The 2019 Subaru Ascent: Hot Choice that Smokes the Competition

The 2019 Subaru Ascent marks a first for the automaker - a midsize SUV with three rows of seating. Not only does it provide plenty of power and performance, plus the passenger and cargo space you need, but it can also tow a significant load, making it one of the more capable options out there. Is it right for you? Does it outperform the offerings of rivals? Let's take a closer look to see how the Ascent compares.

Subaru Ascent

The Subaru Ascent is brand new for 2019. It seats up to eight people in comfort, and it offers best-in-class cargo space. The third row also provides more space for passengers than most other competitors' models. Combine that with the ability to tow up to 5,000 pounds, and you have a serious contender in this class.

There are four trim levels on offer with the Ascent. However, all of them use the same 2.4-liter engine and CVT. In addition, they're also all all-wheel drive. The base model offers 18-inch wheels, along with a 6.5-inch infotainment screen and integration with CarPlay and Android Auto. Subaru has also bundled the EyeSight® suite for safety and driver assist features with all trims as standard equipment. That gives you adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning technology and lane departure warnings.

The next trim brings blind spot monitoring and this is the level you need to purchase if you want towing capabilities. It also offers voice control, an eight-inch touchscreen, rear seat climate controls, and other features. The Limited trim brings a panoramic sunroof and a navigation system, while the Touring trim offers ventilated front seats, a front-view camera, and a household-style power outlet.

Toyota Highlander

The Toyota Highlander has been a member of this market segment for a very long time, and it has evolved considerably from what it once was. With that being said, the 2019 version gets minor stylistic changes, and still suffers from the drawbacks of the previous year's model, including a cramped third row, a lack of technology integration like CarPlay and Android Auto, and a weak base engine.

Buyers have several trim levels to choose from with the Highlander. The base model is the LE trim, followed by the LE Plus, the XLE, the SE, the Limited, and the Limited Platinum trim. Only the base LE trim comes with the weak 4-cylinder engine, and the LE Plus brings additional features to the table, such as HD radio, blind spot monitoring, and triple zone climate control. The XLE builds on that by offering a roof rack, a household-style power outlet, voice recognition, and leather. Other features available on higher trims include 19-inch or 20-inch wheels, LED running lights, a heated steering wheel, an eight-inch touchscreen, and optional second row captain's chairs.

Compare the Subaru Ascent

Prices do not include government fees and taxes, any finance charge, any dealer document processing charge, any electronic filing charge and any emissions testing charge.

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Honda Pilot

While the Honda Pilot might more closely resemble a minivan than an SUV, it does retain the bones of what it once was. It also benefits from the availability of the Honda Sensing suite of safety and driver assist features. However, the third row remains tight, and the transmission available on the higher level trims is noted as being rough during shifting.

Five trim levels are offered with the Pilot, including the LX, EX, EX-L, Touring, and Elite. Each of these is front-wheel drive, and each of them uses a 3.5-liter V6 engine. There are no options, and all-wheel drive is not standard, although it is available as an extra upgrade (for an additional charge).

Some of the features found across the trim levels include 18-inch alloy wheels, upgradable to 20-inches with higher trims, as well as a sunroof on more expensive models. Captain's chairs are available on the Elite trim, as are things like automatic wipers and a heated steering wheel.

Ford Explorer

The 2019 Ford Explorer is unchanged from the 2018 model. This is because Ford is completely redesigning the SUV from the ground up for the 2020 model.

Currently, the Explorer is available in the base trim, the XLT, the Limited, and the Sport trim. Available features include Ford's Co-Pilot360™ system, which includes important safety features and driver assist items, as well as available intelligent four-wheel drive, Ford's Sync 3 system, hill start assist, electronic power assist steering, and more.

The Best Choice in Midsize SUVs

Ultimately, the Subaru Ascent offers class-leading passenger space and cargo room, some of the most towing capacity in the segment, and the modern safety and assist features that today's drivers expect and deserve. Instead of waiting for other brands to play catch up, you can get the style, comfort, tech and safety features you want, today, in the Subaru Ascent.