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Should You Buy The Subaru Ascent? Years To Avoid And A New Score From Consumer Reports

Is the 2023 Subaru Ascent a reliable 3-Row SUV for families? Here is what Consumer Reports says and what Ascent years to avoid.


Is the 2023 Subaru Ascent a new model families should consider when buying a new 3-Row SUV? Because the Ascent has been in the news lately with a large recall of the 2019-2022 model year, new car shoppers may wonder if they should avoid the family hauler.

Subaru of America and the NHTSA recalled the 2019-2022 Ascent due to a ground bolt that secures the ground terminal of the Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) heater that may have been improperly fastened during vehicle production. There is a potential fire risk, and it's something customers should be aware of.

2023 Subaru Ascent

Should customers avoid the Subaru Ascent?

Some Ascent models have been called unreliable by Consumer Reports because of transmission issues in the 2019 and some 2020 models. Because of the new model shortages, many shoppers are looking for a used vehicle. Subaru has fixed the problem, but it's something SUV shoppers should be aware of before buying a used Ascent.

Customers may want to avoid the 2019-2020 Subaru Ascent unless they get it checked by a certified Subaru mechanic. Read more about the 2019-2020 Ascent here.

2023 Subaru Ascent

Is the 2023 Subaru Ascent a reliable 3-Row SUV for families?

The latest Ascent recall does not affect the newly-upgraded 2023 Subaru Ascent. What does Consumer Reports say about the new Ascent? The 2023 Ascent is now on Consumer Reports' (by subscription) newly recommended models list with improved reliability. More importantly, it's off CR's 10-least reliable model list.

Consumer Reports now says, "It seems that Subaru has worked out most of the Ascent's kinks, so it improved to average predicted reliability. There were still reports of transmission issues, but fewer than in the past."

2023 Subaru Ascent

The 2023 Ascent is now ranked the sixth-best 3-Row SUV in CR's rankings and is recommended by Consumer Reports. The Kia Telluride is number one, followed by the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Toyota Highlander, Hyundai Palisade, Chevrolet Traverse, and Subaru Ascent.

Consumer Reports says, "We expect the 2023 Ascent will have about average reliability compared to the average new car." It's important to note that the 2023 Ascent prediction is based on data from 2020, 2021, and 2022 models.

With improved reliability, why should new 3-Row SUV shoppers consider the 2023 Ascent?

The 2023 Subaru Ascent is designed for families with active lifestyles. The family hauler comes standard with Subaru's Symmetrical all-wheel-drive, 8.7 inches of ground clearance, and X-Mode and dual-function X-Mode for improved off-pavement, mud, sand, snow, and dirt road capability. Ascent also gets the highest Top Safety Pick+ crash scores from the IIHS.

Ascent is picked as one of the ten safest new SUVs

A new report from U.S. News ranks the Ascent as the second safest Midsize SUV for families. U.S. News says, "Many of Subaru's vehicles have a history of performing exceptionally well in crash tests. Nearly all of the brand's cars and crossovers come standard with all-wheel drive and are built with durability and longevity."

What is the price of the 2023 Subaru Ascent?

The 2023 Subaru Ascent base starts at $35,120, and Premium trims begin at $39,180. The Ascent Onyx Edition starts at $42,520, the upper Limited starts at $42,820, the new Ascent Onyx Edition Limited is priced at $47,520, and the top-trim Touring has a starting MSRP of $49,420. Pricing includes destination and delivery fees ($1,225).

Which Ascent trim offers the best value?

Many 3-Row SUV shoppers will land on the Ascent Premium, which offers the best value under $40,000. The Premium trim offers new features, upgrades, and all-weather performance for most families.

The 2023 Subaru Ascent is now on the Consumer Reports' newly recommended models list with improved reliability. More importantly, it dropped off CR's 10-least reliable model list. Ascent is now the most improved model for reliability in Subaru of America's all-wheel-drive lineup.

With improved reliability, the 2023 Subaru Ascent is a good choice for shoppers looking for a 3-Row SUV and should be on your list this winter.

You Might Also Like: Consumer Reports 10 Best New SUVs For 2023 And Subaru’s 3 Top Picks

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report, where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Subaru USA


Gary Kestenbaum (not verified)    March 15, 2023 - 8:28PM

I bought the 2023 Ascent to get more room than the 2020 Outback I traded in. Very comfortable, no issues. Roomy, lots of convenience features and I like the infotainment system that was also on the Outback. Some hiccups, but great wireless Apple CarPlay. No need for onboard navigation.