Subaru fans tend to really love the brand, but for years they were out of luck if their families grew past five people. Subaru introduced the three-row Ascent for the 2019 model year, solving that problem, and for 2023 the SUV gets a mild makeover. The Ascent will go on sale in fall 2022 in five trims: Base, Premium, Onyx Edition, Limited and Touring.
The SUV got a new front fascia design with a more muscular grille and an updated lower portion with air ducts. Higher trim levels add chrome accents, but lower models get black plastic trim up front. Subaru updated the SUV’s taillights, keeping their C-shaped design but giving them a sharper look.
Under the hood, the Ascent continues with a turbocharged 2.4-liter boxer engine making 260 horsepower. It’s paired exclusively with a continuously variable transmission and all-wheel drive. The gearbox also has an eight-speed manual mode that emulates gears, which can be controlled using steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Towing capacity comes in at up to 5,000 pounds.
All 2023 Ascent models come standard with all-wheel drive and Subaru’s X-Mode, which modulates throttle response, transmission gear, all-wheel-drive behavior, and traction control settings to provide the best traction possible. Subaru’s EyeSight safety tech comes standard but has been improved for 2023 with updated software, a new electric brake booster, and a wide-angle camera system. EyeSight uses two cameras, and together, the three technologies help the vehicle more quickly recognize pedestrians and bicycles when approaching intersections. The tech warns the driver and can apply brakes if necessary to slow the vehicle.
A new Onyx Edition trim joins the Ascent lineup for 2023, bringing several luxury features and more off-road driving modes. The trim comes with a panoramic sunroof, 20-inch wheels, and black exterior trims. The seats come with Subaru StarTex water-resistant upholstery, which is excellent for outdoor activities with pets and kids since it’s super dirt- and water-repellent and can easily be wiped down.
Subaru offers an upgrade package for the Onyx Edition that includes an 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment display, a Harman Kardon QuantumLogic stereo, power seats, second-row sunshades, and more. The options group also includes a new surround-view monitor system and a driver attention monitoring feature.