Executive Summary


What is the difference between Forester and Ascent?  At a quick glance, you'll observe that the Ascent looks like a big Forester...but there's a lot more going on beneath the sheet metal. Ascent is a "mid-size sport utility vehicle" and Forester is a "compact" SUV. Forester carries only five passengers, Ascent takes 7 or 8 depending on your middle-row selection. 

Both were all new for the 2019 model year and are built on Subaru's new "Global Platform," a modular chassis that offers superior crash absorption and handling agility.


Ascent has the longer wheelbase (the distance between the axles)--almost nine inches.  Lengthening the distance between the axles provides an even smoother ride because the vehicle platform covers more square area and therefore bumps are less noticeable. Turbocharged engine makes the Ascent quicker, Ascent tips the scales with an extra half-ton of mass so Forester claims the agility title.

Both offer the all-weather prowess of a sport utility vehicle with the lower cost, higher fuel economy, better ride, and superior outward visibility of a car. (They are both built on car platforms instead of truck frames). 
They boast many safety features, including full-time symmetrical all wheel drive (with no buttons to push).  Subaru's suite of driver-assistance technologies, Eyesight, is standard on both.

Comparing the same trim levels, Ascent costs about $8,000 more.  However, Ascent comes with standard or optional equipment not offered on Forester, such as a front view camera, third-row seating, turbocharged engine, and NINETEEN cupholders!



Ascent

Forester

Ground Clearance
is the same, at 8.7 inches, so both elude obstacles that snag mortal vehicles.
Ascent is over four inches wider.
Ascent is almost fifteen inches longer.
Ascent is almost three inches taller.
Outward Visibility
Both have a "command driving position" allowing you to see over traffic in front of you. Both have enviable outside visibility, but Forester ranked #1 among all vehicles! See the graphic.
Dawg (and cargo) Space Blue can stand up straight in both, but he could take more of his buddies in the Ascent.

Max cargo (behind first row) 86 cubic ft
Behind second row: 48 cubic ft
Behind third row: 18 cubic ft

Max cargo (behind first row) 76 cubic ft
Behind second row: 35 cubic ft
no third row

Power Tailgate Option
Optional on both Ascent and Forester. Watch our instructional video here.
153 cubic feet 108 cubic feet
Total People Space
Given the Forester's shorter overall length, it's surprising to see so much legroom in the Forester. Both benefit from ingenious scooping of front seats so there's more room for knees.
Rear Legroom
Given the Forester's shorter overall length, it's surprising to see so much legroom in the Forester. Both benefit from ingenious scooping of front seats so there's more room for knees.
Price
Comparably equipped, Ascent is about $8,000 more, which buys you a bigger and better-equipped vehicle.
Ascent Models and Prices Forester Models and Prices
Price
Comparably equipped, Ascent is about $8,000 more, which buys you a bigger and better-equipped vehicle.
Ascent Models and Prices Forester Models and Prices
Towing Capacity
Forester can tow a small utility trailer but to relocate the tiny house you'll need the Ascent.
5000 pounds (all models except base) 1500 pounds
Crash Tests
Both earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's "Top Safety Pick" ratings.

Ascent Test Results

Forester Test Results

Subaru Eyesight System
Subaru Eyesight includes pre-collision braking, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise, and much more. Both have Subaru's latest system, which includes Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Detection, and steering responsive headlights. Only Forester offers DriverFocus.
Optional Moonroof
Both offer huge panoramic moonroofs big enough to eject unwelcome passengers. Ascent glazing is larger, but only the first of its two panels slides and tilts. Forester unit is one piece.
Engines and Fuel Economy
Both run regular unleaded.

2.4 liter turbo four cylinder
260 horsepower
Continuously variable automatic transmission:
20 city, 26 highway

2.5 liter turbo four cylinder
182 horsepower
Continuously variable automatic transmission:
26 city, 33 highway

Fuel Tank and Max Range
Forester goes farther with a small tank because of its outstanding fuel economy.
19.3 gallons, 501 miles 15.9 gallons, 547 miles
Rooftop Cargo Solutions
Both have standard roof rails (the bars that run front to back). Crossbars are optional.
Planet-exclusive high resolution photo galleries, videos, and much more...

Planet Ascent Center

Planet Forester Center




Exclusive Planet Benefit:  Planet Passport Program




   



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Subaru shoppers looking to understand the differences between the Ascent and the Forester are in the right place, especially if you want to know which one is best for you in the Boston area.