The 2022 Subaru Ascent sets up a great basecamp for any active family, even sedentary types will approve of its safety and value. The 2022 Ascent is Subaru’s largest crossover SUV, with seating for up to eight people and standard all-wheel drive. Rivals include the Kia Telluride, Ford Explorer, and Honda Pilot.

The Ascent has the lofty ambition of displacing drivers from Explorers and Pilots. It’s the biggest Subaru, and it looks an awful lot like other Subarus—the Outback in particular. Nothing’s shocking about its tall front end, simply styled headlights and taillights, and fuss-free body. Inside the 2022 Subaru Ascent’s big vertical vents and a smattering of woodgrain trim on top models dress it up, but it’s still the hiking boot in a class of crossovers that dress more like bougie influencers.

The three-row Ascent is Subaru’s largest SUV and has room for seven or eight, depending on the seating configuration. It’s powered by a standard 260-horsepower, turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that works with a continuously variable automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is standard, and competitors include the Ford Explorer, Kia Telluride, and Toyota Highlander.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

With the company’s trademark all-wheel-drive system, the 2022 Subaru Ascent is well suited for four-season family road trips. Its 260-horsepower turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder powertrain delivers middling acceleration and can be noisy under duress, but it’ll pull a camper trailer or speedboat. While the Subaru’s continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) contributed to a noisy ride during our test, the gearless gearbox was otherwise receptive and steady.

Its throttle response was particularly abrupt at low speeds around town. The 2022 Subaru Ascent even has paddle shifters mounted on the steering wheel for those who want more control over the transmission. The Subaru has a comfortable ride that isolated us from rough surfaces. It wore 20-inch wheels but still rode smoothly over bumpy roads and soaked up harsh impacts.

Unfortunately, we noticed a lot of wind and road noise while cruising on the highway. While the Subaru lacks the fun-to-drive nature found on the Mazda CX-9, the sizable three-row was nicely composed. Its light and accurate steering responded to quick maneuvers and felt relaxed at higher speeds. The brake pedal on our test vehicle was firm and progressive, with no play or touchy feedback.

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

The 2022 Subaru Ascent is expected to earn 21 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. Those who select the top-tier Limited and Touring models will lose 1 mpg in both categories. Still, the Ascent has above-average EPA estimates and confirmed the latter in our 200-mile real-world test.

The top-of-the-line Ascent Limited earned 26 mpg on our route, matching its EPA highway rating. However, rivals such as the Chevy Traverse and Honda Pilot proved to be even more efficient despite having lower government ratings. For more information about the 2022 Subaru Ascent’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

The 2022 Subaru Ascent‘s interior has all the hallmarks of a large crossover, with a raised driving position and versatile seating configurations. While the cabin accommodates a crowd, its third-row passenger space trails bigger alternatives such as the Volkswagen Atlas. Too bad only the top two models are available with desirable features such as heated rear seats, a memory driver’s seat, power-adjustable passenger seat, and leather-trimmed upholstery.

The Ascent can pack up to eight people inside, but in our testing, it only held five carry-on bags behind the third row. While that was one less than we fit in the Traverse, the Subaru also had less interior cubby storage than most rivals. Still, it remains a capable travel companion with some clever cargo solutions. These include Velcro straps in the cargo area to hold up the load floor if you need the added room. Our test vehicle had the optional second-row captain’s chairs that use multiple levers for adjustments and will fold nearly flat.

Infotainment and Connectivity

The Subaru infotainment system lacks the customization settings and intuitive controls found on premier competitors. Still, it has features that consumers love, such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. The standard touchscreen has large onscreen icons that are easy to see and respond to your inputs quickly. While touch-only means there are more opportunities for driver distraction, the screen’s position and large icons alleviate this issue well.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)

Subaru doesn’t save the best safety and driver-assist technology for the top trims, either. In fact, every Ascent except the base model is available with most upgrades. For more information about the 2022 Subaru Ascent’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites.

Photos

2022 Subaru Ascent

2022 Subaru Ascent

 

2022 Subaru Ascent

2022 Subaru Ascent

2022 Subaru Ascent

Full Specifications

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 4-door hatchback

PRICE AS TESTED: $42,920 (base price: $36,630)

ENGINE TYPE: turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 16-valve flat-4, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 146 cu in, 2387 cc
Power: 260 hp @ 5600 rpm
Torque: 277 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm

TRANSMISSION: continuously variable automatic with manual shifting mode

CHASSIS:
Suspension (F/R): control arms/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 13.1-in vented disc/13.0-in vented disc
Tires: Falken Ziex ZE001 A/S, 245/50R-20 102H M+S

DIMENSIONS:
Wheelbase: 113.8 in
Length: 196.8 in
Width: 76.0 in Height: 71.6 in
Passenger volume: 148 cu ft
Cargo volume: 18 cu ft
Curb weight: 4600 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS:
Zero to 60 mph: 6.9 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 19.4 sec
Zero to 120 mph: 33.8 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 7.8 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 3.9 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 5.1 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 15.5 sec @ 91 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 130 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 178 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.79 g

C/D FUEL ECONOMY:
Observed: 20 mpg

EPA FUEL ECONOMY:
Combined/city/highway: 22/20/26 mpg

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