Buyers and Experts Disagree on the Best 2023 Subaru Ascent Trim
The Subaru Ascent is a capable SUV that offers a wide selection of trims and options. So when it comes to choosing the best 2023 Subaru Ascent trim, consumers and experts disagree. One critic recommends the range-topping trim, but others believe a more affordable option provides better value, and consumers choose an entirely different trim. Here are the details.
The 2023 Subaru Ascent trim levels and notable differences among them
The 2023 Subaru Ascent offers six trim levels: Base, Premium, Onyx Edition, Limited, Onyx Edition Limited, and Touring.
According to Subaru, the base trim starts at $33,895, while the Premium has a starting MSRP of $36,495 for the eight-passenger configuration and $37,955 for the seven-passenger configuration. Moving up to the Onyx Edition, the starting MSRP is $41,295; the Limited trim starts at $41,595 for the eight-passenger configuration and $42,595 for the seven-passenger. The Onyx Edition Limited has a starting MSRP of $46,295, while the Touring trim tops the lineup with a starting MSRP of $48,195.
It’s important to note that while all trims share many features, some notable differences exist among them. For example, some have eight seats, while others have seven. And some come standard with a second-row bench seat, while others have captain’s chairs. In addition, higher trims come with leather upholstery, except the Onyx Edition Limited, which has StarTex water-repellent upholstery. And the luxurious Touring gets Nappa leather.
The top-of-the-line Ascent Touring is for those who want the most luxurious experience, with a 14-speaker Harman Kardon audio system and a panoramic moonroof. However, the Onyx Edition Limited also gets both of those amenities. And the Onyx Edition has a moonroof too.
As for engine specs, all 2023 Ascent trims pack a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine producing 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque, paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). And as with most Subies, all-wheel drive is standard.
Expert recommendations and popular opinion differ
Three automobile experts recommend the same 2023 Subaru Ascent trim. Edmunds, Car and Driver, and Autotrader prefer the Premium trim. Autotrader also chooses the Onyx Edition with the upgrade package and the Touring.
Edmunds picks the Premium as “a good choice for most buyers, as it comes with a lot of desirable features at a reasonable price.” C/D says, “The Ascent Premium is our pick of the lineup, as it offers a good balance of features and price.” And Autotrader states, “The Ascent Premium is a great choice for most buyers, but if you want more luxury features, you’ll want to step up to the Onyx Edition or Touring.”
However, according to Edmunds, the most popular trim is the Limited, meaning consumers disagree with the experts. Edmunds explains that the Limited “adds some luxury features to the Ascent, such as leather upholstery and a navigation system, but it’s still reasonably priced compared to the top trims of some competitors.”
It’s possible buyers are more attracted to the Limited due to its upscale amenities at a reasonable price, and they’re willing to sacrifice some features and upgrades recommended by experts for that extra touch of luxury.
The 2023 Subaru Ascent is family-friendly
With a roomy and versatile interior, the 2023 Subaru Ascent is a decent family hauler. Its third-row seats can fit adults comfortably, and there’s plenty of cargo space. The turbocharged engine in every trim provides plenty of power for passing, merging, and climbing.
In addition to its AWD system, the Ascent’s ground clearance makes it capable of handling rough terrain with ease. This SUV also boasts impressive towing capacity, with a maximum of 5,000 pounds when properly equipped. Additionally, the Ascent’s safety features are top-notch, including adaptive cruise control and forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking.