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2022 Subaru Ascent vs Kia Telluride

2022 Subaru Ascent vs Kia Telluride
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

2022 Ascent vs Telluride - How Do They Stack Up? Which is Better?

Families who need additional passenger and cargo room will find their perfect match in a three-row SUV. From the many quality models available, two exceptional choices are the 2022 Kia Telluride and Subaru Ascent – offering passengers top-of-class comfort, safety features, performance capabilities, convenience amenities -- and more.

The Kia Telluride is here to impress with a dynamic exterior design and exceptionally luxurious cabin. Not only that, but tech-savvy buyers are lured in by its advanced features now standard on all models. To top it off, an outstanding warranty package seals the deal - making this highly desirable SUV even more attractive to prospective buyers.

Meanwhile, the Subaru Ascent stands out in its own way. Its standard all-wheel-drive system and impressive ground clearance make it a great choice for drivers in snowy areas. The Ascent's comfortable interior also ensures a pleasurable driving experience for passengers.

For those struggling to decide between the 2022 Subaru Ascent and the 2022 Kia Telluride, each of which offers fantastic features, a head-to-head comparison will be done in order to determine the superior choice.

The Powertrain

Subaru only offers the Ascent with one powertrain. Luckily, it delivers a satisfying level of performance. A turbocharger helps the SUV’s four-cylinder engine to squeeze out 260 horsepower and a significant 277 lb-ft of torque. Instead of a traditional automatic transmission, the Ascent uses a gearless CVT.

On the road, the Ascent feels quite potent. Virtually all the engine’s torque is available at a low rpm, which translates to effortless acceleration around town. This SUV can also get up to speed quickly when merging onto the interstate. Road tests show the Ascent is capable of hitting 60 mph in as swiftly as 6.9 seconds.

Kia goes a different route by equipping the Telluride with a V6 engine. It packs a robust 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission helps promote a smooth and responsive performance.

While the 2022 Kia Telluride isn’t quite as quick as the Ascent, it still has plenty of get-up-and-go. It clocks a 0-60 mph time of around 7.1 seconds. Of these two SUVs, the Telluride has the better transmission. Test drivers rave about the intelligence of the Telluride’s transmission. Whether attempting to overtake a vehicle on the highway or hustling from one stop light to the next, the transmission seems to always select the most suitable gear.

The maximum towing capacity of these two SUVs is the same. They can tow up to 5,000 pounds of goods. Only the Telluride, however, possess a self-leveling rear suspension. This particular feature aids in balancing the SUV, when towing a load. It also ensures a smoother ride while lifting heavy loads.

When it comes to fuel efficiency, the Subaru Ascent has just a slight advantage over the Telluride. According to the EPA’s calculations, the Ascent will return 21 mpg in town and 27 mpg on the freeway. Every Ascent trim comes standard with Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD system. Regular unleaded gasoline is the recommended fuel.

Expect the Telluride to return an estimated 20 mpg town/26 mpg freeway. Opting for all-wheel drive lowers the SUV’s fuel economy rating to 19 mpg town/24 mpg freeway. Like the Ascent, the Telluride is engineered to develop peak power using regular gasoline.

When equipped with an AWD system, the Kia Telluride becomes a suitable adventure machine. While the Telluride’s Snow mode helps promote better traction during wintry conditions, activating the AWD Lock mode helps the SUV to perform better when venturing off the pavement.

The Ascent proves to be just a bit more adventurous. A higher ground clearance helps it to topple off-road obstacles and deep snow. Subaru also equips the Ascent with a nifty X-Mode system, which gives the SUV a more secure feel on rural trails. Hill descent control is built into the system.

Drivers will appreciate the Telluride’s strong braking system. It enables the SUV to stop quickly without experiencing any significant nosediving. During emergency braking tests, the Telluride recorded an average 60-0 mph braking distance of 118 feet.

The Subaru Ascent’s brakes are just as effective. When traveling at 60 mph, this SUV takes around 119 feet to come to a complete halt. It stops well on both wet and dry road surfaces.

In terms of reliability, the Telluride outclasses the Ascent. Evaluators give the Telluride an above-average rating in the dependability category. Unfortunately, some publications rank the Ascent among the segment’s least reliable models. Quite a few owners have encountered transmission issues. Furthermore, recalls were issued for the Ascent’s driveshaft bolts and a defective PCV valve.

The 2022 Kia Telluride is covered by a class-leading warranty. Its powertrain warranty lasts for up to 100,000 miles, which means drivers can worry less about engine and transmission problems. A 60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty gives buyers even more protection. By comparison, Subaru covers the Ascent with a 60,000-mile factory powertrain warranty and a 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper package.


Despite being the largest SUV in Subaru's lineup, the 2017 Ascent is not challenging to drive. It has adequate handling for a three-row family vehicle. Subaru's all-wheel-drive system incorporates Active Torque Vectoring, which contributes to ameliorated cornering stability.

The 2022 Kia Telluride sports a more athletic appearance. When it takes curves, its body does not lean as much. The Telluride's driving experience is enhanced with a well-weighted steering system.

Both of these SUVs offer a comfy ride. Like the Telluride, the Ascent does a good job of absorbing potholes and rough road surfaces. However, some automotive reviewers describe the Ascent’s ride quality as being a bit more choppy. The Telluride soaks up the road more like a genuine luxury vehicle.

In regard to outward visibility, the 2022 Subaru Ascent definitely ranks among the best models in the segment. Drivers can look in all directions without encountering any serious blind spots. Big windows also enable the Telluride to offer impressive outward visibility. Drivers will be able to obtain a full view of the road ahead.

Expect the Ascent’s cabin to remain quiet in most conditions. However, it does allow more road noise to come inside. Folks who prefer a luxury-car-quiet cabin will lean more towards the Telluride. This SUV’s well-insulated interior does a fine job of muffling outside commotion. Even when traveling at fast highway speeds, the Telluride’s cabin remains noise-free.

These two rivals can both accommodate up to eight passengers. However, the Telluride’s second-row seats provide an extra 3.8 inches of legroom. This is a big advantage for drivers who often travel with adult-sized family members.

While there’s an extra 0.8 inches of front legroom in the Ascent, most drivers will comfortably fit behind the wheel of the Kia Telluride. These SUVs offer a similar amount of rear legroom. However, more shoulder and hip space give the Ascent’s third row an advantage. On the other hand, third-row entry in the Telluride is less challenging.

Tri-zone automatic temperature control is a standard convenience on both vehicles. Upgraded creature comforts are available for folks who desire more luxury on the road. However, only the Telluride offers ventilated second-row seats. Premium Nappa leather upholstery is also exclusively available on the Telluride.

When traveling with a full load of passengers, the Telluride provides the most cargo space. However, flipping down the Ascent’s third-row seat increases its cargo space to 47.5 cubic feet. This is virtually the same amount of storage room found behind the Telluride’s second row.

For the 2022 model year, the Telluride now comes standard with a larger 10.25-inch HD touchscreen. Not only does this interface have sharp graphics, but it’s also a breeze to use. Smartphone integration is quick and uncomplicated. Drivers can adjust the climate and stereo settings using physical buttons. However, some drivers may have to stretch their arms to reach certain controls.

While the Ascent’s infotainment unit is also easy to operate, its standard 6.5-inch touchscreen is significantly smaller. Ascent buyers move past the base model in order to enjoy a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen.


The 2022 Subaru Ascent will provide families with great impact protection. It received a top rating in every impact test, thus earning a five-star overall safety rating from the federal government. While the 2022 Kia Telluride’s frontal crash scores were just a tad lower, it also managed to earn an NHTSA five-star overall safety rating.

According to the IIHS, the Ascent has the best headlights. Every trim level in the Ascent’s lineup now comes standard with adaptive LED headlights. While the IIHS gives the Telluride’s standard halogen headlights a poor rating, buyers can improve nighttime visibility by upgrading to the SUV’s LED headlights. Both of these models come standard with a collection of active safety technologies, which includes automatic emergency braking and lane keeping.

A few exclusive safety features are offered on the Telluride, such as Kia’s excellent blind-spot view camera system. When activating the SUV’s turn signals, this system displays live video of approaching vehicles. The task of switching lanes will be even more secure. Safe Exist Assist is found on every new Telluride, which is designed to prevent kids from opening doors into oncoming traffic.

Neither SUV offers an automated parking system. However, the Telluride can be upgraded with a bird's-eye-view camera. While the Ascent’s optional front-view camera is not quite as effective, it does help drivers to navigate around obstacles when parking.

Which Has the Best Value?

Prices for the entry-level Kia Telluride LX begin at around $34,345. By comparison, Subaru lists the base Ascent with a starting price of $34,470. Because of Kia’s much lengthier warranty, the Telluride provides to be the best long-term value.

Drivers who demand the utmost luxury will be comparing the Telluride SX and the Ascent Touring. While the Telluride SX has a starting MSRP of around $42,700, Kia’s optional SX Prestige package tacks on an extra $2,300. A few of the fully loaded SX trim’s niceties include Nappa leather seating surfaces, heated/ventilated second-row captain’s chairs, a head-up display, and dual sunroofs.

The Ascent Touring possesses a starting price of just under $46,000. While the Ascent Touring contains standard AWD, it doesn't feel quite as posh as the Telluride SX.

Which is Better?

Both the three-row SUVs merit serious consideration. The Ascent, similar to the Telluride, offers a comfortable passenger experience. However, it does not match the luxury of the Telluride. Additionally, the Telluride stands out with its exceptional base infotainment system and significantly longer warranty, which enhance its overall value. Prospective buyers would also benefit from examining the Telluride's superior reliability rating.

Featuring black exterior accents, the Ascent’s new-for-2022 Onyx Edition trim certainly has an eye-catching look. However, some people will ultimately prefer the Telluride’s bolder styling. It also offers a blacked-out appearance package.

When it comes to performance, it’s a close match between the 2022 Kia Telluride and the 2022 Subaru Ascent. However, an available self-leveling rear suspension gives the Telluride an advantage in terms of towing. Although the Ascent may be a tad better at tackling rural terrain, Kia’s versatile family hauler isn’t too far off the mark.

The Subaru Ascent is a good pick. However, it loses this head-to-head clash to the Kia Telluride. Kia’s largest SUV offers more value, feels more luxurious, and arguably has a cooler look.
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2021 Subaru Ascent VS Kia Telluride