In the market for an Ascent – any regrets on seating, trim or options?

Hello! We own a 2023 Subaru Ascent 8 passenger Limited. My perspective is coming from a family of 6 (all kids ages 10 and under…so lots of child seats, etc) with a large 60lb dog as well. So keep that in mind when reading my comments below. :)

You brought up some great points/questions that we also went through when we chose ours.

I’m disappointed they don’t have an 8-passenger configuration for the Onyx or Touring trims. I like the idea of all the bells and whistles because for all purposes this is going to be our weekend/family trip car. Right now, if we can fit the stuff in my Outback, we take my Outback.

I’ll start off with my biggest gripe. Not offering the digital rear-view mirror on the 8 passenger was a mistake on Subaru’s part. With a large family filling up a middle row seat it becomes very difficult to see out the back window. Subaru is a safety first company, but the digital rear-view mirror makes WAY more safety sense in the 8 passenger than it does in the 7 passenger (with captains chairs). We would have 100% bought the Onyx or Touring if it gave us 8 seats AND the digital rear-view mirror. This was a big miss on Subaru’s side, IMHO. 8 seats was a necessity for us, so Limited trim was it.

That being said, I don’t know that we necessarily need “8” passenger capacity, but it could come in handy in a pinch. We’re a family of 4 (kids are pre-teens), so I fully expect that we’d have minimal use for the rear seating outside of the carpooling. The captain’s chairs configuration seems like it could work for us, I imagine I can fit a 6′ foamy surfboard in between the seats.

I suppose the idea of having the bench (and 8-passenger config) is more for the 5th body in the vehicle – I wouldn’t have to reconfigure the back cargo area for the third-row seating for just one person, as they’d just sit on the middle bench seat in the second row. But I don’t know if I am exaggerating how much of an issue this is, or not.

Benefits of the 8 seat (specifically the 2nd row bench) is that it folds flatter than the captain’s chairs do. Also, there’s a lot of room in the 3rd row, you can move the 2nd row seats forward and still have plenty of room in the 2nd row plus extra room in the 3rd row. I have not sat in the 7 seater 3rd row, but I would think you’d be more comfortable in one of the outer seats of the 3rd row simply because those specific seats are more comfortable than the center seat.

That said, since you are a 4 person family, if you plan on staying 4 person family the 7 seater/captain’s chairs probably make more sense to me. Easy for an extra person to climb into the third row, if/when you need it. For all other times you’ll have that extra space for easy access storage or pass-through items like the aforementioned board.

Either way, if we went Limited or Onyx, I would get the optional technology package with the panoramic sunroof.

Other accessories I’d add are the wireless charger and the trailer hitch (for our bike rack). Aside from that, I’d do all the all-weather cladding stuff myself and save a couple bucks. I’d also subscribe to the Starlink plan for the remote start.

+1 to the tech package and sunroof, we like both on ours! We use the wireless android auto for basically everything. Although when we plug our phones into the USB ‘wired’ android auto takes over. Same experience, but the car prefers to choose the phone plugged into USB as the ‘main’ phone sometimes…handy to know if you have multiple smartphones connected to the Ascent at the same time. Not a huge deal at all, just thought I’d mention it.

IMHO, do not bother with the wireless charger. As many people (included both my Wife and I) have found out, for some reason the wireless charger in the Subaru Ascent overheats our phones. I plan on taking ours out to gain back space in that cubby area. In the 15k miles we’ve had this car, we’ve only tried the wireless charger about 3 times, it overheated our phones every time (we have two different samsung android phones). We both have cases on our phones so that may contribute to the issue, but have never once had any overheating issues on any other charges of any kind, it only happens with the Ascent wireless charging pad. There’s plenty of USB ports for wired charging multiple devices even in just the front row.

If you get the hitch, definitely get the OEM hitch and make sure it’s PORT/Manufacture installed. If the dealership installs it the price will be much higher as they generally charge for the labor.

It looks like Subaru really refined this since the launch and I’m happy to be considering it on my short list. We’re also keeping the Highlander Hybrid in mind as well, but that’s mostly a fuel economy angle since that is a smaller vehicle in comparison and doesn’t have full “true” AWD.

We test drove the highlander hybrid as well, but the 3rd row and storage seemed a lot smaller. Despite on paper the 3rd row of the Ascent not being at the top of the ranking, it’s quite comfortable because there’s actually places for your feet to go. Many other SUV’s in the same category claim more knee space, but don’t tell you there’s no place for your feet to go. Not sure if this is because our 8 passenger has the 2nd row bench or if the captain’s chairs would be different. Plenty of foot and knee room though in the 3rd row, more than the highlander.

My Wife and I would get another Ascent, but only if it was plug-in hybrid. We plan on keeping our current 2023 Ascent for as long as we can keep it running. Our other Subaru we’ve had for 16 years and it’s still going strong (2004 wrx).

Anyone have any thoughts, opinions, or regrets on their purchasing experience? We may consider a lease since interest rates are relatively high right now, and finance the balance in a couple years when the lease is up.

We kind of turned our Ascent into something most people don’t. Next week we are taking our entire family (2 adults, 4 kids, and 1 dog) on a 3,300 mile adventure….825 miles of that trip will be on pure dirt/offroad camping in the middle of nowhere. I’ve seen plenty of Toyota’s out there on the dirt trails (and the 4runner was a top contender for us while we shopped for an SUV), but can’t remember ever seeing a Toyota Highlander. :)

Whatever you choose I’m sure you’ll have made the right choice for your family!

This is my chance to shamelessly plug pictures of our Asccent, with a few modifications (plenty of ‘under the hood’ type stuff too).

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