2020 Subaru AscentPerformance • Comparisons
Action, adventure and rustic desires are intrinsic characteristics of the new 2020 Subaru Ascent. Merging urban style and adventurous attributes, this versatile mid-sized SUV is ready to go anywhere. With enough space to hold several friends and family members, the 2020 Subaru Ascent makes it easy to take everyone along on your next excursion.
Priced moderate to high for its specific class of SUVs, the 2020 Subaru Ascent is ripe with the latest technology and advanced safety features. Materials of exceptional quality and a variety of trim levels that make upgrades easy make the Subaru Ascent easy to fall in love with. A cabin that exudes flexibility and comfort makes this mid-size SUV mimic a minivan-like feel. With new and improved attributes for the 2020 model, this SUV has only gotten better with time.
What’s New for 2020?
Small changes make the biggest differences. Though the modifications to the 2020 model year Subaru Ascent are minute, they provide drivers and passengers with some of the most requested upgrades. One of the most useful upgrades that the 2020 Subaru Ascent has seen is the implementation of an all new system, called a Rear Seat Reminder. This notification reminds drivers and passengers of any items or people left in the back seat by giving an audible warning and visual light notification on the dash display. This is a long-desired innovation intended to reduce the risk of leaving some of the most important passengers in your car unattended, which are children.
Other technological features have been introduced in the 2020 Subaru Ascent, including one touch interior light controls that begin to emerge in the Premium trim level. Also, users can lock the entire vehicle via touch button on the rear liftgate, and power folding mirrors with integrated lights are included in the top Touring trim level.
The Pros and Cons of the 2020 Subaru Ascent
✅ Unbridled Spatial Potential
Going on a new adventure is no fun in a cramped, uncomfortable vehicle. The Subaru Ascent has enough room to fit up to 8 passengers comfortably and safely. Equipped with three rows of seating, buyers have the option of purchasing a 7-passenger or 8-passenger configuration. The ability to hold just over 86 cubic feet of cargo and potential to fold down the second- and third-row seats of this SUV is a notable facet.
✅ Spicy Engine with an Attitude
Typically, SUVs are not expected to be quick or agile, but the 2020 Subaru Ascent proves us wrong with its quick response and powerful acceleration. A 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission provides unexpected power and impressive towing capacity.
✅ Exceptional Road Trip Potential
Whether you desire to travel across the country or go to a local venue, the 2020 Subaru Ascent is ready to go. The durable nature of this vehicle combined with an All-Wheel Drive drivetrain allows drivers to take on any terrain with confidence. Up to 5,000 lbs. of towing capacity allows plenty of power for towing a camper or boat, while a body constructed of high-strength steel provides a quiet ride. Storage compartments and cubby space provide additional storage for passengers, while roof racks make exterior storage simple and secure.
✅ Versatility to Benefit Your Family
Along with a spacious, expansive cabin, the Subaru Ascent offers captain’s chairs in the second row for easy maneuvering, 19 cup holders, a power liftgate and a panoramic moonroof. Meeting the standard is not enough for the Subaru Ascent. This mid-sized SUV reaches for the stars, offering unlimited connectivity via Wi-Fi, Subaru STARLINK® and USB charging ports. For those who love choices, a second-row bench seat is available, as well as additional features through various package options.
✅ Comfort and Convenience Features to Impress
Though only available on the top two trim levels, the 2020 Subaru Ascent offers more interior comfort features and adaptive controls that one could ever imagine. Complete with a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats for the cold winter months and a memory driver’s seat with power-adjustments trimmed in leather that is perfect for any weather, this mid-sized SUV strives to improve comfort and convenience in every aspect.
❌ Road Noise Upon Exertion
Though the quiet road noise of the 2020 Subaru Ascent is commonly boasted, there are times when it can overpower control features. Standard tires contribute to much of this excess noise, as well as engine exertion when powering up long grades on the highway or times of brisk acceleration.
❌ Third-Row Seating Downfall
Despite the benefits of the expansive cabin the 2020 Subaru Ascent has to offer, the space within the third row of seats in this SUV falls short of competitors. While this is certainly something to take into consideration, it is a minor detail in the overall versatility and comfort of this 7- to 8-passenger auto.
Configurations / Trim Levels
Trim levels allow individual consumers to upgrade the features they find the most useful and desirable in their specific vehicle. It allows vehicles to stand out from others, provides a better resale value and improve vehicle features that are already present in a safe and procedural manner. The 2020 Subaru Ascent offers four different trim levels for consumers to choose from with each option intensifying from the previous.
While some features are incorporated in certain models, they are available as upgrades in others. Still yet, some accents and elements are not available on specific models. This gives class and prestige to models that can have it all and not be replicated. Each trim level increases the overall price of a Subaru Ascent by approximately $5,000, which is a small price to pay for all the benefits of the incorporated attributes that go with each trim level. While any driver would be lucky to have a 2020 Subaru Ascent, buyers can take it to the next level if they so desire.
The 2020 Subaru Ascent is the most economical version of this SUV and incorporates key features into its overall design and functionality. Some of the most notable features within this trim level include a Symmetrical AWD Drivetrain featuring X-MODE®, providing extra control on varying road conditions, third-row flexible seating with multiple configuration availability and EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology, which includes a suite of innovative safety features. Other commendable features that are specific to this model include Subaru STARLINK® Multimedia complete with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ connectivity options, roof rails, 18” alloy wheels and a Standard Rear-Seat Reminder System.
In addition to these features, the base model can attain 27 hwy mpg and 21 city mpg fuel efficiency with its Subaru BOXER turbocharged engine. It solely incorporates 8-passenger seating via a second-row bench seat, halogen headlights, folding side mirrors in black and a driver’s seat that allows for 6-way adjustments. These inherent aspects set the base model apart from all other models.
The Premium model includes all the facets of the base trim level and adds a few more upgrades for consumers. These upgrades consist of:
- 4G LTE Wi-Fi integration and capability
- Towing capacity of 5,000 lbs.
- Upgraded Subaru STARLINK® system complete with Safety and Security.
- Heated front seats in the All-Weather Package
- Convenient climate control panel for rear passengers.
Many aspects set the Premium apart from other models, including a driver’s seat with 8-way adjustability, dual USB ports in the front and second-row, second-row climate control and an 8-inch multimedia infotainment screen. Drivers also love the choice they have between a second-row captain’s chairs or bench seat. While other models may incorporate some of these features, no others merge all these together in such a compatible fashion.
Moving on to the next trim level, and price bracket, the Subaru Ascent begins to offer some of the more premium features that consumers desire.
- Leather Upholstery
- Heated front and second-row seats in the All-Weather Package
- Power Lift Gate in the rear.
- Push-Button Start and Keyless Access
- Memory function driver’s seat with 10-way power controls.
The Subaru Ascent Limited includes additional attributes that are paired differently or non-existent on other models. This trim level is where premium features really start to come into play. Fuel efficiency decreases slightly to 26 hwy mpg and 20 city mpg, due to its larger wheel size and all-season tire upgrades. This is a small price to pay for enhanced appearance and durability. Body color accents begin to emerge in this model, giving the vehicle a composed look. LED headlights, power adjustable passenger seats, heated second-row seating, leather upholstery and keyless access with a push-button start also make an appearance.
At the top of the trim level pyramid sits the regal Subaru Ascent Touring, complete with the best of all features and widest variety of configurations. While this model features the highest price point, it also offers the best of every feature and option. In addition to all other features incorporated in trim levels below it, the Subaru Ascent Touring adds Java Brown upholstery that is leather-trimmed and exclusive to this model, captain’s chairs for second-row seating, a complete STARLINK Multimedia Navigation System and a premium Harman Kardon audio system complete with 14 speakers and an equivalency of 792 watts. Additional features that set this vehicle apart from the rest include a panoramic power moonroof with unprecedented views and a front-view monitor with 180-degree visual capabilities.
This Subaru Ascent Touring is for those buyers who want nothing short of the best. This vehicle is complete with a Smart auto-dimming rearview mirror equipped with HomeLink, woodgrain interior accents, a second-row sunshade, power tilt moonroof and satin chrome side mirrors with power-folding capabilities. The tedious nature of design elements that are incorporated in this trim level give the Subaru Ascent Touring a prestigious look with all the versatility of the models before it.
For a detailed comparison of these trim levels, see our recent research into the 2020 Subaru Ascent Trim Level Comparisons and Configurations. ›
Driving Impressions and Performance
Since this SUV is made for adventure, it is only natural that consumers would be intensely intrigued by the overall performance and ability of the Subaru Ascent’s powertrain. Complete with Subaru’s signature All-wheel drive drivetrain, the Ascent is ideal for family road trips during any time of year. The 2.4-liter 4-cylinder turbocharged powertrain sets this vehicle up for quick acceleration, but optimal power for pulling small loads. Drivers have cited that the Ascent is one of the quicker vehicles in its class.
The Ascent is equipped with a CVT (continuously variable transmission) that responds well and holds power evenly. The powertrain setup of this mid-sized SUV aides in the surprising responsiveness and abruptness of command performance, even at slow city speeds. Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifts are also available, which allow for more control and ease of use.
Depending on the model that is chosen, and the subsequent attributes, the 2020 Subaru Ascent varies from a fuel efficiency of 26-27 hwy mpg and 20-21 city hwy mpg. The lower trim levels can attain slightly better fuel mileage, while the two upper level trims see a bit of a decrease in these measurements. Equipped with a fuel tank capacity of 19.3 gallons and running off unleaded gasoline, drivers have no constraints on where they can go based on these standard attributes.
Unlike other facets, the Subaru chassis is identical for all models. Electric power assisted steering, independent suspension, 4-wheel disc brakes, brake assist, and a brake override system are uniform among all trim levels. Similarly, all stability and traction controls are uniform across all Subaru Ascent models. From the X-MODE functionality to Hill Descent Control to Trailer Stability Assist all Subaru’s are created equal in this aspect.
If boating or camping is your desire, the Subaru Ascent has you covered. With a towing capacity of 2,000 to 5,000 lbs., drivers do not have to choose between taking their family on an adventure or towing a load. Many consumers attribute this ability to Subaru’s new BOXER engine that packs quite the punch. In fact, this Subaru’s towing capacity is the highest of any model in the history of this automaker. Trailer Stability Assist helps this vehicle remain in control when towing, which helps make trailering convenient and sturdy, even for novices. Drivers can enhance their adventure with roof rails equipped for carrying recreational items, such as bikes or kayaks.
When it comes to traveling with friends and family, safety is the top priority. Even the best vehicle with lackluster safety attributes simply will not do. Fortunately, buyers do not have to worry about that with the 2020 Subaru Ascent. Buyers do not have to just take our word for it. The IIHS (International Institute for Highway Safety) agrees, giving the Ascent “Good” safety ratings in all categories. Side impact, roof strength, head restraint and rear crash protection tests all fared well in national testing events.
Some of the most notable safety features that are available on the Ascent that also set it apart from competitors include Reverse Automated Braking that assists in applying brakes automatically if an obstacle is detected while in reverse or moving backward, EyeSight Assist Monitoring that helps drivers acknowledge warnings and system status notifications via a head-up display visual and a Safety Plus Package that offers automated collision notifications to first responders, improved roadside assistance and emergency assistance features.
The 2019 and 2020 Subaru Ascent also received 5-star ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. We like to think that the Ascent’s extensive safety suite has something to do with this. Features like forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings, lane-keep assist, and adaptive cruise control help prevent accidents, even when drivers are not the most attentive.
In general, Subaru is committed to making vehicles safer and integrating technology that makes doing so easier than ever. Known as an industry leader in safety innovation, Subaru introduced its DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System. As one of the first of this kind, this system includes the Ascent’s mentionable Subaru EyeSight technology. Some of this technology, including Subaru EyeSight, also allows drivers to save on their auto insurance by facilitating safer driving.
With an expanded wheelbase that is wider than most competitors, the 2020 Subaru Ascent provides an extra spacious cabin to passengers. Open and spacious, the cabin feels even more freeing when the power moonroof is retracted. Though all mid-sized SUVs fall in the same category, many fall short on interior space.
Buyers who invest in the Subaru Ascent get to experience a mix of interior materials that is contemporary and charming, yet modern in appearance. From chrome and leather to deep, rich colors and woodgrain, your senses will get a jolt of excitement with this interior layout. While some consumers find that the mix of these materials with traditional plastic in some areas is less than desirable, others do not mind the abrupt switching of textures.
When you spend ample money on a luxury SUV, you may assume that the interior will offer the most plush, comfortable seating available. Sadly, that is not always the case, and many buyers are left with regret. Despite is moderate price point, the 2020 Subaru Ascent offers one of the most comfortable interiors available. Great seating that is available in all models are commendable in both cloth and leather coverings. Even extended road trips cannot change the comfort of the Ascent’s seating.
Convertibility is present in the Subaru Ascent, mainly in the selection between second-row bench seating or captain’s chairs and the ability of rear seat folding. Creating even more space than is already present, rear folding seats allow transportation of materials that protects from outdoor elements and provides security.
Exterior Color Options
When determining the reliability of a vehicle, it is important to consider the typical buyers of the vehicle at hand. Subaru Ascent owners are diverse across the board. Studies have found that buyers of all genders prefer the Ascent, but mature owners who enjoy a household income that falls in the median and are willing to pay more for an environmentally friendly vehicle. They are also interested in safety features and a vehicle that accommodates a busy lifestyle. Thus, these individuals are looking for all the reputable features that a Subaru Ascent has to offer.
In general, many Subaru vehicles that have been sold over the past 10 years are still being driven on the road today. Built in the USA and touted for long-lasting quality, it is likely that the Subaru Ascent will be an important part of your family for many years.
Buyers have some of the newer features of the 2020 Subaru Ascent to thank for is durability and longevity. Good results have been derived from this vehicle’s symmetrical all-wheel drive, 4-cylinder BOXER engine and expanded fuel capacity. Not to mention, the ability to better avoid accidents with enhanced safety features is beneficial.
Based on the estimation of life expectancy and affordability of repairs, this vehicle is seen as a good value for buyers. The build quality is typica for a vehicle in the SUV segment at this price range, as well as roadside assistance and warranty availability. As such, the Ascent is often viewed as Subaru’s most impressive third-row SUV ever. Large enough for families and durable enough for a busy lifestyle, the 2020 Subaru Ascent is in it for the long haul. Buyers can expect this vehicle to be passed on for generations, providing a safe, dependable ride for future drivers.
How Does It Compare
2020 Subaru Ascent vs 2020 Honda Pilot
Residing among buyer’s top choices of third-row SUVs, the 2020 Subaru Ascent and 2020 Honda Pilot are highly competitive. While the Honda is a more traditional favorite, due to its age and familiarity with customers, the Subaru offers a fresh new approach to design and engineering.
While the Pilot is built on its own platform and powered by a 3.5-liter V-6 engine, the Ascent is constructed on a global platform and propelled by a 2.4-lite turbocharged 4-cylinder engine. Though both SUVs feature all-wheel drive, the Honda boasts a standard six-speed automatic transmission while the Subaru utilizes a CVT.
The 2020 Subaru Ascent gets better fuel mileage, hands down. Yet, the 2020 Honda Pilot is a bit more fun to drive. The Ascent also excels above the Pilot in interior design and comes out on top as the better option for a family SUV with third-row seating.
2020 Subaru Ascent vs 2020 Toyota Highlander
If you thought more space could not be produced in a third-row SUV than that of the 2020 Subaru Ascent, you have not met the 2020 Toyota Highlander. A spacious interior with a hybrid engine option immediately puts the Highlander a step ahead of its Subaru competitor. While this is an important consideration, the Subaru fights back with an upscale interior and expansive safety technology.
In every aspect, the 2020 Subaru Ascent and the 2020 Toyota Highlander pass the ball back and forth on who has the best features. While the Highlander beats out the Ascent in fuel efficiency by over 14 mpg average, the Subaru Ascent dominates in the world of cargo space.
For those who trailer frequently, the 2020 Toyota Highlander can pull up to 3,500 lbs. on the standard model leaving the Ascent’s standard 2,000 lb. capacity behind. While both feature all-wheel drive and a CVT, the engines could not be more different. Many buyers would agree that the 2020 Toyota Highlander is a difficult contender for the 2020 Subaru Ascent to beat.
2020 Subaru Ascent vs 2020 Subaru Outback
Though it may seem strange to compare two different vehicles from the same automaker, the 2020 Subaru Ascent and the 2020 Subaru Outback contain substantial differences. Undeniably the space and seating configurations of the Ascent are hard to beat, but the Outback sure does give it a run for its money.
The standard engine on the Subaru Ascent is the same engine that is available in top three Outback trim levels. In fact, for the 2020 model year Subaru replaced 90% of the parts within its base engine option. Every model of the Ascent and Outback base their design off a CVT and all-wheel drive setup, making them nearly identical.
One facet that the Subaru Outback dominate is the field of off-roading. Less bulky and more agile, the Outback overtake the Ascent in this pastime. The Outback is actually the second-most popular vehicle for off-roading in in Subaru’s lineup.
2020 Subaru Ascent vs 2020 Subaru Forester
Another Subaru model that competes fiercely with the 2020 Ascent is the 2020 Subaru Forester. While the Forester is a two-row SUV that is capable of seating up to five passengers, buyers already know that the Ascent features more passenger space and cargo area.
The Ascent also rises above the Forester in horsepower generation and towing capacity, meaning the Forester would be a better commuter for individuals who do not intend on trailering. The 2020 Subaru Forester features the name number of trim levels with identical titles. It also features a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, comparable to that of the 2020 Subaru Ascent.
Complete with a CVT and all-wheel drive, one might think that the Forester is more comparable to the Ascent than originally considered. Yet, the power and style of the 2020 Subaru Forester just does not match up the 2020 Subaru Ascent.
2020 Subaru Ascent vs 2020 Volkswagen Atlas
Both common brands and both known for durability, the 2020 Subaru Ascent and 2020 Volkswagen Atlas are tough competitors. Falling into similar price ranges and similar styles, these two SUVS are both known for their expansive interior and easy access to third-row seating.
Though similar on the outside, the 2020 Volkswagen Atlas falls short in style, efficiency and speed. The fuel economy of these two vehicles is comparable, which is surprising considering the 4WD aspect of the Ascent and the 2WD aspect of the Atlas.
In seating fewer passengers, the Atlas comes in with more interior space for drivers and passengers. The Atlas also sports a large cargo area. However, buyers must decide if these attributes are enough to make up for the shortcomings of the 2020 Volkswagen Atlas against the 2020 Subaru Ascent.
2020 Subaru Ascent vs 2020 Kia Telluride
Seemingly similar as sleek SUVs that offer third-row seating for up to 8 passengers, the similarities between the 2020 Subaru Ascent and the 2020 Kia Telluride end there. Falling below average, the 2020 Kia Telluride offers compact third-row seating, reduced cargo space and a smaller interior than its Subaru competitor.
Though reliable and comfortable, the Kia Telluride falls short of the 2020 Subaru Ascent which prides itself on ample interior space and cargo area. While the Telluride offers front-wheel and all-wheel drive, it is also able to tow up to 5,000 pounds in certain trims.
Yet, the capable Subaru Ascent features better interior quality, tech features and convenience elements. Buyers who are more interested in luxury and reliability will fall for the 2020 Subaru Ascent over the 2020 Kia Telluride.