Subaru makes five SUVs, and they’re each fairly similar. The Crosstrek, the Forester, the Outback, the Ascent and the Solterra all share a family resemblance, all have all-wheel drive, and each promises a modicum of off-road ability. But only one of these has seats for seven.
The Subaru Ascent is the only Subaru with three rows of seating for up to eight people. The Ascent has seats for seven, but let’s say only five are good for everyone in the family. The back row, while functional, is better suited for kids or jockeys that full-sized adults. But, in a pinch, it will get the job done, and still leave room for cargo behind the third row.
The Ascent is longer and wider than any other Subaru, and that does translate into more room in the cargo hold than any other Subaru. When the back two rows of seats are folded, you can expect to stash about 83 cubic feet of stuff in the back. That puts the Ascent in a class with the 4Runner, and it nearly matches the Honda Pilot for the interior room. However, it is about as long as and wide as a pilot and it doesn’t have nearly the off-road capability of the 4Runner (but then, what does?).
The Ascent first launched in 2019. Since then, it remained the same until a slight refresh for 2023. Inside, it gets a new 11.6-inch vertical touchscreen, instead of the old horizontal 8.0-inch screen. Even on base models it gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as Subaru’s EyeSight site of safety aids, which at this price point seems about right. Also, you can order a 360-degree camera, and the a speaker system so the driver can talk to passengers in the way back.
Outside, you can spot a 2023 Ascent thanks to its new grille and updated headlights. We were hoping for a more rugged Wilderness edition, like the Forester’s, but it looks like we will have to wait at least another year for the Ascent to catch up.
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All Ascents have a healthy list of standard features, including a 260-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder, all-wheel drive, and Seating for seven or eight is available, too. Subaru sells eight versions of the Ascent, and they go from basic to full luxury. And, according to Car and Driver, it can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
However, the base $33,895 version is fairly spartan inside. The Premium version, which starts at $37,995, adds a lot of the stuff most of us want in an SUV, including rear climate controls, captain’s chairs in the middle, and the all-important heated front seats. The $41,295 Onyx edition adds some more goodies, like 20-inch black finish alloy wheels and power rear gate. The Touring version is fully-loaded and adds goodies like Nappa leather and a premium stereo, but the price of admission is a steep $48,195.
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