2022 Subaru Ascent vs Toyota Highlander


The Subaru Ascent and the Toyota Highlander are two excellent mid size crossover SUVs. The Highlander has been on the market longer and has a reputation for reliability and good performance. Introduced in 2019, the Subaru Ascent has earned a reputation for its size, unique style and exceptional performance. However, while the exterior of the Highlander is basic and unimpressive and emphasizes utility over style, the exterior of the Ascent has a sleek, understated, profile that incorporates some of the classic Subaru design elements that many people love and makes it look attractive and distinctive. 

Standard Features

The Subaru Ascent and Toyota Highlander have many similarities. Both have an attractive sport utility body style, cloth bucket seats, second row bench seats and pass-through rear seats. While they both have a trailer hitch receiver for towing, with its 5,000 pound maximum towing capacity, the Subaru Ascent has more trailering strength. Plus, it has a power liftgate, dual exhausts, is taller, has a 10 inch longer wheelbase and a smaller turning diameter. That makes maneuvering it with a trailer in tight spaces easier than it is if you are pulling a trailer with a Toyota Highlander.

The Cabin

The interior of the Toyota Highlander features a thoughtful design, high-quality material and detailed craftsmanship that creates comfort and class. The Subaru Ascent has a classic cabin with ergonomic seating and other user-friendly design features. Its extra length provides more comfortable seating with extra legroom for tall occupants.Both vehicles have seating for 8 people, but with more head, shoulder, hip and legroom and more cargo capacity in the first, second and third rows, occupants find the cabin of the Subaru Ascent more comfortable and more convenient for carrying groceries, gear and all other types of items.

Under The Hood

The Toyota Highlander has a 295 horsepower, 3.5 liter, V6 engine that produces 263 pound-feet of torque and works with an 8-speed automatic transmission. There is also a hybrid engine option. Front-wheel drive comes standard, with the option to upgrade to all-wheel drive. The Subaru Ascent has a 260 horsepower, 2.4 liter, turbocharged, direct-injection, flat-4, Subaru Boxer engine that generates 277 pound-feet of torque. The crossover SUV benefits from an extra perk because of turbocharging. The engine works with a continuously variable transmission. All-wheel drive is standard on the Ascent.

Infotainment And Connectivity

The Toyota Highlander has an 8.0-inch infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, SiriusXM satellite radio, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and Amazon Alexa integration. Plus, the Highlander has an available 11 speaker JBL audio system. The Subaru Ascent infotainment system features a 6.5-inch well-positioned touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a Wi-Fi hotspot, large, easy to see, onscreen icons and fast response to inputs. Plus, there is wireless hands-free smartphone operation and a six speaker sound system. This keeps the occupants entertained, aware and connected no matter where their journey takes them. 

Safety And Driver-Assistance Features

Both the Toyota Highlander and the Subaru Ascent have good safety features that include automatic high-beam headlights, adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring. Plus, they got good safety ratings from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Subaru Ascent also has standard safety features like a rearview camera, lane centering assist, forward collision alert, a forward collision intervention system and a rear-seat reminder as part of Subaru's EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology. 


The Toyota Highlander delivers near immediate accelerator response, acceleration is decent, but it lacks driving verve and driver engagement. It has good power for highway driving, a generally responsive powertrain and a smooth-shifting transmission. Handling is stable, poised and competent, but unexciting with minimal steering feedback. It has excessive body roll when cornering, but is a suitable ride for daily use. The Subaru Ascent has smooth, agile, handling and a fun, sporty, comfortable, quiet, ride on-road and off-road. Its has the robust acceleration, speed, power and maneuverability needed for in-town and highway driving. The all-wheel drive system handles bad weather and slippery roads with ease and its torque vectoring and its light, composed, accurate steering makes cornering sharp, smooth and stable. 

Vacation Adventures

The Toyota Highlander and the Subaru Ascent both have adequate cargo room for lots of people and their gear when they're headed for family vacations or a weekend of fun and adventure with friends. While the Toyota Highlander works well and is a good option for a sedate vacation experience, the Subaru Ascent has the towing capacity to pull a speedboat or a camper trailer. Its all-wheel drive, hill descent control, 8.7-inch ground clearance and its X-mode traction management system lets you traverse steep grades, navigate twisty roads and rough, rugged, snowy, off-road terrain with ease. 

A Clear Choice

The Toyota Highlander is an above average midsize SUV. It has a high-quality interior, good standard features, a strong V6 engine, LED headlights, 18-inch rims, a solid reliability record and is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+. However, third-row seating is tight and driving it isn't a lot of fun. The Subaru Ascent has many comfort and convenience features like keyless entry, Bluetooth integration, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, 8.7 inch ground clearance, X-MODE, 5,000 pounds towing capacity, lots of legroom and spacious cargo areas. Plus, it has an impressive array of tech features, a sleek, attractive exterior, agile handling, a smooth ride and is fun to drive.

Visit Granite Subaru

Granite Subaru has a wide array of all the trims of the 2022 Subaru Ascent. They can answer any questions you have and show you how easy it is for you to get behind the wheel of this impressive midsize SUV. People can kick the tires, slide inside and even test drive a Subaru Ascent. The team at Granite Subaru has been working with buyers for years to help them identify and buy the perfect vehicle for their needs. You can log on to their website, call and make an appointment or simply by.