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The Subaru Ascent Needs A Lift - A New Wilderness Trim Makes Sense Now

2021 Subaru Ascent sales keep dropping, and the 3-Row SUV needs a lift up. Here’s why an Ascent Wilderness trim would be a good fit now.

Initial reports say the 2022 Outback Wilderness trim is a big hit, so why not an Ascent Wilderness sub-brand model? Our Subaru retailer source says they have 10 Outback Wilderness models already pre-sold before they even hit the retailer’s showroom. Every Wilderness model they have ordered or had come in is already sold.

The Subaru Wilderness is a new sub-brand and a halo trim for the Camden, N.J. automaker. Subaru of America (SOA) will also get a Forester Wilderness coming later this year and a next-generation 2023 Crosstrek Wilderness. But Subaru has no plans for an Ascent Wilderness yet.

2022 Subaru Ascent pricing, features, 2022 Subaru Ascent Onyx Edition
photo credit: Colonial Subaru CT

Subaru announced June sales, and the Ascent 3-Row SUV dropped in sales again and has been on a slide for the first six months of 2021. SOA reported 5,192 Ascent sales in June compared with 6,079 models delivered in June 2020. The 2021 Ascent is down 9.6 percent for the year, while all other Subaru SUVs, Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek, are up for 2021.

The 2022 Subaru Ascent has been announced, and it gets no upgrades except for a new Onyx Edition trim level. The new blacked-out model will give the family hauler some help. But a new Wilderness trim for active customers would set the model apart from other 3-Row SUVs.

2022 Subaru Ascent pricing, features, 2022 Subaru Ascent Onyx Edition
photo credit: Colonial Subaru CT

The Onyx Edition comes standard with reverse automatic braking, hands-free power rear gate, heated steering wheel, and keyless access with push-button start. A single option package is available for Onyx Edition ($2,200), including a panoramic moonroof, navigation, and retractable cargo cover.

What is the price of the 2022 Subaru Ascent?

The 2022 Subaru Ascent base starts at $33,420, and Premium trims begin at $35,920. The new Ascent Onyx Edition starts at $39,120. The Limited trim starts at $40,720, and the top-trim Touring has a starting MSRP of $46,570. Pricing includes destination fees. The 2022 Ascent should arrive this summer.

2022 Subaru Ascent pricing, features, 2022 Subaru Ascent Onyx Edition
photo credit: Colonial Subaru CT

The 2022 Subaru Ascent 3-Row family hauler didn’t get a refresh and no upgrades other than the 2022 Subaru Ascent Onyx Edition. The Subaru Ascent needs a lift, and a new Ascent Wilderness trim with 9.5-inches of ground clearance would be the lift it needs.

You Might Also Like: The Updated 2022 Subaru Model Preview and Why the Forester and Crosstrek are Delayed

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: main image Competition Subaru


Jocelyn Simard (not verified)    July 30, 2021 - 11:59AM

I agree, the ascent onyx look like a hearse. The outback wilderness looks amazing but I already have an outback. I need an Ascent wilderness! And if they can make it electric I will even buy it!

michael widmer (not verified)    October 27, 2021 - 10:42AM

Instead of touting it as a New vehicle they should list it as a new package trim like the Sasquatch trim package for the new Bronco. I have owned 3 Subaru's in my life a 1984 GL hatch, 1988 DL sedan, and a 1996 Outback Imprezza Sport and each one was great, I like the bigger SUV's now and went from a 1996 Imprezza Outback to a 2009 Toyota Rav (3 row) 4 V6, to a 2016 Ford Explorer. If they come out with a lifted Ascent I will get one. My current eye is on the Explorer Timberline which is my next option if the Ascent is not made a little bigger and badder. the new turbo 4's out on the market today are great, they make more hp then the old V6's and they much are better on gas which is important as I drive 25-30K a year. The Timberline has 300 hp and 310 lb-ft. Subaru just has to tweek the Ascent to be better off-rode and give it more power. It does not have to be a Rock crawler just more ground clearance and some nice Flair. I am disappointed in the lack of a new engine in the Forrester Wilderness, I thought they would put the turbo engine in that would be great power in a much smaller vehicle, you could even then add larger tires for asthetics. I will wait and see maybe for 2023 I will again have a new Subaru in my garage.

John wagner (not verified)    December 27, 2021 - 10:31PM

We have owned 3 different Subaru's
Tribeca, Forester and an Outback. Forester is the best., We would get a Ascent if a wilderness version model came out. My suggestion is, heaver suspension with no sloppy driving, raise car 3/4 inch. real skid plates. like primitive racings parts. 17-inch BBS forged rims with run flat, sealing tires. Go back to none CVT transmission with sport shift. 6 speed transmission super heavy duty solid . Plus send the cars to outside testers. Porsche, Mersedes-Benz, and GMC use Vortech engineering, CA. for preproduction testing and California smog. They have found hundreds of major design glitches in the past. Some manufactures have ignored these reported "glitches" and later spent over a $billions on fixes and repairs.

John Klasinski (not verified)    February 6, 2022 - 2:56PM

In reply to by John wagner (not verified)

Hi John,

I'm thinking of adding the Primitive skid plates to my 2022 Ascent Limited. Do I need all the skid plates, (the set: front skid plate, transmission skid plate, rear differential skid plate, and front lip skid plate)? The whole package, with all the skid plates, including the Fumoto valve for oil changes, is $753. The front lip skid plate is visible near the front bumper that says, Primitive Racing on it. Not sure if I would want that sticking out and visible. Primitive also has a lift kit, that will raise the car 1.25". I think the cost is $549.00. Is that too high? I am new to all this. Sorry for all the questions.

John Klasinski (not verified)    February 6, 2022 - 6:04PM

Hi John,

I own the 2022 Subaru Ascent Limited. Just wondering if you think I should put all the Primitve Skid plates on my car? (Front, transmission, rear differential, front lip-visible near front bumper, and Fomoto valve). Also, what do you think of their lift kit? It will raise the care 1.25". Thank you, John

John wagner (not verified)    February 7, 2022 - 9:56PM

Yes, turn your car in a safe offroad machine. 17 inch Subaru forged BBS rims are also needed. You can buy used one's for $400 to $700 for set of 4. new tires will be needed. Perelli Scorpions with run-flat and inside tire sealing mats helps.
But if you swing arms on ascent suspension are outback parts. do not waste your money.
your bushings and arms will fail in 20,000 miles.