2022 Subaru Ascent Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Transmission issues, cracked windshields, and electrical problems are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

By Brian Jones | Updated on

By Brian Jones | Updated on

Official production of the first Subaru Ascent model began in May 2018 at the manufacturer’s plant in Indiana. The 2019 model was launched in the third quarter of that year.

Subaru’s second attempt at a crossover, they sold 36,211 units in the U.S. in 2018 and 81,958 in 2019. Not bad for a first model. But the figures have been dropping since then, to 67,623 in 2020 and 59,980 in 2021.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019   2020   2021

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2022 Subaru Ascent

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Power Train
3
Service Brakes
2
Unknown Or Other
2
Fuel/propulsion System
1
Tires:sidewall
1
Visibility/wiper
1
Electrical System
1

A major issue is reliability. Consumer Reports (CR) had the Ascent on its list of the 10 least reliable cars from the start. And it hasn’t gotten any better. Based on data from 2019, 2020, and 2021 models, they reported that they expected the 2022 model to be “much less reliable than the average new car.”

Complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for these four models highlight areas of concern.

Most Common Problems with the 2022 Subaru Ascent

There isn’t a huge volume of complaints to the NHTSA about the 2022 Subaru Ascent… yet. Only 7 and still counting. The volume of complaints received by the NHTSA for the 2019 and 2020 models is significantly higher.

Complaints received about the 2019 model currently total 353. Complaints about the 2020 model total 226, and there are 41 about the 2021 model. Of course, it stands to reason that complaints will increase the longer a model has been on the road. But a factor worth noting is that irrespective of the numbers, the most common problems remain the same year after year.

These aren’t the only problems, but we have noticed some that constantly recur. They include transmission issues, problems with windshields randomly cracking without any impact, and electrical problems that result in dead batteries have been common since day one. Problems with the 2022 Subaru Ascent are no different.

Reviewers on Edmunds get the opportunity to rate various factors about specific vehicles. Some give the 2022 Ascent 5 stars, but some don’t.

One Edmunds review that gives the vehicle only 1 star for reliability, and 1 star overall, states: “I can’t express how disappointing this car is. (It is the) worst car I have ever bought, ever! This car is dangerous due to the transmission issue that they won’t acknowledge. I hate this car.”

Another 1-star Edmunds review warns consumers not to buy the 2022 Ascent because it is not up to Subaru standards. “I can’t say enough about my bad experience with this vehicle. From the get-go, we’ve had issues.”

Transmission Problems

The Ohio owner of a 2022 Ascent states that he got rid of his 2020 Ascent because of transmission problems that were exactly the same as those he is experiencing now.

“The transmission of my 2022 Ascent regularly slips or shutters when trying to accelerate. While maintaining speed I can also feel a shutter or flutter. As if it is trying to decide what ratio to keep, even though I’m on flat ground and maintaining speed. It is a similar feeling to the transmission of my 2020 ascent I got rid of because of the fear of safety.”

An owner from New York states that the transmission is slipping and lunging forward without any prior warning. “I believe this is the same reason there was a recall for my model car in 2019 & 2020.”

Highlighting the fact that it is a safety issue, he says, “I was carrying five (5) passengers in the car when it lunged forward and I almost rear-ended the car in front of me and was also (nearly) rear-ended because I had to apply my brakes quickly.”

Cracked Windshield Problems

There is 1 complaint to the NHTSA about a 2022 Ascent windshield spontaneously cracking. But there are 11 similar complaints about the 2021 Ascent and many, many more that relate to the 2019 and 2020 models.

This complaint from an owner in California states that it is the second windshield that has cracked in the five months they have owned the car. They don’t know how either of them happened, but the second crack has quickly spread across half of the window.

Electrical System Problems

Again, there is only one NHTSA complaint about the 2022 Ascent battery dying, but there are 5 very similar complaints about the 2021 model and a lot more about the 2 earlier models.

This particular complaint, from an owner in Pennsylvania, states that the “electrical system/battery failed after only 392 miles. The car could not be jumped. When the cables were put on the battery, the tech said they got real hot (which leads us to believe it was shorting out.)

“Even though Subaru blamed the battery, the dashboard lights, the horn, and the headlights were all flickering and flashing like a Christmas tree. The car had also just been driven 45 minutes before. Subaru blamed driver error on not shutting the car off properly, but according to a class-action lawsuit, Subaru is aware of this happening with other Subaru vehicles”

This same owner also reports a burning smell in their garage that had been happening for a few months. It stopped after the vehicle had been attended to by the dealership.

What to do if your 2022 Subaru Ascent is a lemon? Your Lemon Rights

Whether you are convinced you have bought a lemon or just suspect it to be the case, if the problems keep recurring or they impact your 2022 Ascent negatively, it’s a good idea to take action.

Lemberg Law has a lot of experience with lemon law vehicle cases and we have negotiated settlements with manufacturers for many clients. If you’d like us to do a free assessment of your case, please call us or fill in the contact form. Ultimately, the law will make Subaru pay if it’s a lemon law case.

Complaint Data

CategoryService Brakes
DateNov 22, 2022
StateNC
Description
The contact owns a 2022 subaru ascent. The contact stated while driving at an undisclosed speed and depressing the brake pedal, the brakes were making abnormal squealing sounds. The contact had taken the vehicle to the dealer however, the vehicle was not diagnosed. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and the contact was referred to the dealer for assistance. The approximate failure mileage was 2,076.
CategoryPower Train
DateNov 17, 2022
StateTN
Description
When accelerating from a stop it sometimes shudders as if it cannot decide which ratio to use in the cvt. It can get pretty severe and I am afraid that it will tear the transmission apart if it continues.
CategoryService Brakes
DateSep 21, 2022
StateAZ
Description
The brakes on this vehicle continue to makes squealing sounds when slowing to a gradual stop, and now recently makes a grinding sound when driving from a complete stop to a gradual start. These sounds began when the vehicle was new at 500 miles and continues at 1500 miles. The vehicle has been taken to a subaru dealership three times and nothing has been found that needs correction. I have contacted subaru corporate and they continue to direct me to the dealership. Meanwhile I do not feel the brakes are working correctly and fear there is a safety issue.
CategoryPower Train
DateSep 08, 2022
StateOH
Description
The transmission of my 2022 ascent regularly slips or shutters when trying to accelerate. While maintaining speed I can also feel a shutter or flutter. As if it is trying to decide what ratio to keep. Even though I'm on flat ground and maintaining speed. It is a similar feeling to the transmission of y 2020 ascent I got rid of because of the fear of safety.
CategoryUnknown Or Other
DateSep 04, 2022
StateVA
Description
The panoramic moonroof stopped working and was stuck open, making a grinding sound when trying to close. There were no warning lights or messages prior to the issue. The issue was reviewed by a subaru dealership, they were able to recreate the issue, and they replaced the parts to fix the issue, covered under warranty.
CategoryFuel/propulsion System, Power Train
DateJul 12, 2022
StateNY
Description
The transmission is slipping and lunges forward, I believe this is the same reason there was a recall for my model car in 2019 & 2020. I have reported this to the car dealership and it will be placed in their service department tomorrow... I was carrying five (5) passengers in the car when it lunged forward and I almost rear ended the car in front of me and was also rear ended because I had to apply my brakes quickly. As stated above I'm hopeful this will be done by the dealership tomorrow. No inspection have been performed but it is scheduled to be done. There were no warnings of any kind other than a few hesitations in the forward motion just before the car lunged quickly forward.
CategoryTires:sidewall
DateJul 03, 2022
StatePA
Description
245/50 a20. Side wall ruptured at 55 mph . A pop and tire was flat. No sensor warning. Correct tire pressure. Immediately checked electronic psi reading. All tires ok but red 0 for tire that blew out. I have pictures. Not confirmed by any one yet. That may happen thursday when I replace all 4 tires. Had 7780 miles on tires. Even tread wear.
CategoryVisibility/wiper
DateJun 02, 2022
StateCA
Description
2nd cracked front windshields in the 1st 5 months we have own the car. Not sure how the first crack happened but this 2nd crack just started and has now spread to over half the window.
CategoryElectrical System, Unknown Or Other
DateMay 16, 2022
StatePA
Description
1. The electrical system/battery failed after only 392 miles. Car could not be jumped. When the cables were put on the battery, the tech said they got real hot (which leads us to believe it was shorting out.) even though subaru blamed the battery, the dashboard lights, the horn, and the headlights were all flickering and flashing like a christmas tree. The car had also just been driven 45 minutes before. Subaru blamed driver error on not shutting the car off properly, but according to a class-action lawsuit, subaru is aware of this happening with other subaru vehicles. 2. The car would not start in an unsafe neighborhood after dark. We also experienced a burning smell in our garage for the past few months, which disappeared now that the subaru has been at the garage for a week. 3. Not confirmed. The subaru dealership blamed driver error and improper shut off of the ignition. 4. No inspections have been done except by the subaru dealership. 5. No warning. The car had just been driven for 45 minutes, we parked and came back 45 minutes later and it would not start. At that time, the battery light came on, the car's headlights started to flash, and the dashboard lit up. Looking back, the burning smell in our garage might have been a clue.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 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.

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1 COMMENT
  • Leslie

    I had a 2019 Ascent and while there was an issue with braking at times that we were having trouble getting addressed, when I started blacking out last week with enough thought to get off the road, I ended up going up 6 ft of guidecwire on an electri pole, fell on the back end, then rolled to passenger side, coming to a stop upside down..no injury AT ALL! The roof shows some slight crumpling..but not my head. The car is totaled but if I were planning to fly into the air and roll…I would pick the Ascent again.

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