Car Reviews

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

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

Cons: Plain inside; disconnected driving expertise; helicopter father or mother security tech

Even with noteworthy updates this 12 months, the 2023 Subaru Ascent doesn’t actually stand above and past the crowded area of three-row household crossovers. Oh, it comes commonplace 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 consumers in 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 nice many who outgrow their Foresters and Outbacks. Admittedly, that’s an terrible lot of individuals nowadays given Subaru’s consistently growing reputation. 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 at all times a great factor, however not less than it’ll be acquainted. On the identical time, even if you happen to’d be a beginner to the Subaru model, there’s no cause you couldn’t turn into simply as enamored with those self same traits, particularly when you’ve got a knack for taking outdoorsy adventures.

Inside & Expertise   |   Passenger & Cargo Area   |   Efficiency & Gasoline Economic system

What it is wish 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. Principally, it seems much less like a huge Outback now. Inside, nevertheless, 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 at the moment are commonplace as nicely. 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 circumstances. This features a digicam higher in a position to detect pedestrians and cyclists. These Ascents with blind-spot warning additionally acquire computerized emergency steering help. Lastly, a brand new Cabin Join operate picks up the driving force’s voice and transmits it over the rear audio system for the children within the again to correctly hear things like “don’t make me cease this automotive!”

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

From the driving force’s seat, the Ascent’s packaging shows Subaru’s pragmatic philosophy to automotive design. All of the gauges are straightforward to see and browse at a look, knobs and buttons are straightforward 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 whole of 19 cupholders unfold all through the cabin. Anticipate frequent bogs stops.

By way of design, we will’t say the inside is that enticing, particularly when in comparison with the Palisade, Highlander, Telluride, CX-9, Pathfinder … So yeah, nearly every part. The jumbo portrait-style tech interface added for 2023 hardly improves issues, however not less than it’s all consistent with Subaru’s no-nonsense vibe. Even that touchscreen’s graphics are on the smart facet, with massive, simply recognized and pressed digital buttons. It’s not fancy, but it surely works nicely – which might 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 dwelling. That is very true now that the Ascent shares the Outback’s tech interface – there’s no likelihood you’ll really feel shortchanged by Subaru’s greatest and priciest mannequin not gaining access to the latest-and-greatest options.

How massive 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, nevertheless, its dimensions are common other than being taller than most. That is partly due to its class-leading 8.7 inches of floor clearance, but additionally 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, consumers can select between a pair of captain’s chairs or a three-passenger bench. We have discovered that they are principally equal by way of consolation. Third-row passengers are handled higher within the Ascent than in lots of rivals (Toyota Highlander, Mazda CX-9 and Ford Explorer specifically). If the middle-seat occupants are prepared to slip their seats ahead a bit, there’s sufficient legroom for a 6-footer in the way in which again to take a seat comfortably for a good bit of time. For youths, this implies much more consolation and house.

As for cargo, the Ascent presents 17.6 cubic ft of cargo house behind the third row, which is mid-pack for this section. It’s greater than the Mazda CX-9 (14.4 cubic ft), 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 ft, which is nearly definitely the results of being fairly boxy – at all times a great factor on the subject of cargo. For something that does not match inside, the Ascent has massive, extra-functional roof rails for no matter racks, carriers and different equipment you might need. And consider us, Subaru homeowners are likely to have them.

What are the Ascent gasoline economic 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 fairly than a V or inline) configuration. Energy is distributed to all 4 wheels by way of 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 rivals, however know that their higher outputs do lead to faster 0-60-mph instances and extra strong acceleration when absolutely loaded.

That stated, homeowners residing at larger elevations (as many Subaru homeowners do) will recognize 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 are usually not essentially lesser than six, and it even manages the identical 5,000-pound towing capability of most rivals.

EPA gasoline economic system estimates weren’t obtainable on the time of this writing, however as there have been no powertrain modifications indicated for 2023, it appears unlikely they are going to 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 wish to drive?

The consumers of three-row crossovers are much less more likely 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 gentle in effort and does not actually have interaction the driving force. The suspension is comfortable to make sure a cushty trip over harsh pavement, and though surefooted and safe, these used to a responsive-handling automotive might be underwhelmed. These used to a Subaru Outback, nevertheless, will really feel proper at dwelling.  

There aren’t any sport modes to fiddle with within the Ascent, simply an ordinary baseline setting, however the single setup feels nicely thought out and sorted. There’s loads of punch from Subie’s turbo-four. There have been a couple of 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 adequate. 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 up to the mark and again down once more. The CVT mimics the texture of a conventional computerized transmission, for probably the most half. It really works nicely, and does not get in the way in which of a great driving expertise.

What different Subaru Ascent evaluations can I learn?

2019 Subaru Ascent First Drive Evaluation | 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 discovered from its errors with the Tribeca.


2019 Subaru Ascent Drivers’ Notes Evaluation | Subaru redux

A roundtable dialogue from a number of Autoblog editors assessing the Ascent’s deserves and shortcomings after per 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 rivals again to again to extra particularly examine the driving expertise between the 2. From our conclusion:

“Rely ’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 beneath and embody 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 bundle that provides heated mirrors, heated seats and a windshield wiper de-icer. There are additionally quite a lot of worthwhile choices obtainable on the Premium you possibly can’t add to the bottom mannequin and which might be included on the higher trim ranges. Principally, that is your greatest wager if you wish to construct an Ascent with the practical gear 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 (beneath proper), glass roof and water-repellant grey inside upholstery with lime inexperienced stitching. It additionally consists of 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 consists of Subaru’s EyeSight suite of driver help tech. This consists of ahead collision warning, computerized 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 velocity and distance to vehicles forward. All however the base trim all embody blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning and computerized emergency steering. Reverse computerized 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 principally the helicopter father or mother of driver help techniques, often beeping and flashing in cases that do not essentially warrant it. Rival techniques are much less intrusive.

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


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