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Anyone spent some time comparing the Ascent with the Honda Pilot?

Reviews are starting to come out (e.g., Alex on Autos), and Alex on Autos praised it above the Ascent for multiple factors.

Some questions I'm curious about (and I'm sure you have more questions):
  1. How does Honda Sensing compare with the Subaru Eyesight?
  2. Which vehicle is superior in AWD (Alex on Autos mentioned Honda's better b/c it delivers more power to wheels with traction?)
  3. Which brand offers superior active cruise control and lane keep assist (Honda uses radar? Subaru has dual cameras?)?

In addition to all of this, how does Toyota Highlander compare against all of this (e.g., ACC, lane keep, and other safety features)?

I'm still looking forward to taking my Ascent as soon as it arrives, but it seems that the new Honda Pilot refresh is a lot more competitive and has the Ascent beat in several ways. (I simply still don't like the look of the Pilot, and personally feel it's a tad uglier than last year's model. Then again, I don't think the Subaru Ascent wins any awards on the "looks" category either.)
 

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when we knew we were going to be buying a new three row suv this summer, we took a hard look at all we could find under $50grand. I liked the looks and size of the Pilot, and when this current model came out, it was getting rave reviews from all of the Car Magazines. All were claiming this to be THE top suv in this class. Then over time I noticed that they all began backing way off that prediction.. We looked at and drove the top of the line model. It drove fine and had plenty of power. We felt the size was adequate. The lane assist does not work under 40mph. Didn't like that so much. It has a push button transmission in the center console that we found confusing and a bit frightening actually. I could see one of us not really paying attention and hitting the reverse button instead of drive. Or someone accidentally hitting a button while in motion. It did not have a front camera, and it should because the hood is large!. The third row seats were very uncomfortable and are actually sitting flat on the floor with no elevation what so ever. Then we noticed that they were only getting @ 12mpgs city driving..that was a dealbreaker for us. Im sure we could have gotten used to everything on the Pilot, but we just liked the Subaru so much more..what I didnt know, when I ordered the Ascent, was how long the wait would be. But hey.. every month its late, I'm putting a car payment in the bank!!!
 

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Thoughts...

Anyone spent some time comparing the Ascent with the Honda Pilot?

Reviews are starting to come out (e.g., Alex on Autos), and Alex on Autos praised it above the Ascent for multiple factors.

Some questions I'm curious about (and I'm sure you have more questions):
  • How does Honda Sensing compare with the Subaru Eyesight?
IIHS always rates Eyesight better.

  • Which vehicle is superior in AWD (Alex on Autos mentioned Honda's better b/c it delivers more power to wheels with traction?)
Unless something has changed in the i-VTM4 system for the 2019MY Pilot, Subaru's system in the Ascent can transfer more power in either direction (as of yet, I've not seen Honda make any such indication):
  • Subaru Ascent: 100/0 to 0/100
  • Honda's SH/Elite-AWD: 90/10 or 70/30 to 30/70 or 50/50 (depending on which version they used - Acura uses both, for instance, depending on vehicle)

BUT the Honda Pilot has a solid limited-slip differential or rear locking differential. I'm not too sure about some of his claims, because we've already seen older variants (2009/2010+) of this Subaru system cut all power to a front or rear wheel and shift it elsewhere, both on roller tests, and in real life when a wheel is in mid air going off-roading. We've seen that in the Ascent vids even. What he's describing was the case 9+ years ago with the older 90/10 or 80/20 Subaru systems.

What the Subaru systems ACTUALLY did were:
  1. 90/10 torque split front-to-rear under normal conditions until 1996
  2. 80/20 from 1996 to 2009
  3. 60/40 on Subaru Forester from 2009 and Outbacks/Legacies Gen 4 onward with the ability to do 100/0 or 0/100.

Versions 1 and 2, and the VTD system could not do 0/100 (F/R). Version 3 can, as well as 100/0. The Ascent is definitely V3, with:
  • 0/100<->60/40 (standard mode)<->50/50 (X-Mode)<->100/0 capable.

I think he's confusing the various Subaru system capabilities. X-Mode will be one of the features it needs to beat. I would love to see a real world comparison.

  • Which brand offers superior active cruise control and lane keep assist (Honda uses radar? Subaru has dual cameras?)?
There's debates on this. Each method has its benefits and weaknesses. Dual cameras (to within limitations of the processing power and programming of the system) of course most closely matches how we humans do such things with our built in "dual cameras".

I won't make the assumption that Subaru's ACC is better because of the better Eyesight system. There's too many other parameters involved in how each is implemented with ACC. I guess we'll know soon, as they're more closely compared. Heck, even the Ascent's ACC acts a bit differently than the 2018 Forester's (less aggressive deceleration, for one). How much is a factor of the greater weight, or changes in implementation, I don't know.

I'd like to see them adopt both methods in conjunction with Lidar as well.
 

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when we knew we were going to be buying a new three row suv this summer, we took a hard look at all we could find under $50grand. I liked the looks and size of the Pilot, and when this current model came out, it was getting rave reviews from all of the Car Magazines. All were claiming this to be THE top suv in this class. Then over time I noticed that they all began backing way off that prediction.. We looked at and drove the top of the line model. It drove fine and had plenty of power. We felt the size was adequate. The lane assist does not work under 40mph. Didn't like that so much. It has a push button transmission in the center console that we found confusing and a bit frightening actually. I could see one of us not really paying attention and hitting the reverse button instead of drive. Or someone accidentally hitting a button while in motion. It did not have a front camera, and it should because the hood is large!. The third row seats were very uncomfortable and are actually sitting flat on the floor with no elevation what so ever. Then we noticed that they were only getting @ 12mpgs city driving..that was a dealbreaker for us. Im sure we could have gotten used to everything on the Pilot, but we just liked the Subaru so much more..what I didnt know, when I ordered the Ascent, was how long the wait would be. But hey.. every month its late, I'm putting a car payment in the bank!!!
As an owner of a 2017 Honda Pilot Touring I don't know how anyone could mistakenly engage reverse instead of drive. It takes a very deliberate action to initiate reverse and you really have to not be paying any attention to what you are doing to engage it by accident.

I have to question the claim of 12 mpg in the Pilot and frankly don't believe it. We are consistently average 23 mpg over 28,000 miles. A quick check of the limited data at Fuelly.com suggests that the Pilot has slightly better average, albeit insignificant, mpg than the Ascent.

With that said if the Subaru Ascent was available when we bought the Pilot I would have bought it instead. The driving dynamics are vastly superior as well as the overall feel of the car. It is more comfortable and has more room for the driver. Subaru did a great job and I suspect they will sell a bunch of Ascents.
 

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12 mpg? I could be wrong but I’m not sure if the computer will let you shift into Reverse going 75 in drive. The buttons don’t really actuate the gears, they send a message to the computer to shift. Shift by wire maybe? My Honda experiences have been solid, but I am torn - I want an Ascent.
 

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I have to question the claim of 12 mpg in the Pilot and frankly don't believe it. We are consistently average 23 mpg over 28,000 miles. A quick check of the limited data at Fuelly.com suggests that the Pilot has slightly better average, albeit insignificant, mpg than the Ascent.
I don't see way to separate Fuelly.com 2WD Pilot from AWD ... and its -1 MPG from 9 speed to 6 speed and -1MPG from 2WD to AWD
 

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I have to question the claim of 12 mpg in the Pilot and frankly don't believe it. We are consistently average 23 mpg over 28,000 miles. A quick check of the limited data at Fuelly.com suggests that the Pilot has slightly better average, albeit insignificant, mpg than the Ascent.
My guess is that the 12 MPG is what was being displayed on the screen for average MPG. I think this could be real world with a car that is on the lot. A good majority of the time, they are running at idle in the lot while the salesperson does a walk around with the client and while the client plays around with all of the buttons, settings, adjusting seats and mirrors...

I highly doubt the 12 MPG for actually MPG while driving. ****, I used to get 12 MPG on the highway with a 2005 Chev 1500HD wiht a 6.0 V8 and 4 speed trans.
 

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Something I still don't see an answer to with this new model year is captains chairs. I know the old Pilots only offered the captains chairs in the Elite model. That's something that turned us off of the Pilot all together (we really wanted the separation in the middle).

Does the new one offer captains chairs in the lower trims?
 

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Anyone spent some time comparing the Ascent with the Honda Pilot?

Reviews are starting to come out (e.g., Alex on Autos), and Alex on Autos praised it above the Ascent for multiple factors.

Some questions I'm curious about (and I'm sure you have more questions):
  1. How does Honda Sensing compare with the Subaru Eyesight?
  2. Which vehicle is superior in AWD (Alex on Autos mentioned Honda's better b/c it delivers more power to wheels with traction?)
  3. Which brand offers superior active cruise control and lane keep assist (Honda uses radar? Subaru has dual cameras?)?

In addition to all of this, how does Toyota Highlander compare against all of this (e.g., ACC, lane keep, and other safety features)?

I'm still looking forward to taking my Ascent as soon as it arrives, but it seems that the new Honda Pilot refresh is a lot more competitive and has the Ascent beat in several ways. (I simply still don't like the look of the Pilot, and personally feel it's a tad uglier than last year's model. Then again, I don't think the Subaru Ascent wins any awards on the "looks" category either.)
Redline did a nice review on it the other day. Showed off some off-road stuff too.

Personally, I think it's BUTT ugly. I haven't liked the look of the Pilot since the square boxy design.

Watching the review I felt like I was stepping into my parents 1991 4Runner. It looks so plain and ugly and dated. Plus buttons for shifting...no thanks sorry not for me!



Regarding the Highlander. My parents are leasing a 2018 SE and they love it. I haven't driven it myself so I can't speak to anything. I do know it has start/stop tech and doesn't have Android Auto/Carplay. We've always been a Toyota family :) The Ascent was me branching out finally :)

I'm curious what the 2020/2021 Highlander redesign brings...
 

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Something I still don't see an answer to with this new model year is captains chairs. I know the old Pilots only offered the captains chairs in the Elite model. That's something that turned us off of the Pilot all together (we really wanted the separation in the middle).

Does the new one offer captains chairs in the lower trims?
I think I read somewhere that they do offer captains chairs (as a $300-something option) in all the trims except the lowest one.
 

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Saw that review as well.

I sat in a Pilot (2018) and didn’t like the design of the interior or exterior so never took it for a drive

Competition benefits the consumer as I highly doubt Honda would of put that much effort into AWD system if it wasn’t for the Subaru. Even their marketing and press events look very Subaru ish.

With superior AWD of the Subaru the Ascent was the clear winner but now Honda is closing the gap. I wonder how an Ascent would done on that prepared course. Would it lose momentum like the Pilot or cruise right through.

Wish I could wait for a redesigned highlander because I like what they did with the RAV4 but our family needs a bigger vehicle ASAP.

For me...

Ascent Pros

- Better AWD?
- Better safety system/cruise control
- Better looking inside and out
- Responsive LED headlights
- Thigh extension (huge plus for me at 6’)


Pilot Pros

- Good enough AWD system for someone in CA
- Reliability (less parts) and easier to service?
- 9 speed
- Dealers more willing to negotiate? Got $500 under invoice from a dealer on a touring Awd bringing the cost very close and better equipped than the Ascent
 

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I've got a 2017 Pilot Elite, and I vastly prefer the styling of that over the 2019.

Some additional pros for the Honda depending on your trim, it has a nice bluray player and I really like the adjustable front armrests.
 

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Front armrests would be wonderful on the Ascent. I found that it made long distance driving MUCH easier on my arms with my Toyota Sienna. The rear seats have them. Unfortunately, there is little room between the seat and the center console to fit the armrests as it is currently designed. You certainly don't want to make the seats any narrower to fit the armrests.
 
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