Space is important in an SUV. When you've got a big family or need space for all your skis and camping equipment, an SUV like the Subaru Ascent or Toyota Highlander comes in handy. Which one is right for you, though? To help families near Parsippany, Wayne, and Morristown decide, Paul Miller Subaru looks at what each one has to offer in this Subaru Ascent vs. Toyota Highlander comparison.

Subaru Ascent vs Toyota Highlander: Performance

The 2020 Subaru Ascent has standard all-wheel drive and runs on a 2.4L 4-cylinder SUBARU BOXER® engine. It delivers traction when you need it most with 277 lb-ft of torque. This powertrain is paired with a versatile and efficient Lineartronic® High-Torque Continuously Variable Transmission (HCVT), which includes both Adaptive Control and 8-speed manual mode.

The Toyota Highlander has a larger engine that still doesn't produce as much power. It's powered by a 3.5L V6 that only offers 263 lb-ft of torque. While all-wheel drive is available, front-wheel drive comes standard, meaning you have to upgrade trim levels before you get the most capability out of your vehicle.

Ascent vs Highlander: Interior Dimensions

Both the Subaru Ascent and Toyota Highlander come with three rows of seats and offer space for up to eight people. They also give you lots of cargo room. However, the Ascent makes your ride both more comfortable and convenient.

The Subaru has a wide cabin with room for your passengers to comfortably sit side by side. There's 60.3 inches of shoulder room in the second row, while the third-row measures 57.2 inches wide. The Toyota offers less room to stretch out with only 58.7 inches of shoulder room in the middle row and 55 inches in the back seats.

The Ascent can also help you pack more with 17.8 cubic feet of space in the trunk. A convenient underfloor storage compartment and folding seats make it easy to load more, too. With the second and third rows folded down, there's 86.5 cubic feet of cargo room.

The Toyota Highlander has a smaller trunk with 16 cubic feet of cargo room. While it also comes with folding seats, it can only offer up to 84.3 cubic feet of space.


Max. Cargo Room

Trunk Space

Subaru Ascent

86.5 cubic feet

17.8 cubic feet

Toyota Highlander

84.3 cubic feet

16 cubic feet


Capability of Subaru Ascent vs Toyota Highlander

In addition to offering you lots of cargo room, the Subaru Ascent and Toyota Highlander are both capable of towing up to 5,000 pounds. The Ascent is better prepared to take your cargo up steep and rugged terrain, however. It has an 8.7-inch ground clearance and standard all-wheel drive. It's also equipped to handle slippery conditions with standard Vehicle Dynamics Control and X-MODE®.

The Toyota sits a little lower to the ground with an 8.0-inch clearance. While it offers all-wheel drive, front-wheel drive comes standard. Both drivetrains come with traction and stability features, but it doesn't feature anything to help you reestablish traction like X-MODE®.

Toyota Highlander vs Subaru Ascent: Safety Features

The Subaru Ascent gives you peace of mind with a strong frame and an advanced airbag system. It protects you with a pair of front, front side, and side curtain airbags. There's even a driver's knee airbag.

Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive comes standard to prevent slipping and sliding during winter weather. There are also lots of driver-assistance features that can help prevent accidents. For example, EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology comes standard and gives you more awareness with advanced features, such as:

  • Pre-Collision Braking
  • Pre-Collision Throttle Management
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Lane Departure and Sway Warning with Lane Keep Assist

The Toyota Highlander also has front, front, side, side curtain, and knee airbags. Plus, it comes with its own driver assist technology system. Toyota Safety Sense™ 2.0. Unfortunately, with standard front-wheel drive, it can't give you the same stability on snowy and icy roads.

Test Drive a Family Friendly SUV at Paul Miller Subaru

Get in touch with Paul Miller Subaru to learn more about this Subaru Ascent vs. Toyota Highlander comparison, and test drive the one that's right for you. The Subaru Ascent offers a safe, dependable drive and lots of cargo room to families near Parsippany, Wayne, and Morristown.

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