When Subaru decided it needed to expand its lineup to grow sales and market share, it knew exactly what to do: build a 7-passenger SUV. And so, the Ascent was born. That got it into a segment it had never played in before.
Subaru instantly found 60,000 to 70,000 eager customers a year to buy the Ascent. But it also looks like it cannibalized sales from the Forester. That may have been by design. With production curtailed because of the chip shortage, it could be that Subaru simply devoted more production to the Ascent than to the Forester. After all, the Ascent sells for about $7,000 more than the Forester. So, if you’re capacity constrained why not place your chips on the car that will make you more money?
And then, as long as you’re still capacity constrained (it’s made in Indiana), why not entice customers to spend a bit more money on a special trim line? That’s how the Onyx Edition was born.
Subaru calls it a “youthful trim level.” It features a lot of black trim, which is why this trim line is named after a black gemstone. The grille is black as are the badges, headlight bezels, mirrors, roof rack and the 20-inch alloy wheels. Inside the black theme continues, including simulated carbon fiber trim on the doors and center dash panel.
Of course, you get a lot more than a bunch of black bits. The Onyx Edition comes very well equipped, loaded in fact, including all that great safety equipment that Subaru offers like EyeSight Driver Assist. The only option package includes a moonroof, a top-line nav and infotainment system, and a cargo cover.
While a base Ascent is priced a little over $33,000, the Onyx is priced at $39,120. Those prices include destination charges. The option package adds $2,200. So if you go full boat, the total price for an Onyx is $41,320.
Even so, the Onyx is not at the top of the model line. The Limited Edition, which offers an 8-passenger configuration, and the Touring Edition, are a few more rungs up the ladder.
Engine: 2.4 L, 260 hp; 277 lb-ft
EPA rating: 22MPG
By: John McElroy
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John McElroy is an influential thought leader in the automotive industry. He is a journalist, lecturer, commentator and entrepreneur. He created “Autoline Daily,” the first industry webcast of industry news and analysis.