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Fans of the Subaru lineup of SUVs have many options to choose from. The most popular options include the Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek. However, only one model from the automaker is a three-row SUV with seating for eight. Unfortunately, it’s a lesser-known name for Subaru and slips past many customers. Did you know Subaru has a three-row SUV that competes against other midsize models? The 2023 Subaru Ascent is a safe, reliable, and viable option in the three-row midsize SUV segment.

Is the 2023 Subaru Ascent a three-row SUV?

Does Subaru have a three-row SUV? The 2023 Subaru Ascent is a forgotten midsize model.
2022 Subaru Ascent | Subaru of America, Inc.

According to Edmunds, the 2023 Subaru Ascent is a three-row midsize SUV and the automaker’s largest model. With seating for up to eight, the Ascent is the most underrated Subaru and might be the most underrated model in the midsize SUV segment. Since nearly every vehicle from the automaker comes with standard all-wheel drive, the Ascent is no different. That means a three-row midsize SUV with AWD costs as little as $35,120 for the Base model.

Additionally, the cheapest version comes with a few standard driver aids, like forward collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, a lane-keeping system, and adaptive headlights. Additionally, the value of the Ascent increases with its tech and capability. For example, LED headlights, three-zone climate control, an 11.6-inch infotainment screen, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, and four USB ports are standard. The Ascent starts off with a 2,000-pound towing capacity from the factory.

The Ascent offers excellent value

What comes with a 2023 Subaru Ascent Touring, the fully loaded model of the three-row SUV?
2023 Subaru Ascent interior | Subaru

Although getting more fancy features and capabilities costs more, the 2023 Subaru Ascent isn’t very expensive. The next trim up from the Base model has everything most owners need. For just $37,720, the Premium trim adds towing capacity, which maxes out at 5,000 pounds. Next, the interior receives upgraded materials throughout the cabin, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel/shifter. Additionally, blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert and evasive steering assist join as extra driver aids.

Higher trims are well-equipped but remain more affordable than many rivals. For example, the range-topping Touring model starts at $49,420. Popular competitors like the Kia Telluride and Honda Pilot easily exceed $50,000 with their highest trim before options. For such a cheap alternative, it’s interesting that the Ascent has widely flown under the radar for a few years. After all, it’s basically a more extensive version of the ultra-popular Outback.

2023 Subaru Ascent engine and fuel economy

One thing that’s both good and bad about the 2023 Subaru Ascent is the engine lineup. It’s bad because there’s only one option, which isn’t particularly powerful. However, it’s good because it delivers a smooth, comfortable ride and respectable fuel economy for a three-row midsize SUV. All Ascent trims use the same turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with an output of 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. Additionally, the model averages about 20 city and 26 highway mpg.

Car and Driver‘s testing revealed the Ascent to be easy to drive. “…the Subaru has a comfortable ride; though our test vehicle wore 20-inch wheels it did a good job of isolating us from bumpy roads and soaked up harsh impacts. Unfortunately, we noticed a lot of wind and road noise while cruising on the highway. While the Subaru lacks the fun-to-drive nature found in the Mazda CX-9, the sizable three-row was nicely composed in normal driving.”

Subaru’s three-row SUV

In conclusion, Subaru has a three-row midsize SUV, the 2023 Subaru Ascent. The eight-or-seven-passenger model is the perfect alternative to some more costly models in the segment. Although it doesn’t carry the most powerful engine, it has standard AWD and other features to boost the value. At an affordable price, even the highest trim feels more valuable than some overpriced rivals. Yes, Subaru has a three-row SUV, and we think it deserves more credit.


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