail in the Ascent, this Subaru is ready to get you to where you want to go—within reason, of course. This thing isn't ready to tackle the Rubicon Trail, but it can handle a lumpy 2-track down to the lake without any trouble.

IS THE 2022 SUBARU ASCENT A GOOD SUV? - Find the best Subaru deals!

2022 Subaru Ascent Onyx Edition Blue Rear Quarter View

Photo: Christian Wardlaw

According to consumer-sourced data published by J.D. Power, the Subaru Ascent is not a leader in its segment concerning dependability, quality, or appeal. And while Subaru as a brand is a leader in terms of resale values, among 3-row SUVs, the Ascent does not reside at the head of its class.

However, this doesn't mean Subaru's family hauler isn't a good choice. Its turbocharged engine works well at altitude, whether you live in a place like Denver or you regularly head for the mountains. It also boasts top-notch safety ratings and is a good value overall.

In other words, when you grow out of a Forester or an Outback, the Ascent looks, feels, and drives like a natural replacement for the Subie you already know and love.

What is the 2022 Subaru Ascent competition? - Find the best Subaru deals!

With the 2022 Ascent, Subaru competes with other 3-row crossover SUVs. The list is a long one, but the primary alternatives include the:

Christian Wardlaw is a veteran digital automotive journalist with over 25 years of experience in test-driving vehicles. In addition to JDPower.com, his work has appeared in numerous new- and used-car buying guides, newspapers, and automotive industry trade journals.

The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.

No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2021 J.D. Power

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