Will Subaru’s refreshes help ascend their 3-row crossover to the top of the class? With a revised front end treatment, all new standard tech, and enhancements to their already excellent EyeSight safety system, all signs are pointing to yes.
Starting up front, an all new gloss black and chrome grille extends and blends into re-designed headlights. More brightwork around the base of the bumper lends itself to a modern, upscale look. New wheels continue the black and bright theme with an all new 5-spoke geometric pattern similar to those on the original XV Crosstrek. Around back, all new C-shaped taillights play nicely with the raised tailgate trim.
Inside the cabin, the 11.6″ touchscreen, first seen in the Outback and Legacy, now makes its way into all 2023 Ascents regardless of trim level. All trim levels also enjoy wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality. Unfortunately, this does mean that most climate controls are no longer physical, and can only be accessed on the touch screen. On models equipped with the Harman Kardon QuantumLogic surround sound system (standard on Touring trim), you’ll now enjoy Cabin Connect, allowing you to project your voice over the rear speakers so your passengers can no longer lie and say that they can’t hear you.
A big first for Subaru in the US is an available 360-degree Surround View Monitor, replacing the 180-degree front camera previously available. The Ascent also gains standard dual-function X-MODE on Limited and Touring trims. With specialized AWD settings for snow and dirt as well as deep snow and mud, you should have no issues recreating your favorite photos from the sales brochure.
Subaru has also made some improvements to their EyeSight Driver Assist Technology, starting with the cameras themselves. Subaru has improved their field-of-view and promises better performance in harsher weather conditions. A new electric brake booster allows for better automatic braking response. On Premium trim and higher, and at speeds less than 50 MPH, Automatic Emergency Steering works to avoid potential collisions by turning your SUV out of the way while also applying the brakes to bring you to a safe stop.
Lastly, the Ascent lineup gains a new trim level, though it’s one that’ll be familiar to Subaru loyalists. Dubbed Onyx, this trim slots in around the Limited trim and offers exclusive blacked out trim, 20″ gloss black wheels, standard panoramic roof and dual-function X-MODE, and a two-tone gray and black interior with green accent stitching. Known as Star-Tex, this soft urethane material is water-repellent and good for Mother Earth. You’ll be able to option your Onyx with the Harman Kardon sound system, 360-degree Surround View Monitor, heated 2nd row outboard seats, and power driver and passenger seats.
The sole drivetrain, a 260-horsepower turbocharged flat-4 paired with a CVT sending power to all wheels, remains unchanged. Although pricing is yet to be announced, the 2023 Ascent will be hitting your local Subaru dealer’s lot later this fall. Expect pricing to fall around last year’s: $33,970 for the entry level trim up to $46,570 for the Touring.