Subaru Ascent Forum banner
1 - 20 of 112 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
130 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Folks, I’m struggling trying to decide between the Honda Pilot Elite, 2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum, or Subaru Ascent Touring. I’ve never owned a Subaru.

I like the Honda Pilot, I expect the 2020 Highlander to be good—I do like the looks, and I like the way the Ascent drove during the test drive but IMHO, the Ascent’s looks are just ok inside and outside (I must prefer the new interior of the 2020 Outback) but my wife wants something bigger. I also like the exterior looks of the 2020 Highlander. Also, Subaru according to Consumer Reports has great reliability but there have been a large number of owners reporting transmission problems in this forum. I have a Toyota Tundra and it has been flawless. Buying a Toyota would be “safe.” The Honda is also a good vehicle but reliability is not as strong as Toyota. The Subaru would be a more “adventurous” purchase but I’m a little nervous about it. I live in the Midwest so AWD is mainly to help in inclement weather—I’ll do no off-roading of consequence.

I guess I’m asking if there are any former/current Honda and Toyota owners who now have the Ascent—are you happy you purchased the Ascent or if you had it to do over, would you go with the new 2020 Highlander or the Pilot?
 

·
Registered
2019 Ascent Limited
Joined
·
800 Posts
Folks, I’m struggling trying to decide between the Honda Pilot Elite, 2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum, or Subaru Ascent Touring. I’ve never owned a Subaru.

I like the Honda Pilot, I expect the 2020 Highlander to be good—I do like the looks, and I like the way the Ascent drove during the test drive but IMHO, the Ascent’s looks are just ok inside and outside (I must prefer the new interior of the 2020 Outback) but my wife wants something bigger. I also like the exterior looks of the 2020 Highlander. Also, Subaru according to Consumer Reports has great reliability but there have been a large number of owners reporting transmission problems in this forum. I have a Toyota Tundra and it has been flawless. Buying a Toyota would be “safe.” The Honda is also a good vehicle but reliability is not as strong as Toyota. The Subaru would be a more “adventurous” purchase but I’m a little nervous about it. I live in the Midwest so AWD is mainly to help in inclement weather—I’ll do no off-roading of consequence.

I guess I’m asking if there are any former/current Honda and Toyota owners who now have the Ascent—are you happy you purchased the Ascent or if you had it to do over, would you go with the new 2020 Highlander or the Pilot?
I had been driving Hondas since 1991 and had no reliability trouble with any of them, they were all great. My last new Subaru was in 1984 so I didn't have any recent experience with this brand. I just couldn't get enthusiastic about the Pilot or any of the others really. I was on the fence until the Ascent crash test results were published last September and bought my Limited the same day. After the break in period we took a 3 month 8,000+ mile trip and now have just over 12,000 miles logged with zero problems. We've been through every kind of weather condition and it has always been comfortable and very sure footed.

Today I took my wife from Lansing MI to the Detroit Metro Airport, a180 mile round trip and recorded 27.9 MPG with the Adaptive Cruise set to 73 MPH for all but about 5 miles. Eyesight is really nice and saved me from a fender bender a couple of weeks after I got the Ascent.

No car is perfect and everyone has personal preferences, the Ascent has some quirkiness for sure but it has been nothing but dependable for me. Also the number of reported transmission problems is not large, it's a small fraction of a percent.

There are so many good choices in this segment, good luck with which ever one you pick.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
130 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Gary, that is helpful. I’m in MO so the winter weather is not quite as harsh as MI but nevertheless an issue. If I understand you correctly, you just moved from Honda to the Ascent, correct? Anything in particular about the Pilot that steered you away from it?
 

·
Super Moderator
2019 Ascent Touring (CWP)
Joined
·
3,828 Posts
I've owned Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Tundra and two Prii. I've owned Jeep Grand Cherokee. I have friends who own Honda/Acura. Obviously, I own Subaru...several of them, actually, "as we speak". They have all been great vehicles and my Ascent Touring has been pretty outstanding so far.

Every brand and model has issues and the Internet is a popular place to complain about problems at a greater rate than praising lack of problems. People come here for support and that might make it seem that a lot or even a majority of vehicles have issues. That's just not the case.

To your specific question, Honda's never been on my radar. I considered Highlander when it was time for something new this time around, but found the Ascent to be more to my liking. Zero regrets.
 
  • Like
Reactions: carlover01

·
Registered
2019 Ascent Limited
Joined
·
800 Posts
Thanks Gary, that is helpful. I’m in MO so the winter weather is not quite as harsh as MI but nevertheless an issue. If I understand you correctly, you just moved from Honda to the Ascent, correct? Anything in particular about the Pilot that steered you away from it?
My wife has a Honda Accord Hybrid, so I guess we have branched out, not moved. Last Fall, I was looking to replace my Ram Crew cab which was our previous long haul vehicle for Winter trips to CA. I didn't want another truck or truck based SUV, so all of the 3 row AWD crossovers were in play. Coming from the truck, I wanted as much interior space as possible, the Ascent was a bit bigger than the Pilot and the others that were available last Fall.

I'm old with arthritic hands and I didn't like the twisty shifter knob the Pilot has, it seemed like it could be a potential problem for me picking the right spot, plus I think the rear half of the Pilot is butt ugly, pun intended.

I buy my cars, keep them 8-10 years and always use the dealer for service, my pre sales/buying experience with Subaru was great as it was back in the 80's.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
216 Posts
I had a 2009 honda pilot and traded it in for the ascent. IMHO, honda quality has decreased over the years. When I took a test drive, the 2019 pilot felt so cheaply made - felt lose over bumps, no acceleration, and honestly just bores me. I went straight to the subaru dealer after my honda test drive and took it to a test track owned by the dealer and took it straight up the hill paved with large stones - salesman was like that is what the ascent was made for - and it was sooo solid crawling over the rocks i was sold right there. Plus, honda has had issues with their vcm engine and Im not sure how much they have changed it over the years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
I also have it narrowed down to these three vehicles. Interested in hearing opinions as well. I drove the Highlander and was surprisingly underwhelmed. The interior is far more superior in the Ascent in my opinion and I did not care for its handling as much. Have not driven the Pilot yet, because, of the three, the exterior doesn’t wow me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
775 Posts
I have owned all three brands. I've had multiple cars from Honda and they've all been very good, save for my 07 Honda Odyssey which began to develop a transmission slip (a known issue, much like the Ascent transmission issue) at around 80,000 when we traded it in. We also had an 05 Toyota Avalon limited that had its fair share of problems, including the sudden acceleration issue, which did in fact happen to me in a crowded area!!

Although in terms of initial reliability, the Ascent has been the least reliable car I have owned. It has not stranded me, but has had a whole series of issues already.

Although out of the three, I would still probably go with the ascent. But if I could do it again, I would go with the CX-9 or the Atlas.

I think you'll find the safety tech on any of the cars will be suitable for you. I think Subaru tends to advertise theirs more, so people immediately associate that with Subaru. But I also think since the Ascent is one of the newer designs on the market it probably is more effectively designed with safety in mind, compared to the Pilot, which has been out for a few years now. I would assume the new Highlander would be equally robust.

Honestly I would drive everything in the category, you never really know what you're going to fall in love with until you drive it. a few years ago I went out looking for a Lexus LS and ended up with a Lincoln MKZ, which I am very happy with. So test everything, you're going to be spending a lot of money and you're going to have it for a while, make sure it's the right one.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,416 Posts
I think my opinion may be outdated already. The offerings in this size vehicle are changing quickly! When I was shopping in mid-2018 I considered everything that had 3 rows that wasn't a full size SUV with a budget of about $35K. Since AWD was important to me, most of the choices were out the window before I even went to the first dealer. Interior room nixed even more. For me the Ascent won in just about every category that I deemed important. Looking toward the touring trim level the playing field may be more leveled. I think the overall design of the Ascent is more timeless. Many other vehicles look modern until the next gen comes out, then they immediately look old and cheap. IMHO Subaru doesn't suffer from the same.
It all comes down to what features are most important to you? Which will you be happiest and most comfortable driving?

#1 reason: Ascent doesn’t have auto engine start/stop (at stoplights/etc)
Is that a reason to buy the Ascent or not to buy? I think its a personal choice. I drove a Forester that had the start/stop and couldn't stand it. Other people seem to like that feature.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
I would probably pass on all 3. We went with the Ascent for the AWD system. But 6,000 miles in and we've had several trips to the dealer and the CVT is just junk. Not sure what we'd do if we could do it over. Maybe look at a MDX, CPO Q7, or wait for the 2020 Explorer? But all of those have concerns as well as a higher price tag.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,136 Posts
I would broaden your choices out to include the KIA Telluride or Hyundai Palisade. Not advocating for them, but they are new to this arena.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
932 Posts
My wife owns one of the current generation Honda Pilots, and I'm a little disappointed in it. It doesn't have CarPlay, and the AWD isn't all-the-time like Subaru, which means my tires have to lose traction before the computer decides to start doing AWD stuff to compensate. The gas mileage isn't that great either, even though it's a direct injected V6 "EarthDreams" engine.

The biggest pet peeve of the Honda Pilot (2016) for me is that the infotainment is buggy. I've been in for 3 different warranty related repairs, all related to electronics. Some of them are still not fixed.

The Pilot feels, for lack of a better term, like I'm driving a minivan. It's dull, lackluster.

The best feature about the Pilot is that the third-row seat has a lot of headroom. As a 6'0" adult, I was comfortable back there for about a 30 minute ride.

Another person in my family has a Highlander. It seems good, but it is on the smaller side. I've driven this only once or twice, and it kind of was the same comment as the Pilot above, it felt more minivan-like rather than "fun", but if you're looking to avoid the soccer parent stigma, then I guess it fills your needs.

For me the Ascent was the most fun in this segment that I test drove, and really liked the 2.4T engine. It was modern, up to date, and again:

The Ascent has the benefit of entering an already established class of cars: Subaru built the Ascent to meet and exceed all of the competition.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
Probably comes down to a few things:

1- do you need real AWD or can you get by with on demand AWD. If you need real aWD then you have to go with the Ascent.

2- CVT vs Auto? I’m actually not as sold on the 8 speed over the CVT as they usually have a weird shifting points.

3 - third row. The highlanders third row is small. Tiny compared to the Ascent or the Pilot. If you really want people to ride back there go with the Ascent or Pilot.

4 - price. You’ll be able to find better deals on the Pilots and Ascent versus a brand new Highlander. Highlander comparably equipped is a few grand more expensive.

5- eyesight vs TSS vs Honda version. Until this year or last eyesight was far superior. Closely compare the actual capabilities and how they work. Subaru’s system is rock solid, as verified through third party tests.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
85 Posts
When shopping Honda Pilot Touring was my first choice. After the test drive I decided against it. Driver seat was not comfortable nor was the leg room. Ride quality was just OK. Rear seat access was difficult esp if front seats were all the way back. The safety technology like lane assist was too sensitive.

However after 4000 miles on the Ascent Limited I have a love hate relationship w the car. Room, rear seat access, and technology much better. Ride on bumps is too harsh at times. Engine noise esp on acceleration is too intrusive inside the car. Find the drivers seat side bolsters are too firm and put too much pressure on my upper thigh to point I have put a seat cushion in for long drives to elevate my legs from the bolsters. Ours has ivory leather which I purposely wanted because anything else w that ivory shelf along the dash gives the interior an ugly appearance. Why Subaru only put one color on that is a puzzle. Nineteen cup holders of which the two most frequently used in the front console are poorly designed and you have to watch any cup you put in it. Lastly the inability to shut the car off to avoid battery drain when doors or hatch is left open

The CVT in the car is awful. My wife drives a '16 Outback. The CVT on that car is smooth and works great. Our Ascent is the total opposite. As others have posted it shifts hard at times and has trouble finding the gears on hills. Even w cruise control on at 70mph it will shift for no reason. I now have the transmission chirp. The Welcome sign no longer appears even though the system says it is turned on. We now have sounds coming from the front and service is looking at it. The car is starting to develop some rattles.

Unlike another post I find now their front and rear end designs are starting to really look old and outdated. The '20 Outback has not changed the front/rear appearance of the car at all. When one sees the Palisade and Telluride both outside and in the Ascent and all the other Subaru models look really old and outdated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
Folks, I’m struggling trying to decide between the Honda Pilot Elite, 2020 Toyota Highlander Platinum, or Subaru Ascent Touring. I’ve never owned a Subaru.

I like the Honda Pilot, I expect the 2020 Highlander to be good—I do like the looks, and I like the way the Ascent drove during the test drive but IMHO, the Ascent’s looks are just ok inside and outside (I must prefer the new interior of the 2020 Outback) but my wife wants something bigger. I also like the exterior looks of the 2020 Highlander. Also, Subaru according to Consumer Reports has great reliability but there have been a large number of owners reporting transmission problems in this forum. I have a Toyota Tundra and it has been flawless. Buying a Toyota would be “safe.” The Honda is also a good vehicle but reliability is not as strong as Toyota. The Subaru would be a more “adventurous” purchase but I’m a little nervous about it. I live in the Midwest so AWD is mainly to help in inclement weather—I’ll do no off-roading of consequence.

I guess I’m asking if there are any former/current Honda and Toyota owners who now have the Ascent—are you happy you purchased the Ascent or if you had it to do over, would you go with the new 2020 Highlander or the Pilot?
There have been a very small number of owners reporting transmission problems. There are far less than the number of problems reported on the Pilot with 9 speed. In both cases the issue got blown out of proportion as a very small percentage of owners actually experienced a problem.

Up until a month ago I owned a 2017 Honda Pilot Touring along with a 2019 Subaru Ascent Limited. If the Subaru was available when I bought the Pilot I would have bought it instead. The Ascent is quieter, handles better, and is far more comfortable for a tall driver. And it is quite a bit cheaper as well. For me the Subaru wins by a wide margin and that is after 4 Honda's in a row.

It comes down to personal preference as all of the vehicles are quite good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
#1 reason: Adaptive Cruse Control in Subaru (it works complete stop and go) whereas Honda Pilot and Highlander there is cut-off. ACC will not work below 30 mph (2019 models not sure about 2020).
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,416 Posts
#1 reason: Adaptive Cruse Control in Subaru (it works complete stop and go) whereas Honda Pilot and Highlander there is cut-off. ACC will not work below 30 mph (2019 models not sure about 2020).
That would’ve been another dealbreaker for me. Ascents ACC is awesome!
 
1 - 20 of 112 Posts
Top