A brown 2022 Subaru Ascent is shown parked at a boardwalk.

So, What Are the Differences Between the 2022 and 2023 Subaru Ascent?

The five-door, midsize crossover SUV from Subaru has recently received a rather generous refresh, giving it a new look, new features, new content, and new ways to experience life on the road in the Ascent. Of course, for many people, one model year to the next probably all look the same, given that the nameplate is still fairly new, and what’s a one-year difference between the two models? Well, there are some fairly significant differences between the 2022 Subaru Ascent and its 2023 successor. So if you were looking to find a Subaru Ascent for sale from a local dealer or online seller, you might want to check out the differences before committing to a purchase. Let’s take a closer look at both years.

The Move From 2021 to 2022

Before we get into what sort of differences are present between the 2022 and 2023 models, we first have to understand what was changed from 2021 to 2022. The Ascent has only been on the market since 2018, so it’s a fairly new nameplate in the auto industry. The yearly updates have been incremental rather than large-scale, given that it’s still finding its footing as a midsize crossover in the ever-expanding SUV market.

With that being said, the 2021 Ascent added some very rich and well-appreciated quality-of-life updates in the form of steering-responsive LED headlights made standard on all trims, along with some new exterior colors. New safety technology was also made standard, along with tire pressure monitoring sensors. This helped give the 2022 model year a good launching platform to work from when it came to new features.

However, the 2022 model year didn’t quite add much in the way of new features, as you may have thought; this was actually saved for the following model year. Instead, the 2022 model year focused on the new Onyx Edition, which was added to the trim lineup for the year, featuring a new black exterior color, along with 20-inch black wheels. Basically, some minor tweaks to add a bit more value to the Ascent from the perspective of prospective buyers.

The brown interior of a 2022 Subaru Ascent for sale is shown.

An Array of Upgraded Features

When it comes to the changes from the 2022 model year to 2023, we’re looking at a whole different ball game. Subaru decided to focus on overhauling many of the Ascent’s features and refreshing the nameplate with a new look as well. Additionally, the 2022 model year updates carried over to 2023. This included the Onyx Edition, which featured onboard navigation, a hands-free power liftgate, heated steering, a retractable cargo cover, and a standard panoramic sunroof.

But it’s not just about what the 2023 model year carries over from 2022 that makes it exciting; it’s also about what new features it adds to the lineup. For instance, Subaru completely overhauled the infotainment suite for the Ascent, implementing an all-new Subaru STARLINK 11.6-inch Multimedia system into the center console. This is a massive upgrade over the top-tier 8-inch HD digital touchscreen currently available in the 2022 model. That means you get an impressive 30% more screen space to work with regarding touchscreen functionality on the new Ascent.

Additional upgrades for the 2023 Ascent include the standard integration of wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. No cords here. It’s a trim-wide feature, too, instead of being available only on select trims. The Surround View Camera that offers a 360-degree overhead view is now available, along with the latest version of EyeSight: Subaru’s driver assist technology that includes adaptive cruise control with lane centering, pre-collision braking, and automatic emergency steering, giving you maximum confidence on the road.

Another innovative addition to the 2023 Ascent is Cabin Connect. For third-row passengers, hearing what the driver is saying may be difficult with the mix of music and people talking. Cabin Connect allows the driver or front passenger to activate overhead microphones to speak to everyone in the vehicle through the rear speakers. This is a must-have for parents needing to talk to their kids in the backseat without having to turn around and take their attention off the road.

A Sharp, Modernized Look For 2023

Upgrades are one thing, but changes can be something very different. Not every change can be considered an upgrade, depending on how you look at it. In fact, one of the major changes for the 2023 Ascent is all about the vehicle’s looks. Subaru didn’t do anything completely outlandish, like reworking every aspect of the Ascent’s profile. Instead, they took a modest approach to the 2023 Ascent by making the front and rear fascia much more appealing.

It’s going to be hard for those scavenging for great deals or looking for a Subaru Ascent for sale to pass up the 2023 model, given the changes. It might only be the front and rear fascia, but the redesign offers a sharper, more modern look that is sure to turn heads on the road. The chrome surroundings on the Ascent are now blacked out on the front grille, giving the midsize crossover a much more menacing look. A sportier lower front bumper, complete with air ducts, has also been implemented, giving the entire front end, along with the new fog light housing, a more aerodynamic look.

Speaking of aerodynamics, the shapely hood and arrowhead LED headlights give the Ascent a fairly aggressive visual presence and bolder look compared to the 2022 model year. The rear fascia has also undergone a lot of tweaks as well, almost to the point where you might not have even recognized it was the same vehicle, except for the badging. The all-new C-shaped LED tail lights fit the theme of the now very angular aerodynamic front fascia, creating a modern appearance that is all its own.

A black 2022 Subaru Ascent Onyx Edition is shown driving through a city street.

A Fresh 2023 Redesign Worth Your Attention

You can see the Subaru Ascent coming into its own as a nameplate with each passing model year. The changes from 2021 to 2022 weren’t massive, but you can see Subaru exercising greater confidence in the stance, presence, and style of the Ascent with the 2023 model. We can almost see where they’re going with the vehicle and what sort of market they want to appeal to with its more stylistic exterior and highly noteworthy interior upgrades, perfect for a large family or designated carpooler.

Will it get the average SUV shopper looking for a Subaru Ascent for sale to commit to a purchase of a 2023 model year? Time will tell; however, the changes are all for the better: better aerodynamics, better styling, advanced technology, and improved comfort features. It’s just the natural progression of evolving the nameplate to offer more and better features out of the gate, many of which are trim-wide standards now.

You can say that the 2023 Subaru Ascent does everything right in terms of what you would want to see from a new model year when it comes to improvements. Obviously, not every model year of the Ascent will undergo these sorts of updates. Even still, seeing Subaru commit to these changes soon after the model’s debut is certainly encouraging. It’s clear the manufacturer has faith in the Ascent’s future, and after examining the improvements made to the 2023 model, we can see why.