Subaru Ascent vs Toyota Highlander vs Honda Pilot

Battle of the best three-row crossovers!

 
 
We're so confident that you'll love the Ascent, we bought a Highlander and a Pilot so you could drive them all at one dealership without driving around all day. With the all-new 2019 Ascent generating so much enthusiasm, these cars are going out a lot so please call ahead to schedule a time for you to drive them.




Not interested in the competition? Skip to our dedicated 2019 Ascent page.






PLANET'S EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

All are considered "midsized crossovers," which mean they began life on unibody car frames rather than heavy duty pickup truck platforms.  All three seat up to eight by offering functional third row seating big enough for adults.  Only Ascent offers NINETEEN cupholders, so if hydration is your main criterion in selecting a car, you're going to love the Ascent!

You really can't go wrong with any of them, but the Subaru has some key advantages:
  • Ascent is slightly larger in every dimension, and has the highest ground clearance.
  • Only the Ascent drives like a nimble Subaru for greater safety during evasive maneuvers.
  • Only the Ascent has a turbocharged Boxer engine for more spirited driving AND it gets the best combined fuel economy. Who said a utility vehicle has to drive like a school bus?!
  • With its Eyesight system, Subaru's semi-autonomous safety suite is the most sophisticated. 
  • You can't buy a new Toyota or Honda from your undealership.  

All three have a 3 year/36,000 mile comprehensive warranty and 5 year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty. Only the Toyota comes with two years of free maintenance. 






COMPARISON 




Subaru 
Ascent
Premium AWD

Toyota 
Highlander
LE Plus 4WD

Honda 
Pilot
EX AWD


Exterior Dimensions
Ascent is bigger in every direction than the Highlander and the Pilot. 




Ground clearance: 8.7"

Length: 197"
Width: 86"
Height: 72"


Ground clearance: 8.0"

Length: 191"
Width: 76"
Height: 68"


Ground clearance: 7.3"

Length: 195"
Width: 79"
Height: 70"
 

Total Interior Space and
Front Leg Room
Boxy Pilot has a huge greenhouse and can swallow up more ping pong balls than the others. Highlander is a little better for NBA players with long legs.





   
154 cubic feet
42
inches legroom



 
159 Cubic Feet
44 inches legroom



  
172 Cubic Feet
41 inches legroom



 





Cargo Area Cubic Feet
All three will swallow two adult bikes stacked on their sides without removing the wheels.





  
2nd+ 3rd Row down: 87
2nd + 3rd Row up: 20
 
2nd + 3rd Row down:
95
2nd + 3rd Row up: 10

2nd and 3rd Row down: 84
2nd + 3rd Row up: 17
Third Row Seating
All three haul a lot of lass (and lad).  All offer second row captain's chairs (seven- passenger configuration) or a second row bench seat (eight passengers).


   












 
 




Engines and Fuel Economy
Ascent pulls like a sports car and gets better combined fuel economy than the others. Only Ascent offers a turbo and Boxer engine. 












2.4 liter turbo boxer 4
with
  Continuously variable
automatic transmission:

260 horsepower

20 city, 26 highway

 



3.5 Liter V6
with
8 speed automatic
 
transmission

295 horsepower

 19 city, 26 highway






3.5 Liter V6
with
6 Speed automatic
transmission

280 horsepower

19 city, 26 highway






Fuel tank and range






19.3 gallons
Range:  502 miles


19.2
gallons
Range:  499 miles


19.5 gallons
Range:  507 miles


 



Optional Engines 
Pilot and Ascent offer only one engine.  Nobody does Hybrids like Toyota, achieving almost 30mpg combined, but a loaded Hybrid Highlander will run you over $50,000!  Toyota also offers a four-cylinder engine in the base model, paired only with front-wheel drive.
 





No other
engines available



Optional 3.5 liter
hybrid six cylinder
 

29 city, 27 highway
280 horsepower


No other
engines available




 


All Wheel Drive

Subaru is best known for its legendary Symmetrical All Wheel Drive. Ascent was designed from the ground up with all wheel drive.  Honda and Toyota engineers started with front drivers and bolted on additional hardware later.




     Subaru system sends
varying power to all four
wheels all the time,
without pushing any
buttons.  All four wheels,
all the time, at any speed.


Normally, Highlander
system delivers power
only to the front wheels
until slippage is detected.
 To power all four wheels, "Locking mode" can be engaged with a button but turns off over 25mph.




Honda system is similar
to a traditional pickup
 truck 4WD drive system
but applied to a
front-wheel
drive platform.








Towing
Highlander can pull a small trailer; Ascent and Pilot can tow a small house!









5,000
pounds






2,000
pounds




5,000
pounds

Crash Tests
Toyota is a Top Safety Pick. Pilot and Ascent go one better with the "Plus" rating on top of that.
 








Price
Subaru offers tremendous value, which is one reason why its sales have increased seven years in a row--unique in the industry. 
 




$35,170






$36,268

Comes with
two years/25,000 miles
free maintenance




$35,950
 





Purchase and Ownership Experience

You can buy a new Subaru at Planet, but not a new Honda or Toyota.











Exclusive Planet Benefit:  Planet Passport Program





 






Search our inventory for your Subaru:

    


...Or look at our nice Honda and Toyota trades...

 Used Honda
 Used Toyota












  



 



  

 






Anyone looking for a great deal or lease on a Subaru Ascent should visit Planet Subaru because Boston 3-row shoppers in the Boston area appreciate the review and comparison with the Highlander and Pilot.
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