2019 Subaru Ascent vs. Toyota Highlander Comparison

The upcoming, all-new 2019 Subaru Ascent goes head to head with the 2018 Toyota Highlander

At JK SUBARU we're so excited that Subaru made room in their lineup for an all-new model: the 2019 Subaru Ascent.

The new arrival is a true SUV with seating for up to 8. It's the perfect choice for drivers who feel their families (and all the gear the comes along with families) are starting to outgrow the popular Outback. We think you'll love its performance, safety, and aesthetic features.

The Ascent is no doubt going to shakeup the market, but that doesn't mean it won't have a bit of competition! That's why we want to take a moment to compare the 2019 Subaru Ascent to the 2018 Toyota Highlander, another adventurous, family-friendly vehicle that isn't going to want to lose favor in the segment.

Looking at size and capabilities

The Toyota Highlander earned its family-badge because of its third-row seating that accommodates up to 8 passengers. The same can be said about the Subaru Ascent. Where the differences start to show is in size and roominess. The Toyota Highlander is shorter than the Subaru Ascent, coming in at 192 inches compared to 196. That might seem like an insignificant difference, but where you'll notice it is in the seating. Passengers have more room in the Ascent (153.5 cubic feet) compared to the Highlander's 141.1 cubic feet and that makes for comfier trips.

The Highlander has more overall max cargo capacity (83.7 cubic feet compared to 72.6 cubic feet). However, maximum cargo capacity means all the seats are down and that's probably not a situation you're going to get into often. On the flip side, the Subaru Ascent has 19.6 cubic feet behind the third row, blowing the 13.8 cubic feet on the Highlander out of the water; that means with all the seats filled, the Ascent will be able to carry more!

An added bonus is that both SUV's can tow up to 5,000 pounds, though not on either's base trim.

Safety on the brain

Whether you're discussing engineering or technology, the Subaru brand has long been known for its safety. Almost all new Subaru models have standard All-Wheel Drive, they generally perform before well on crash safety tests, and the Subaru EyeSight® package of advanced safety features has been around for several years. All Ascent trims actually come with it standard!

Toyota has been working to carve out a safety name for itself and the Highlander also has a standard safety package called Toyota Safety Sense™. Here's how the two packages compare.

Subaru EyeSight®

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

Toyota Safety Sense™

  • Technology
  • Pre-Collision with Pedestrian Detecting
  • Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
  • Automatic High Beams
  • Dynamic Radar Cruise Control

While both systems are impressive, we still think the Subaru Ascent is the winner thanks to the standard AWD. We may not have harsh, snowy weather like in other states, but when you're behind the wheel of a heavy SUV, having that extra control and grip is preferable.

Technology and Convenience

Safety and space are important factors when looking for an SUV, but there is nothing wrong with wanting creature comforts like technology and premium appointments.

Shopping is straightforward with the Ascent. The four trims are Base, Premium, Limited, and Touring. The Highlander has an additional trim to choose from.

With the Base Ascent you'll get 8-passenger seating, three-zone climate control, and Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™! Speaking of those smartphone integrations, you won't find that technology on any of the Highlander's trims! We also like that several trims on the Ascent have safety and security alerts that are sent out via SUBARU STARLINK™ in the event of an emergency.  We do wish the Base Ascent had power seats like its competitor, though.

The 2018 Toyota Highlander puts up a good fight against the 2019 Subaru Ascent, but the standard AWD, better passenger and 'seats up' cargo space, and smart phone technology on the Ascent make it a winner in our eyes.

For more information on the all-new SUV, stop in and see us at our dealership, located in Nederland, TX. The 2019 Subaru Ascent will be available at our dealership soon.


1800 HIGHWAY 69 N.
Directions Nederland, TX 77627

  • Sales: (409) 723-1111
  • Service: (409) 723-1132
  • Parts: (409) 723-1136

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