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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have now owned 2 different Ascents. I generally liked my 2019 Ascent Premium save for the fuel economy, but wanted a few more features, so I traded it for a 2020 Ascent Limited without really checking out the competition. I had recently been dissatisfied with very poor fuel economy on several recent fill-ups on the Ascent (about 15 mpgs) and decided to go test drive a Highlander Hybrid. I ended up trading in the Limited Ascent for a Highlander Hybrid Platinum. The Highlander provides a much smoother ride, almost equal power, tighter steering, WAY better sound system, nicer leather, more comfortable seats, and double the fuel economy (or better). One of the biggest things that stuck out was the suspension difference. Where I really felt a lot of bumps earlier with the Ascent, the Highlander rolls over them without much effect. The two cars have almost exactly the same size tire, so the difference is probably in the suspension components. It was really a no brainer to make the switch. I guess I was also swayed by recent revelations on this list of leaking engines and blown transmissions in the Ascent at low miles. I was able to get a 10 year bumper to bumper warranty on the Highlander for $4k extra, which is transferable to next owner.

This car will save me about 200 gallons of gas a year (5 barrels) even with my low miles of about 8,000/year. That's 2 tons of CO2 emissions or about equal to the vehicle's weight in greenhouse gases- pretty impressive for a vehicle that is of equal mass to the Ascent. There is also about 1.5 inches more legroom in the second row, which is a nice improvement with 2 car seats back there. My 1 year old's rear facing seat is no longer jammed against the back of my seat. Overall the Highlander just seems way more refined and predictable on the road. It is a real pleasure to drive this thing around town with the low end torque the electric motors provide (there are 2 of them, front and rear). No more jerky groany Subaru CVT (this vehicle also has a CVT). I owned a Prius for 5 years and to me this new Highlander Hybrid is the crescendo of 20+ years of hybrid tech development by Toyota. It is truly an engineering marvel. Would highly recommend to any Ascent owner. After a year a piece with my Ascents I have finally found a vehicle that I can hang onto for many years.
 

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Glad you're happy with your Highlander.

Your "payback" calculation based on fuel consumption is not how any financial analysis would calculate payback. You lost on depreciation when you traded the '19 for the '20 Ascent and lost on depreciation again with the trade to the Highlander. Those losses might have totaled $10,000 or more and will never get paid back in fuel savings.

Enjoy the Highlander.
 

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You know, the feel of a car is so personal. Ironically, I tend to really dislike the feel of Toyota's drive, I find them mushy. I leased a Toyota Camry years ago while I had an Outback and just really did not like it. I mean it was comfy and pleasant to sit in but no fun to drive at all. Not an apples to apples comparison, but you get the idea.
I really wanted to like the Highlander for myself this year when buying a car. I test drove it twice. Twice! Actually I have a problem with the seat which was the deal breaker for me (personal issue), in addition to not being able to even find a Platinum near me, thank goodness, but I agree that I was eager to love that car and the hybrid but I just couldn't due to the drive and the seat.
That is great that not every car is the same!
With regard to the Hybrids, the carbon foot print is gross, not net (there's actually a website somewhere to calculate for cars, production, batteries, etc), and while certainly better than the Ascent, it's not as huge of a difference as I initially thought - yes, a little rationalization, but it did make me feel less bad.

I have only been driving my Ascent for a week, so it is still new, but my mileage is pretty good, the drive feel is tighter than my last "car" (ok, it was a truck- the Ford Explorer) and the CVT feels normal to me. I am hopeful it all stays that way, as I love it already.
But yes... I wanted to love that Highlander but it had a Toyota drive and a Toyota seat...

edit: and you can drive a hybrid the same as the Ascent, and the hybrid will use the electric engine to take off from stopping which is a huge consumption point for gas, so if Subaru would just may the Ascent a hybrid.... one of these days if they get this model kinks all out that would be excellent!
 
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The Highlander is a nice vehicle, congrats on that. But that depreciation though... twice over!

I still really like my 2019 Ascent Limited. It's been reliable even though the recalls were inconvenient to take care of. Sometimes I look at the numbers to see what getting into another vehicle would cost and even if I moved into somethinhg with far greater MPG, it's still 'cheaper to keep her'.
 

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I guess I was also swayed by recent revelations on this list of leaking engines and blown transmissions in the Ascent at low miles.
Both of which have not actually been major issues...

That said, Highlander Hybrid is a great vehicle. As I noted in the other thread, I owned a MY06 for 7 years and was very satisfied with it in every way. And they were slightly smaller then, too.
 

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I concur on the Highlander Hybrid, FWIW our test drive of it was the decision not to buy it: the feel when you're driving and turning a little is very loose...as if you can rotate the steering wheel 90 degrees either direction and the car would barely move laterally.

I found the Subaru to have a much tighter steering response.

And the Mazda CX-9 was even tighter, but had an inferior seat positioning and visibility suffered.

But to each their own as some like tighter steering and some like looser steering.
 

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The hit on 2 trade ins in 2 years ( or three if you include the trade in for the 19 Ascent) has got to be rough, but as long as you like it, and you're happy with it, that's all that matters.

Cars are like relationships, it doesn't have to make sense to us, and we don't have to understand why someone likes somebody, but it's not our decision or place to judge ( but we still do it anyway!!).

Hope you enjoy the Highlander.
 

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I like the highland hybrid, actually my MIL recently bought a 2020 plat and I do like driving it. I would of loved to have one, but that hybrid stamp also kills towing rating.

In regards to your $4k warranty, that is super steep for the 0ded/10yr/100k. I haggled our dealership to $1800 for hers. You can still get it refunded and buy it from another dealer anytime before 36k. I doubt you care since you took a double depreciation lately but figured I’d mention it!

Have fun with the new ride
 

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Not sure why people get such horrible gas mileage. I looked at new Highlanders before I bought my Ascent. They did not seem room at all. Everything you gain in 2nd row leg room you lose in third row legroom and width. The 3rd row is not suitable for even my 6yr olds. Let alone when they get bigger.
Enjoy your Highlander. 35mpg is impressive but I get low 30’s on highway in my Ascent.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Glad you're happy with your Highlander.

Your "payback" calculation based on fuel consumption is not how any financial analysis would calculate payback. You lost on depreciation when you traded the '19 for the '20 Ascent and lost on depreciation again with the trade to the Highlander. Those losses might have totaled $10,000 or more and will never get paid back in fuel savings.

Enjoy the Highlander.
I never mentioned that trading up to the Highlander was a good financial move. No new car of this caliber is ever economical. I didn’t lose $10k, in fact I paid a normal lease-type price per month to drive the brand new Ascent for 14 months and trade it in. Totally fine. Now I have another brand new car that I’m not worried about leaking oil or blowing a transmission before 20k miles! The Highlander will save me about $500-600 a year in gas (probably more in the near future as gas prices rise), and 15+ trips to the gas station. I like that also!

There is no comparison in my book for City/Suburban driving between the Highlander and Ascent. Highlander is just way more dialed in in every way for this type of travel. Quiet, quick and agile. Feels WAY less bulky and jerky than Ascent even though they’re practically identical in size. Also looking forward to the less temperamental safety system that won’t go out on me when I need it most in rain and/or snow. Subaru seriously needs to revisit the Eyesight method having to see through the windshield. Was constantly turning off in inclement weather.
 

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Also looking forward to the less temperamental safety system that won’t go out on me when I need it most in rain and/or snow. Subaru seriously needs to revisit the Eyesight method having to see through the windshield. Was constantly turning off in inclement weather.
As I'm sure you know, there are pros and cons to everything. Other systems that "see" through the front grille or sensors behind an emblem or bumper are often disabled when snow packs the front of the car. Those sensors cannot "see" through that type of layering on the car. Subaru's stereo cameras in the windshield avoid this type of problem because the windshield is always cleared by the wipers. Of course the downside to a totally visual system is heavy rain or other conditions where a visual camera is not effective.

No system is perfect. Not Subaru's, not Toyota's, not anyone else's. In fact, Toyota, like Subaru, make it clear to owners when their system will not work effectively. "Situations such as a fogged, dirty, broken or tinted windshield or rain, snow, ice or sticker-covered camera, grille-mounted millimeter-wave radar or laser may affect PCS operation. Intense light from the front or inclement weather obstructing camera, radar or laser detection, or sharp curves in the road, may affect PCS operation."

I really hope you enjoy your new Highlander. I'm sure it works for your family in ways the Ascent does not, just as the Ascent works for others the way a Highlander or any other SUV does not. We all have choices (and we're lucky to have them) and life is more interesting because of the choices we have.
 

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Now I have another brand new car that I’m not worried about leaking oil or blowing a transmission before 20k miles!
You may not be worried, but I bet the likelihood of it happening is the same. This type of comment is more fear mongering than anything
 

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Subaru seriously needs to revisit the Eyesight method having to see through the windshield. Was constantly turning off in inclement weather.
Radar based systems also do this...because of safety or debris.
 

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Now I have another brand new car that I’m not worried about leaking oil or blowing a transmission before 20k miles!
I presumed you did a little research on the Highlander for issues or problems like leaking oil or blown transmissions. A quick Google search reveals their problems may be even worse. Like the engine stalling while driving down the freeway for example;
Toyota Recalls 38,000 2020 Highlanders for Stalling Risks
Subaru Ascents don't have any recalls.

One of the most common and severe issues that have plagued Highlanders in the past is the leaky engine problem.
3 Common Problems With Toyota Highlanders (Explained!)

Even the 2020 Highlander is acknowledged by Toyota with a fluid leak issue. However, they side step their responsibility by referring to many as a 'fluid seep'. Leaks; covered under warranty. Seep, not so much. Here's a PDF of their own describing the situation.
Toyota Technical Service Bulletin T-SB-0008-20 Oil Leak Diagnosis and Repair

There are even posts on the Toyota forums like this one for Ascents, that deal with oil leaks. Here's one complete with photos;
Brand new Highlander oil leak?? 2021 Highlander XSE
The dealer's service department wiped away with a rag and said there's no oil leak. Wow. Simply wow.
 

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I'm not going to bag on someone from moving from a leased Ascent to a leased Highlander Hybrid.

As said in other posts, I prefer the steering response and driving position of the Ascent over the Highlander Hybrid but that's personal taste. Others clearly don't mind that the seat position is lowered in Highlanders, CX-9s compared to the Ascent and steering response goes from loosest (Toyota) to tightest (Mazda) with Subaru in between. Also personal preference.

Nothing is going to move someone on the feeling of reliability though. If you feel your vehicle is not reliable and you worry, then return it (if leased) by all means and get something you feel safer in. So one person's experience with an oil leak on car A and moves to car B is just as valid as another person's experience with an oil leak on car B and moves to car A.

On the purchase side, best offer we got for top of the line Highlander was about $1500 more than Ascent Touring and that's 3 years of gas savings met. And for steering response, driver positioning and associated visibility as well as more serviceable 3rd row...we stuck with Ascent.
 

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They should just make the Highlander competitive smh

I would have bought one if I didn’t feel like a sardine inside a can
 

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All of this changes starting in the next two years when Subaru's and Toyota's collaboration on EV and Hybrids start coming to market. Subaru has taken its time to launch these versions of their models taking their own approach to the technology and integration. They may hit a home run in their implementation or maybe they shoot a blank. In the first instance their entire lineup will benefit for many years to come and if the latter the trust and loyalty they have developed over the years will take a major hit.

Subaru is in somewhat of a bind as it relates to marketing EV and hybrids. They know that in the natural world it is too early to come to market, but with the government choosing winners and loosers they have little choice to join the game. It will costs us all dearly as prices will continue to rise with little added value to the standard gas fueled vehicle.

As for the Ascent, I predict it will be at the earliest 2025 before any hybrid but this is only a guess on my part. I think they start with the smaller less expensive models.
 
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