2023 Subaru Ascent Review: For those who’ve outgrown an Outback

Professionals: Commonplace all-wheel drive; above-average floor clearance; helpful roof rails; easy controls; nice visibility

Cons: Plain inside; disconnected driving expertise; helicopter mum or dad security tech

Even with noteworthy updates this yr, the 2023 Subaru Ascent doesn’t actually stand above and past the crowded subject of three-row household crossovers. Oh, it comes normal with all-wheel drive and extra floor clearance than most, but it surely’s hardly the rugged mountain goat of household crossovers. There are additionally those who make a bolder assertion exterior, which might be extra luxurious inside and which might be higher to drive. Some are much more spacious or versatile. Frankly, it’s exhausting to not level most patrons in the direction of a Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade or Toyota Highlander Hybrid as a substitute.

The factor is, although, the Ascent actually isn’t for the overall three-row crossover-buying inhabitants. It’s for Subaru’s fiercely loyal prospects, and particularly the good many who outgrow their Foresters and Outbacks. Admittedly, that’s an terrible lot of individuals today given Subaru’s consistently growing recognition. And with the Ascent, they’ll get a great deal of additional house, however with the identical 8.7 inches of floor clearance, beefy roof rails, user-friendly controls and no-nonsense cabin design. The Ascent even drives like an Outback, which isn’t all the time a great factor, however at the very least it’ll be acquainted. On the similar time, even if you happen to’d be a beginner to the Subaru model, there’s no cause you couldn’t grow to be simply as enamored with those self same traits, particularly in case you have a knack for taking outdoorsy adventures.

Inside & Know-how   |   Passenger & Cargo House   |   Efficiency & Gas Economic system

What it is prefer to drive   |   Pricing & Trim Ranges   |   Crash Rankings & Security Options

What’s new for 2023?

The Ascent will get notable revisions for 2023. Up to date styling makes an attempt to create a extra squared-off, rugged look with a much bigger grille and extra aggressively formed headlights. Mainly, it seems much less like a huge Outback now. Inside, nonetheless, it really seems extra like an Outback because of the brand new vertically oriented touchscreen borrowed from Subaru’s crossover wagon. Wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are actually normal as properly. The EyeSight driver help know-how suite was upgraded with upgraded sensors and software program to apparently function extra easily and in a wider vary of situations. This features a digicam higher in a position to detect pedestrians and cyclists. These Ascents with blind-spot warning additionally achieve automated emergency steering help. Lastly, a brand new Cabin Join perform picks up the motive force’s voice and transmits it over the rear audio system for the youngsters within the again to correctly hear things like “don’t make me cease this automobile!”

What are the Outback inside and in-car know-how like?

From the motive force’s seat, the Ascent’s packaging shows Subaru’s pragmatic philosophy to automobile design. All of the gauges are simple to see and browse at a look, knobs and buttons are simple to find — each these of the software-based touchscreen infotainment system and the bodily ones on the steering wheel and heart stack. There aren’t as many intelligent cubbies as in a Hyundai Palisade or Toyota Highlander, however there are a grand complete of 19 cupholders unfold all through the cabin. Anticipate frequent loos stops.

By way of design, we are able to’t say the inside is that engaging, particularly when in comparison with the Palisade, Highlander, Telluride, CX-9, Pathfinder … So yeah, nearly all the pieces. The jumbo portrait-style tech interface added for 2023 hardly improves issues, however at the very least it’s all consistent with Subaru’s no-nonsense vibe. Even that touchscreen’s graphics are on the wise aspect, with huge, simply recognized and pressed digital buttons. It’s not fancy, but it surely works properly – which may in all probability be an unofficial Subaru slogan.  Supplies high quality is agreeably common, and though it doesn’t fairly obtain the premium vibe of all these rivals, the pops of shade and dash-covering pleather are appreciated touches.

All of that stated, do you have to be ascending to the Ascent from one thing else within the Subaru lineup, you’re going to really feel completely at residence. That is very true now that the Ascent shares the Outback’s tech interface – there’s no probability you’ll really feel shortchanged by Subaru’s greatest and priciest mannequin not getting access to the latest-and-greatest options.

How huge is the Ascent?

For these already within the Subaru household, the Ascent represents a transparent step up from the model’s different crossovers. It’s 5.5 inches longer than an Outback, 3 inches wider and 5.2 inches taller. It is a whopping 14.7 inches longer than a Forester, 4.5 inches narrower and three.5 inches shorter. It additionally has an additional row of seats. In comparison with different three-row crossovers, nonetheless, its dimensions are common aside from being taller than most. That is partly due to its class-leading 8.7 inches of floor clearance, but in addition simply due to its tall, boxy greenhouse. 

A 6-foot passenger can have loads of room within the second row, which is adjustable for legroom and seatback angle. On higher trim ranges, patrons can select between a pair of captain’s chairs or a three-passenger bench. We have discovered that they are mainly equal when it comes to consolation. Third-row passengers are handled higher within the Ascent than in lots of opponents (Toyota Highlander, Mazda CX-9 and Ford Explorer specifically). If the middle-seat occupants are keen to slip their seats ahead a bit, there’s satisfactory legroom for a 6-footer in the way in which again to sit down comfortably for a good bit of time. For teenagers, this implies much more consolation and house.

As for cargo, the Ascent presents 17.6 cubic toes of cargo house behind the third row, which is mid-pack for this phase. It’s greater than the Mazda CX-9 (14.4 cubic toes), Toyota Highlander (16.0) and outgoing Honda Pilot (16.5), however lower than the Hyundai Palisade (18.0), Ford Explorer (18.2), VW Atlas (20.6) and Kia Telluride (21.0). Max cargo quantity is among the many class leaders at 86.5 cubic toes, which is nearly definitely the results of being fairly boxy – all the time a great factor on the subject of cargo. For something that does not match inside, the Ascent has huge, extra-functional roof rails for no matter racks, carriers and different equipment you might need. And consider us, Subaru house owners are inclined to have them.

What are the Ascent gas financial system and efficiency specs?

The Ascent’s sole powertrain providing is a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, organized in Subaru’s signature boxer (horizontally opposed reasonably than a V or inline) configuration. Energy is distributed to all 4 wheels through a repeatedly variable transmission (CVT). Producing 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque, we have discovered this engine can really feel simply as fast in relaxed around-town driving as its opponents, however know that their larger outputs do end in faster 0-60-mph instances and extra strong acceleration when absolutely loaded.

That stated, house owners dwelling at greater elevations (as many Subaru house owners do) will respect the lasting energy from the turbocharger, which retains the Ascent from feeling breathless at heights the place naturally aspirated engines begin to lose energy. In different phrases, 4 cylinders should not essentially lesser than six, and it even manages the identical 5,000-pound towing capability of most rivals.

EPA gas financial system estimates weren’t out there on the time of this writing, however as there have been no powertrain modifications indicated for 2023, it appears unlikely they may change a lot from the next 2022 estimates. The ’22 Ascent returned 21 mpg metropolis, 27 mpg freeway and 23 mpg mixed, whereas the Restricted, Touring and Onyx Version returned 20/26/22.

What is the Ascent prefer to drive?

The patrons of three-row crossovers are much less prone to prioritize driving dynamics, however if you happen to ought to, the Ascent will in all probability find yourself towards the underside of your record. The steering is exact and correct, but it surely’s additionally fairly mild in effort and would not actually have interaction the motive force. The suspension is mushy to make sure a cushty journey over harsh pavement, and though surefooted and safe, these used to a responsive-handling automobile shall be underwhelmed. These used to a Subaru Outback, nonetheless, will really feel proper at residence.  

There aren’t any sport modes to fiddle with within the Ascent, simply an ordinary baseline setting, however the single setup feels properly thought out and sorted. There’s loads of punch from Subie’s turbo-four. There have been just a few instances we caught the engine flat-footed on our drive and needed to wait a second for the turbo to spin up, however we ended our drive pondering its output is ample. We have been in a position to tow an Airstream trailer simply shy of the Ascent’s most of 5,000 kilos, and we discovered that it had no downside getting the load on top of things and again down once more. The CVT mimics the texture of a standard automated transmission, for probably the most half. It really works properly, and would not get in the way in which of a great driving expertise.

What different Subaru Ascent critiques can I learn?

2019 Subaru Ascent First Drive Assessment | A 3-row do-over

Our first impressions of the Ascent when it was new for 2019. Amongst extra particulars about its design and engineering, we discovered it was instantly clear that Subaru had realized from its errors with the Tribeca.


2019 Subaru Ascent Drivers’ Notes Assessment | Subaru redux

A roundtable dialogue from a number of Autoblog editors assessing the Ascent’s deserves and shortcomings after every week of real-world driving impressions.


Subaru Ascent vs. Mazda CX-9: Driving two class leaders side-by-side

We drove these two likable three-row opponents again to again to extra particularly evaluate the driving expertise between the 2. From our conclusion:

“Depend ’em up and you may see that the Subaru Ascent gained three out of our 5 classes. By that measure, it is the winner of this comparability. However, as is so usually the case, the truth is extra nuanced than that.”

What’s the 2023 Ascent value?

The 2023 Ascent begins at $35,120, a rise of $1,700 over the earlier mannequin. The brand new Ascent will attain sellers within the winter of ‘22. Base costs for all trims are listed under and embrace the $1,225 vacation spot cost

Base: $35,120 Premium: $37,720 Onyx Version: $42,520 Restricted: $42,820 Onyx Version Restricted: $47,520 Touring: $49,420

We’d begin our Ascent procuring with the Premium trim due to a number of key upgrades: blind-spot warning, rear privateness glass, an eight-way energy driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear local weather controls, the 8-inch touchscreen, in-car Wi-Fi and an All-Climate package deal that provides heated mirrors, heated seats and a windshield wiper de-icer. There are additionally plenty of worthwhile choices out there on the Premium you possibly can’t add to the bottom mannequin and which might be included on the higher trim ranges. Mainly, that is your greatest guess if you wish to construct an Ascent with the purposeful tools you need with out the fancier stuff of the Restricted and Touring. The Onyx Version stands out with its unique black-finish wheels and exterior particulars (under proper), glass roof and water-repellant grey inside upholstery with lime inexperienced stitching. It additionally contains the X-Mode off-road drive modes discovered within the two higher trims.

What are the Ascent security rankings and driver help options?

Each Ascent contains Subaru’s EyeSight suite of driver help tech. This contains ahead collision warning, automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping help, together with an adaptive cruise management system that may hold you within the heart of your lane along with sustaining pace and distance to automobiles forward. All however the base trim all embrace blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning and automated emergency steering. Reverse automated braking and a driver inattention warning system is included on the Restricted and Touring.

Subaru has upgraded this suite for 2023 with new sensors and software program, apparently leading to improved pedestrian and bike owner detection, together with smoother operation. This might definitely be a great factor, although we’ve typically discovered Subaru’s driver help tech to be a bit hyperactive. They’re mainly the helicopter mum or dad of driver help programs, regularly beeping and flashing in cases that do not essentially warrant it. Rival programs are much less intrusive.

The Ascent acquired 5 out of 5 stars from the NHTSA for frontal, aspect and total crash safety. The Insurance coverage Institute for Freeway Security named it a High Security Choose+ for its best-possible efficiency in each single class. That’s a uncommon feat. 


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