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2022 Subaru Ascent vs Toyota Highlander

2022 Subaru Ascent vs Toyota Highlander

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

People are increasingly turning to three-row SUVs for their next vehicle purchase, and the 2022 Subaru Ascent and Toyota Highlander have risen as top contenders. From spacious interiors that give you ample room to roam, down through advanced safety functions - these cars offer it all! Though not cheap by any means, they still possess highly attractive price tags in comparison with what is being offered.

Prospective car buyers have a monumental decision to make when it comes time to select the perfect vehicle for their needs. Options multiply and can become overwhelming, as there are five choices of trim levels with Toyota's Ascent - not including the 11 trims and four hybrid options available with the Highlander! To help simplify this process, we offer up this comparison guide so customers can easily pick which is best suited for them.


The Powertrain

In terms of engine options, the Ascent takes a straightforward approach by offering just one. However, this 2.4-liter turbocharged engine, with four cylinders punches above its weight class, delivering 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. Having such impressive power and a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds, the Ascent's engine is a standout choice that will not disappoint.

This engine is paired with a Lineartronic continuously variable transmission. Traction control is standard, as is active torque vectoring that helps with handling and cornering. As people may already know, the Ascent comes standard with symmetrical all-wheel drive. This is a hallmark of Subaru SUVs, and it provides excellent traction. A related system called X-MODE can increase grip when the conditions prove challenging, and hill descent control can be engaged to limit speed on downhills.

With the Toyota Highlander, you have a choice of two powerful engines. The 3.5-liter V6 easily outperforms its competition in terms of horsepower with an impressive 295 but falls short when it comes to torque, providing 263 pound-feet instead. While drivers can spot differences between them if they are particularly perceptive, many won't be able to tell any marked distinction from one engine over another - giving all those behind the wheel more than enough power regardless.

The 2022 Toyota Highlander offers the choice of either all-wheel or front-wheel drive, each of which is matched with a powerful direct shift eight-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission. This gearbox system has proven its worth in several other vehicles - notably including the Ascent - and should give drivers optimal stability on any terrain.

If you're looking for an environmentally friendly way to power your Highlander, then the hybrid option may be just what you need. The unique combination of battery and electric motors deliver a net horsepower of 243 while still allowing it to maintain its impressive 3,500 pound towing capacity. And if that isn't enough: all-wheel drive options are also available so no matter how big or small the load is - your reliable Toyota will get it there safely with ease.

The 2022 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is the perfect option for those looking to go green without sacrificing power. Boasting a whopping 36 miles per gallon in cities, it's more efficient than its all-wheel drive counterpart which tops out at 21 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. And if you're after an SUV with competitive fuel economy but aren't sold on hybrid technology, one of six Ascent trim levels can provide up to 27 mpg on highways; impressive savings from traditional engine models.

The Toyota Highlander's XSE trim is ideal for drivers who enjoy a sporty and dynamic ride. With its cutting-edge torque vectoring all-wheel drive, it expertly adapts to each driving situation while the independent front suspension gives you an extra edge on performance and agility – perfect for tackling any terrain.

All of the Highlanders have different drive modes. People can choose from Sport, Eco, and Normal modes, and there's even a Snow mode. The Snow mode is present on the non-hybrid Highlander whether it has all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive. The hybrids have a special EV mode that lets them rely exclusively on electric power. This would only work for short distances. The hybrids also have Trail mode if they've been upgraded with all-wheel-drive capability. Finally, the non-hybrids with all-wheel drive can have a Multi-Terrain Select program, in which users can choose from mud and sand, rock and dirt, and normal modes.


The Subaru Ascent and Toyota Highlander are the ideal family vehicles, boasting ample seating for up to eight passengers. Both offer three rows of seats--enough room so that everyone can join in on road trips! Furthermore, those with bench seats provide a cozy space for six travelers while models featuring captain's chairs enable you to bring along an extra companion without compromising comfort.

The Subaru Ascent offers plenty of room for passengers up front, with 42.2 inches and 38.6 inches in the first two rows respectively - perfect for longer trips! However, those opting to ride in the third row should be aware that there's only 31.7 inches of legroom; it might best suit smaller children on shorter journeys instead. Comparatively speaking, riders will find an even more generous 41"s worth of space between second-row seats in its Highlander counterpart... but unfortunately this is counterbalanced by a surprisingly scant 27.7 inch offering at the back – tight quarters indeed!

With an impressive cargo volume of 84.3 cubic feet, the Toyota Highlander is king when it comes to storage space - perfect for those who need ample room for large items. But don't count out its competitor just yet! When all seats are occupied, both vehicles have respectable amounts of cargo capacity with the Subaru Ascent coming in at just under 18 cubic feet and the Highlander offering 16 cubes – still plenty enough for a full house on their next road trip adventure.

When it comes to parking in tight spots, the similar lengths of 197 inches for SUVs like the Highlander and Ascent can be a challenge. Obstructed views from their full cabins make maneuvering even trickier – but not impossible! With rear-view cameras, as well as helpful features such as blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert available on these vehicles, you'll have an easier time getting into those hard to reach places with confidence.

Subaru has gone above and beyond to make sure their Ascent model is equipped with modern, top-of-the-line technology. Not only do all the trims come standard with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Sirius XM Radio HD radio and Bluetooth connectivity; they also boast an impressive number of USB ports throughout each interior cabin seating row - that's up to eight! Those looking for added convenience can opt in on two additional trim levels featuring WiFI capability as well as a built in navigation system accessible via 8 inch touchscreen interface (and included 14 speaker Harman Kardon sound system).

Toyota has focused a lot of its attention on technology, too. The Highlander starts off with an eight-inch touchscreen, six speakers, smartphone compatibility, Bluetooth, and SiriuXM and HD Radio. Plus, it has Wi-Fi capability. One thing that the Highlander has that the Ascent does not is Amazon Alexa. This can be especially convenient for those who have other Alexa-compatible device. The technology package on the Highlander offers one USB media port and four USB charging ports.

Navigation is optional on mid-level trims of the Highlander. On the Limited, Hybrid Limited, Platinum, and Hybrid Platinum, it's standard. These trims also have JBL audio systems that consist of 11 speakers. Notably, the Platinum trims have 12.3-inch touchscreens.

Another extra system that the Highlander has is Driver Easy Speak. It amplifies the driver's voice through the speaker system so that anyone sitting in the back can hear more clearly.


Subaru and Toyota have been renowned for creating safe cars, but recently they've gone above and beyond with driver assist technologies. Their models the Ascent and Highlander come equipped with cutting-edge safety packages to give drivers peace of mind in any situation - EyeSight Driver Assist Technology from Subaru or Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ on the Highlander.

Toyota's revolutionary EyeSight Driver Assist Technology keeps drivers cruising safely with a suite of useful features. Expect pre-collision warning and automatic emergency braking to help you stay alert in high-stress situations, as well as adaptive cruise control that maintains your lane positioning on the road - ideal for long trips! For extra safety measures, Safety Sense 2.5+ adds steering assist and an indispensable road sign assistant to remind drivers of necessary rules while keeping them aware of potential changes ahead.

With both vehicles boasting highly sought-after features like automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert as standard equipment, the differences between the Ascent and Highlander become clear; opting for the former equips you with reverse automatic braking to ease navigation in crowded spots plus an additional 180-degree front view camera - elevating driver safety even further.

Outfitted with a 360-degree camera system and 10" color heads up display, the Toyota Highlander provides an unprecedented level of awareness for drivers. Not only can one keep track of their vehicle's progress thanks to navigation instructions on the HD monitor in front, but available Front & Rear Parking Assist with Automatic Braking helps prevent collisions at low speeds — whether it be from stationary objects or crossing vehicles when reversing.

Which has the best value?

When it comes to selecting the perfect midsize SUV, consumers have a wide range of options from which to choose – including Subaru's Ascent and Toyota's Highlander. The starting price for an Ascent is just under $33,000; however prices increase with each higher trim level ending at around $46k for their Touring trim.

Meanwhile, the base L model of the Highlander starts at approximately $36K but if you're wanting all-wheel drive that number jumps up another few thousand dollars! Hybrid powertrain can also be added on select midlevel trims (for an extra fee) while those seeking out luxury should opt in for Honda’s highest tier option: the hybrid Platinum coming in right shy of fifty grand ($50K). No matter your budget there are great deals available when considering these two vehicles!

Both the mid-level Ascent and Highlander provide drivers with excellent features, including LED lights and tri-zone climate control. However, for an added touch of luxury, the top models take things to a whole new level - like heated leather seats in both front AND back on the Ascent Touring or an auto dimming rearview mirror with smart capabilities on the Hybrid Platinum Highlander.

On the other hand, the Highlander offers a host of luxurious features, such as the sumptuous heated and cooled front seats or second row. To soak in some rays on your drives through town there's also a panoramic moonroof while those who opt for safety can enjoy both the head-up display and 360 degree camera - although only you know if these extra amenities are worth it.


Which is Better?

When it comes to choosing between SUVs, the Toyota Highlander and Subaru Ascent have many similarities. However, there are certain differences that could help influence your decision. Fans of improved fuel efficiency may go for the hybrid version of the Highlander while those seeking all-wheel drive as standard should look no further than an Ascent – but fear not; if you're after a Hybrid with AWD then finding a suitable Highlander won't be difficult.

The Highlander and Ascent are both solid choices, depending on your specific needs. If transporting a full load of people more often is in the cards, then you'd be wise to opt for the Subaru Ascent with its extra third-row space. However if storage capacity has higher priority than an occasional passenger haul - as well as cutting edge tech & safety packages - Toyota's spacious Highlander may fit better into your lifestyle.

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2021 Subaru Ascent VS Toyota Highlander