Freshened 2023 Subaru Ascent Packs Smarter Tech, Bigger Screen

2023 Subaru Ascent Front jpg 2023 Subaru Ascent | Manufacturer image

Introduced in 2019, the Subaru Ascent is the largest, most family-friendly choice among the brand’s all-wheel-drive SUVs. The current Ascent brings a long list of standard safety features, fits up to eight occupants and has no shortage of cupholders (19 in total). Despite these accolades, the current Ascent lags behind competitors when it comes to performance and standard tech. Subaru has addressed the latter concern in the refreshed 2023 Ascent with improved tech and safety features across all trims. The Ascent also sees updates to its front and rear styling and a more robust set of features for the recently introduced Onyx Edition.

Related: 2022 Subaru Ascent Review: Value Pricing, Real-World Problems

More Tech and Safety Features

2023 Subaru Ascent Tech jpg 2023 Subaru Ascent | Manufacturer image

The most noticeable change inside the 2023 Ascent is a new 11.6-inch standard touchscreen with Subaru’s latest multimedia system, which it shares with the 2023 Outback. Not only is the screen significantly larger than the outgoing model’s standard 6.5-inch or available 8-inch display, but the new Starlink Multimedia Plus system is also easier to use: Multimedia, climate controls and other vehicle features are more accessible, and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay now come standard across all trims.

A less obvious but no less important update is the enhanced EyeSight suite of safety features. According to the automaker, the new system offers a wider field of view and updated software for smoother operation under a wider range of conditions. A new standard wide-angle mono camera expands the system’s field of view in order to detect pedestrians and bicycles sooner. The system alerts the driver and automatically brakes when necessary.

All but the Base trim now come with a new automatic emergency steering feature that complements the vehicle’s existing automatic emergency braking system. It works to prevent a collision by steering the vehicle automatically at speeds under 50 mph. A new 360-degree camera is also available for 2023 to assist with challenging parking maneuvers; it comes standard on the range-topping Touring model.

Family-oriented features added for 2023 include a new seat belt reminder and the available Cabin Connect system that allows drivers to communicate with rear-seat occupants through an overhead microphone.

Fresh Front and Rear Styling

2023 Subaru Ascent Grille jpg 2023 Subaru Ascent | Manufacturer image

The 2023 Ascent’s facelift includes an updated grille, new LED headlights with high-beam assist and an updated front bumper cover that improves aerodynamic flow thanks to lower air ducts, according to Subaru. The Ascent also gets redesigned C-shaped taillights. Just like the outgoing model, the 2023 Ascent rides on standard 18-inch alloy wheels, and 20-inch wheels are available on the Onyx and higher trims; roof rails come standard across all trim levels.

A Better-Equipped Onyx Edition

Introduced for 2022, the Onyx Edition stands out visually with black exterior trim, 20-inch black alloy wheels and specific cabin details like water-repellant seats. New for 2023, the Onyx adds a standard panoramic moonroof, which can also be had on the Limited and is standard on the Touring. It also adds a new dual-function X-Mode with Snow/Dirt and Deep Snow/Mud settings.

subaru ascent 2022 15 2badge exterior green suv scaled jpg 2022 Subaru Ascent | photo by Christian Lantry

A new available package for the Onyx adds a Harman Kardon surround-sound speaker system, the Cabin Connect microphone feature, a 12-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support and a four-way power front passenger seat. The new 360-degree camera and DriverFocus Distraction Mitigation System also come with the package.

No Changes Under the Hood

subaru ascent 2022 18 2engine interior suv scaled jpg 2022 Subaru Ascent | photo by Christian Lantry

Powering the 2023 Ascent is the same 260-horsepower, 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine found in the outgoing model; it’s paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission. The SUV offers decent road-trip capability with a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds and Subaru’s standard AWD system with X-Mode and hill descent control for going off-pavement. But when compared against its three-row rivals, the Ascent’s sole powertrain falls short: editors found it underpowered and noisy in the 2020 Three-Row SUV Challenge.

Trims, Pricing and Release Date

The 2023 Subaru Ascent will arrive this fall with the choice of five trims: Base, Premium, Onyx Edition, Limited and Touring. The Base model comes with a standard eight-seat configuration with a second-row bench seat, the Onyx and Touring come with standard second-row captain’s chairs with seating for up to seven, and the remaining trims offer a choice of the two. Pricing for the refreshed model will be announced closer to its arrival; the 2022 Ascent starts at $33,970 for the Base (all prices include destination charge); $39,670 for the Onyx Edition; and $47,120 for the Touring.

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Former News Editor Jane Ulitskaya joined the team in 2021, and her areas of focus included researching and reporting on vehicle pricing, inventory and auto finance trends. Email Jane Ulitskaya

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