Compare The New 2021 Subaru Ascent vs 2021 Toyota Highlander Models

The Subaru Ascent may be one of the newest three-row SUVs on the road today but it has the durability, power, and versatility to compete with the established competition like the Toyota Highlander. With standard All-Wheel Drive, award-winning safety, and a powerful BOXER® engine, not to mention a lower starting MSRP, we think the 2021 Ascent is the perfect large SUV for your family's needs. To help you decide, we've put together this head-to-head comparison between the Ascent and the 2021 Highlander. When you're done researching, stop by the Byers Airport Subaru showroom to check out the Ascent in person.

Subaru Ascent utility specs

2021 Subaru Ascent vs 2021 Toyota Highlander: Features & Design

All it takes is one look at the features and volume offered by the two vehicles to see that the 2021 Subaru Ascent is already the best value. The 2021 Toyota Highlander may come standard with LED projector headlights, the 2021 Subaru Ascent offers the innovative LED Steering Responsive headlights as standard fare. The Ascent Touring model comes standard with a power moonroof while it's only optionally available on the Highlander, which means spending more. When it comes to space, the Ascent is designed to keep all of your passengers riding in comfort. The Ascent offers a spacious 31.7 inches of third-row legroom compared to the paltry 27.7 inches in the third-row of the Highlander. No matter what cargo you need to haul, be it backpacks, luggage, groceries, or sporting equipment, the Ascent has more overall cargo room than the Highlander.

Subaru Ascent technology specs

2021 Subaru Ascent vs 2021 Toyota Highlander: Comfort & Convenience

The Highlander's highest trim level offers an eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat while you get a ten-way power driver's seat on the top two levels of the 2021 Ascent so it's easier to find your perfect comfort zone. The Ascent delivers standard heated front seats on all trim levels but the base model; if you're looking for that feature on the Highlander, you have to shell out close to $5,000 on the highest trim available. Ventilated front seats, heated second row seats, and a heated steering wheel are all found on the higher trim levels of the Ascent but are only optionally available on the Highlander so you have to pay even more.

Both vehicles offer standard infotainment centers with Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ capability, plus Bluetooth® for seamless smartphone pairing, audio streaming, and hands-free connectivity. If you're looking for an exhilarating and fun musical experience to add to any journey, only the Ascent offers the 14-speaker Harman Kardon® Quantum surround sound audio system.

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Subaru Ascent performance specs

2021 Subaru Ascent vs 2021 Toyota Highlander: Performance

Performance may not be the most important reason you decide to purchase a three-row SUV but it's certainly something you don't want to ignore. The V6 engine of the 2021 Highlander may generate a little more horsepower than the turbocharged BOXER® engine on the 2021 Ascent while the Ascent delivers more torque, and they both have a max towing capacity of 5,000lbs. Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive comes standard on the Ascent, providing you with better traction on wet or muddy roads so you have more confidence during every drive. While all-wheel drive is available on the Highlander, you would end up paying $2,400 to add it to the base model.

Subaru Ascent safety features

2021 Subaru Ascent vs 2021 Toyota Highlander: Safety

Both the 2021 Ascent and the 2021 Highlander garnered the highest honor that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives out, being named a 2021 Top Safety Pick+. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded both SUVs an overall rating of five stars, but when you look closely, the Highlander only received four stars on the frontal crash test. Both vehicles were rated highly by these hallowed institutions of safety thanks in part to their standard suite of driver assist features. The Ascent's EyeSight® technology includes the Pre-Collision Braking System, Lane Departure and Sway Warning, and Adaptive Cruise Control.

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2021 Subaru Ascent vs 2021 Toyota Highlander: Value

With a starting MSRP of just $32,295, the 2021 Ascent is already less than the $34,910 starting MSRP of the 2021 Highlander. When you start adding optional features to the Toyota that already come standard on the Subaru, it's obvious that the Ascent is the much better value. To see and feel the Subaru difference, stop by Byers Airport Subaru or contact us to schedule a test drive.

2021 Subaru Ascent2020 Toyota Highlander
$32,295Starting MSRP*$34,910
277 lb-ftTorque263 lb-ft
StandardAll-Wheel DriveAvailable Upgrade
20 City MPG / 26 Highway MPGAWD Gas Mileage21 City MPG / 29 Highway MPG
5,000 lbsTowing Capacity5,000 lbs
StandardRoof RailsAvailable Upgrade
153.5 Cubic FeetPassenger Volume141.3 Cubic Feet
86.5 Cubic FeetMaximum Cargo Capacity84.3 Cubic Feet
14-Speaker Harman Kardon Quantum Surround SoundAvailable Audio System11-Speaker JBL System

*Manufacturer's suggested retail price does not include destination and delivery charges, tax, title and registration fees. Destination and delivery includes handling and inland freight fees and may vary in some states. Prices, specifications, options, features and models subject to change without notice.