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Subaru Ascent Once The Black Sheep Is Now One Of Two Models Up For The Year

What a difference a year makes. The Subaru Ascent, once the black sheep of the all-wheel-drive lineup, is returning to the good side. Check out the report here.


Last year we reported that Subaru Ascent had made Consumer Reports' (by subscription) ten least reliable cars list again. The Ascent 3-Row family hauler was the black sheep of Subaru of America's all-wheel-drive lineup. But what a difference one year makes. The Ascent is now one of only two Subaru models that finished the year with increased sales.

The refreshed 2023 Subaru Ascent 3-Row SUV was up 6.2 percent for the year and is only one of two SUVs, along with the hot Crosstrek, up to finish the year. Ascent also saw a percentage of sales increase of 14.7 percent in December. Ascent had 6,980 sales in December compared with 6,088 in December 2021. The Ascent finished in fourth place in the lineup with 63,704 sales for the year.

2023 Subaru Ascent
photo credit: Competition Subaru

The Ascent family hauler came a long way from where the 3-Row SUV had fallen.

According to Consumer Reports' analysis last year, the ten cars with the most significant risk of problems include the 2022 Subaru Ascent. The SUV could only manage a reliability score of 60 out of 100 and was the 10th least reliable new car. CR says the transmission, power equipment, brakes, in-car electronics, and climate system were trouble spots. CR gave the Ascent a 1/5 for predicted reliability.

Now for the 2023 model year, the Ascent received a remodel with significant upgrades. 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

CR says, "We expect the 2023 Subaru Ascent will have average reliability compared to the average new car." Consumer Reports looks at a vehicle's track record. In 2021, 2022, and 2023 Subaru Ascent had zero recalls and no investigations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Why should 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.

What's new for the 2023 Ascent?

The remodeled Subaru Ascent comes with added safety and all-weather all-terrain upgrades for active families. Ascent gets advancements in exterior styling, new safety tech, and more upgrades inside. The Onyx Edition also gets further improvements. Check out the full details on the 2023 model change here.

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.

For more active families, who want to get further off the grid, Subaru of America now offers dual-function X-Mode on the 2023 Ascent Onyx Edition, Limited, and Touring trim levels giving the family hauler an extra level of all-weather and all-terrain performance.

What is the benefit of Dual function X-Mode?

If you live in a northern climate or near the coast where you'll encounter deep snow, mud, or sand, you'll want Dual-Function X-Mode with deep snow and deep mud settings. Dual-Function X-Mode adds additional capability when you get into more extreme conditions if you drive on mountain trails or a sandy beach.

2023 Subaru Ascent

What is the 2023 Ascent towing capacity?

This 2023 Ascent 3-Row Suv allows up to 5,000 lb. towing capacity with standard Trailer Stability Assist.

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.

The Ascent was once the black sheep of the lineup. Subaru of America reports the 2023 Ascent is now one of two models in its all-wheel-drive lineup with a sales increase in 2022. What a difference one year makes.

You Might Also Like: Subaru Reliability - Why the New Ascent Drops Off CR’s Least Reliable Models List

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


Sam Williams (not verified)    January 11, 2023 - 9:05PM

yeah, but it's a problem when you get 10-12 mpg city on a 22' ascent and they lower it for the 2023. Bunk car.

Walt (not verified)    January 12, 2023 - 8:06PM

I have a 20220 Ascent and THEY had serious transmission calls in 2022 (try lo lockup when passing on a 2 lane Road) and no fix for over six months-don't drive and cannot sell!!

There is a recall now since last year on another matter (should not store inside with fire hazard) so how can you say they have no recalls?

Are you funded by Subaru?