2021 Subaru Ascent Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical & windshield issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

There was great excitement when the first Subaru Ascent was launched to the press in 2017. Because more than half of Subaru owners also own pets, the SUV arrived at the event with an all-dog family inside. The 8 Golden Retrievers and Labradors that feature in Subaru advertisements jumped out of the car to meet Tom Doll, president and COO of Subaru in America, and pose for pictures.

Production of the new Ascent began in late 2017, but less than a year later, in August 2018, before sales got off the ground, Subaru issued a recall of 293 x 2019 model vehicles. Reports say that only 9 of these had been sold. The rest were in transit or with dealers who were instructed not to sell the cars.

The problem? Missing welds blamed on faulty software used in Subaru’s welding robots. It’s an issue that is impossible to remedy!

By the end of 2020, there were a total of 4 recalls and 86 complaints lodged with the United States Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Now there are 7 recalls and 292 complaints on record for the 2019 model. So far, there are 3 recalls and 181 complaints about the 2020 Ascent.

There aren’t any recalls for the 2021 Ascent yet, and there are only 26 complaints. But many of these relate to the same problems experienced by owners of the 2019 and 2020 models.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019   2020   2022   2023

Most Common Problems

The most common problems reported to NHTSA relate to lane departure and forward collision avoidance, and windshield cracks. The electrical system is another problem referenced in several complaints. So, we’ll look at these in more detail.

Another issue is steering, though most complaints link steering problems with lane departure.

Other complaints that make up the total of 26 include problems with the engine, the fuel/propulsion system, the powertrain, and the structure of the vehicle.

2021 Subaru Ascent Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Electrical System
Lane Departure: Assist
Unknown Or Other
Power Train
Service Brakes
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control

Lane Departure & Forward Collision Avoidance Problems

There are 8 complaints about lane departure issues, 3 of which also mention forward collision avoidance problems. Also, 3 of the 4 complaints categorized under Steering describe land departure problems.

Complaints describe how the SUV wanders on the highway.

Some say that the lane assist feature that is available when using adaptive cruise control, is overly aggressive. For example, one complaint states that it doesn’t stay in the right lane without manual intervention. “I no longer feel safe using lane assist, so I turn it off when using cruise control. I am very concerned it’s going to cause an accident.”

Another complaint says, “Lane assist with cruise control over-corrects. I have almost hit two other vehicles. The pull is too strong and crosses lanes. I have to keep it off.”

And another: “The lane assist on this Subaru vehicle is more dangerous than it is helpful.”

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Windshield Problems

Windshield problems appear in three categories, Visibility, Visibility/Wiper, and Unknown or Other. A similar problem with the panoramic sunroof cracking shows under Structure. There are 12 complaints in all.

All report chips and/or cracking of windshield or windows without any impact to the glass. Owners who take their cars to dealers say they get no assistance and are told to pay for their own repairs.

This is part of a complaint made after a new Ascent windshield spontaneously cracked and rapidly spread about 18 inches. “I am filing this after seeing the large number of Subaru owners reporting similar occurrences. We had just experienced another cracked windshield on a 2019 Subaru Outback that we had repaired on 11 May 2021! There is something not quite right about this windshield in the Subarus.”

Problems with the Electrical System

Three NHTSA complaints relate to the 2021 Subaru Ascent’s electrical system. All relate directly to the battery, which is a problem that has been evident since the Subaru Ascent was launched.

The first complaint tells how the battery went dead when the owner of the car was camping and didn’t have a cell signal. “It was super-difficult to get help,” the complaint reads. It also points out the battery problem has been a “known issue” for some time, “and I was shocked to learn that Subaru did nothing to fix this.”

Another complaint tells how the battery of his Subaru, which had 1667 miles on the clock, drained while his wife was out shopping and the car was parked. Subaru did replace the battery but wasn’t able to explain what happened to cause the problem.

The complaint also mentions a Subaru Ascent Battery Club on Facebook that is dedicated to this issue. Ascent owners complain that the faulty batteries can’t hold a charge and if dealers replace them, they use the same type of faulty battery.

The Electrical System/Battery Drain Problem Isn’t New

Lemberg Law has reported the battery drain problem in two articles:

  1. 2019 Subaru Ascent Problems and Top Complaints
  2. 2020 Subaru Ascent Problems and Top Complaints

There are 122 electrical system complaints on record with NHTSA for the 2019 model. Typically, owners whose batteries were replaced complain that the problem recurs. The same scenario shows in 78 NHTSA complaints about the 2020 model.

What to do if your 2021 Subaru Ascent is a lemon? Your Lemon Rights

If you have experienced any of the common problems reported to NHTSA and you suspect your 2021 Subaru Ascent is a lemon, you are entitled to take immediate action.

Lemberg Law specializes in lemon law cases and has helped many clients reach a settlement with manufacturers. Possibilities include a buyback, trade-in, or cash settlement. You’ve got nothing to lose because the law says Subaru must pay legal costs.

Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

See more posts from Brian Jones
  • Ky

    I have transmission issues with my 2021 Subaru Ascent

  • Matthew C

    I suffer from “Subaru Sciatica” due to the defective design of the drivers seat in my 2021 Ascent Limited Edition, complaint filed with NHTSA, still investigating.
    Complained numerous times to Subaru USA and local dealership, offered to pay for rebuild, then declined, attempted rebuild at dealership without results.
    Can’t safely operate vehicle when sciatica attack hits, loss of leg pressure control on pedals, have to pull over and lay prone, muscle cream, happens every 15 minutes after that. Consulted surgeon, PT and Pain Management, still debilitating pain with limited use.
    They offered to buy it back at what I paid for it but I do like it, it’s just st a badly designed, one size fits all utility concept design that’s badly done! There are thousands of people suffering from this same thing, posted on all Subaru USA websites, email list of members downloadable, um banned from attempting to get the word out, I’ve saved screenshots of all of them, have all the makings of a huge recall and class action lawsuit, I’m thinking, but im no lawyer.

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