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2020 Subaru Ascent Trim Levels with Comparisons & Configurations.

2020 Subaru Ascent Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: Base vs Premium, Limited & Touring
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

What 2020 Subaru Ascent Trim Level Should you Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

People tend to lump all SUVs together. In reality, there are a lot of different types out there. For starters, they come in compact, midsize, and large sizes. They also are usually geared toward different things. Some are meant to have the most possible space, some are performance-oriented, and others still are meant to take you off the beaten path.

In 2019, Subaru introduced a new midsize SUV to the market. It is known as the Ascent and it aims check all of the potential boxes for this vehicle type. It has three rows of seats and the standard symmetrical all-wheel-drive people have come to expect from Subaru. For 2020, the vehicle gains power-folding side mirrors as well as a standard rear seat reminder.

When looking at the Ascent, you will have four different trim levels to choose from. The entry-level, which is simply known as the Ascent, has enough tech and convenience features to appeal to many families. Moving up through the trim levels contributes to towing capacity, safety features, and more.

In this guide, all four trim levels are thoroughly explained. Knowing the differences between them is crucial to deciding which one may be right for your needs.

Compare the 2020 Subaru Ascent Base vs Premium Trims. What is the difference?

There is only one powertrain option for the 2020 Subaru Ascent. It is a 2.4L turbocharged BOXER four-cylinder that is exclusive to Subaru. By combining the fuel-efficiency of direct-injection and power of turbocharging, the Ascent delivers the best of both worlds. The engine is good for 260-horsepower as well as 277 lb-ft of torque. Working alongside this engine is a continuously variable automatic transmission. For the base Ascent, the maximum towing capacity is 2,000 pounds.

All versions of the Ascent also come with what is known as "X-Mode." This is a set of features that are aimed at increasing traction on low friction surfaces. X-Mode optimizes the all-wheel-drive system, transmission ratio, and engine output in order to give you superior performance.

There are other features found on all models of the Ascent that are aimed at upping its performance. They include hill descent control, vehicle dynamics control, a traction control system, and active torque vectoring. You also get standard trailer stability assist, which helps monitor for unsafe conditions and can apply the brakes when necessary. An even better feature for some people is the 8.7" of ground clearance, which makes this a great off-roading vehicle.

You get a decent list of exterior features on the entry-level Ascent. It sits on 18" aluminum-alloy wheels with a stylish silver finish. You get black folding side mirrors and body-color door handles. As for lighting, this trim comes equipped with projector-beam halogen headlights. All versions of the Ascent also give you convenient raised roof rails.

The interior of the Ascent is definitely spacious. With the back two rows folded down, a whopping 86.5 cubic feet of space is revealed. Both rows fold completely flat and seats can be folded down in many different combinations. This is great for loading a wide variety of passengers and cargo.

For the driver, there is a six-way manually adjustable seat. Both the second and third rows are bench seats that have a reclining feature. All entry-level versions of the Ascent seat eight people. Cloth seats are the standard on this trim.

Subaru gives you many convenient interior features in their entry-level model of the Ascent. Coming standard are automatic windshield wipers that are linked to your headlights. You also get auto up and down front windows with anti-pinch protection. The steering wheel gets audio and cruise controls, as well as paddle shifters. There are nineteen cupholders arranged throughout the cabin.

Everyone can stay cool in this trim level thanks to the tri-zone automatic climate control. When it comes to entertainment, the entry-level Ascent has a 6.5" multimedia system as well as a six-speaker audio system. Your infotainment system includes smartphone integration through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Every model gives you a high-resolution rear-vision camera.

The popular EyeSight Driver Assistance Technology package can be found on all versions of the Ascent in 2020. This gives your vehicle adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane departure featuring sway warning, and automatic pre-collision braking. This feature can bring your Ascent to a complete stop in emergency situations. All models also come standard with a keyless entry system as well anti-theft security system that includes an engine immobilizer.

Families can tweak the base Ascent to best fit their needs by adding items from the accessory list. Examples of what is available include sunshades for the second and third row, a cargo net, crossbars for the roof, and a bike carrier capable of holding up to four bikes. Also available on all trim levels is the auto-dimming exterior mirror that features approach lights. When unlocking your Ascent with the key fob, this feature activates lights on the mirrors and doors that help to illuminate your path.

Next up on the trim level is the Premium trim level. Although essentially identical to the base model mechanically speaking, it does get its towing rating bumped up to 5,000 pounds. The standard wheels are still 18" but have a gray finish. You have the option of upgrading to 20" dark gray aluminum-alloy wheels as well.

This trim looks a bit different with its body-color folding side mirrors. The Premium also adds a windshield wiper de-icer. Optional for this model is a power tilting and sliding panoramic moonroof. This 54" moonroof is great for giving your rear passengers more light and air.

Inside, the Premium trim level really shows up the entry-level model. It gives you eight-way power adjustment for your driver's seat. This trim also gives you standard heated front seats. The cloth upholstery gets an upgrade and becomes stain-resistant, something sure to appeal to families with young kids. Adding some class to the Premium trim is a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

Although seating for eight remains standard, this trim gives you the option of second row captain's chairs. Doing so adds some luxury to the Ascent but also reduces the seating capacity to seven. There are many optional features for this trim as well. You can add keyless access with push-button start, PIN code vehicle access, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. Another great optional feature is the power rear gate with a height memory function. With this equipped, you can close the gate with one touch of a button, which also locks the entire vehicle.

There are some tech grades associated with the Premium trim level. It gets a built-in WiFi hotspot. You also gain dual USB ports in the front and second rows. The second row even gets its own set of climate controls. Your infotainment system gets an 8" screen and navigation becomes an available feature.

The Premium trim even adds some extra safety features. You get standard blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and lane change assist. Optional on the Premium trim is reverse automatic braking.

STARLINK safety and security features are added on the Premium trim. This adds many, many things, including remote engine start and climate control. It can also help you find your vehicle if it is stolen, give you diagnostic reports, and call for roadside assistance.

Although the Premium hits the wallet harder than the entry-level Ascent, it more than earns it with its added standard and available features.

Compare the 2020 Subaru Ascent Premium vs Limited Trims.  What is the difference?

Your next Ascent to consider is known as the Limited. This trim sits on the 20" wheels with dark gray finish standard. It gets body-color heated side mirrors that have turn signals built-in. As for lighting, you get LED fog lights as well as steering-responsive headlights.

When you step inside of the Limited, you will notice 10-way power adjustment with lumbar support for the driver. The front passenger seat also gains eight-way power adjustment. You get heated second row seats as well as a heated steering wheel. Leather trim is added to the upholstery and as an accent to the doors and dash. The captain's chairs in the second row remain optional. In the second row, you will now find standard sunshades.

The keyless entry, push-button start, PIN code entry, and auto-dimming rearview mirror become standard for the Limited trim. Dual USB ports can now be found for the first, second, and third rows. While the six-speaker stereo system remains the norm, you can now choose to add an eight-speaker Harmon Kardon premium system instead.

As far as safety, the Limited trim adds the reverse automatic braking as standard equipment. It also gives you the option of adding high beam assist. This feature has the ability to detect oncoming vehicles and switch between high and low beams.

The Limited trim costs nearly five thousand dollars more than the Premium. Whether or not it has the features to justify this major price hike is somewhat debatable.

Compare the 2020 Subaru Ascent Limited vs Touring.  What is the difference?

Those interested in getting the ultimate Ascent will want to look into the Touring trim level. Setting it apart from other trims are the satin chrome power-folding side mirrors with turn signal integration. This is the only model that gives you the power moonroof as a standard feature.

With this trim, you get ventilated front seats. This trim comes standard with the second row captains chairs and cannot have the bench seat. One unique interior design touch you will find in the Touring is the woodgrain-patterned accent trim. The Touring trim upgrades to a smart auto-dimming rearview mirror. This mirror uses a dedicated camera to help give you excellent visibility behind your vehicle, even when there are obstructions in your path. It is the only trim to give you a 120-volt power outlet.

Infotainment wise, you get navigation added as a standard feature to your 8" multimedia system. The fancy Harmon Kardon eight-speaker system also becomes standard here. This trim adds what is known as the 180-degree front-view monitor. With this, blind spots are eliminated when trying to park your Ascent.

Once again, you are looking at a price increase of about five thousand dollars when moving to the Limited to the Touring. This top-of-the-line trim is pretty pricey and really does not add a great deal to the Ascent.

Which Trim to Choose?

When choosing a 2020 Subaru Ascent, it is hard to make a wrong pick. Even the entry-level model is impressive with its standard all-wheel-drive, tri-zone automatic cliamte control, smartphone integration, and more. The Premium level is also quite attractive with its more comfortable seating and available upgrades.

While both the Limited and Touring trim add some bells and whistles, there is not really much there, especially when considering the price jumps. Many of their upgrades, such as the reverse automatic braking and navigation, are available to add to the Premium.

At the end of the day, the smart buy here for most consumers will be the Premium. It upgrades your towing capacity to 5,000 pounds and gives you the bigger infotainment screen. All-in-all, it is a fine vehicle for daily driving as well as weekend adventures with the family.
Used 2020 Subaru Ascent:
Previous Subaru Ascent Trim Configurations:

Compare the 2019 Subaru Ascent Trim Levels