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Test bench | Competition from the Subaru Ascent



The Subaru Ascent faces strong competitors: Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-9 and Toyota Highlander.

Honda Pilot

Price: from $52,731

For 2023, Honda is revamping its Pilot. More enveloped than the model it replaces, this SUV also promises more clearance for the occupants of the middle and rear rows, more developed off-road skills and more responsive all-wheel drive. All good, except the price which makes it much less attractive than the Ascent. A full Pilot review will be released next month once the embargo on driving impressions is lifted.

Mazda CX-9

Price: $42,050


Sales of the 2022 Mazda CX-9 surpassed those recorded for the 2022 Subaru Ascent.

Mazda’s CX-9 sits in much the same position as the Ascent. It’s probably not the most coveted SUV in the lineup, but last year, its sales still surpassed those recorded by Subaru (4,113 units compared to 3,247). That said, the CX-9 displays a more becoming silhouette, a more enhanced driveability, a noticeably more generous warranty and it consumes slightly less fuel than the Subaru. The latter, on the other hand, is more spacious, more functional and more rewarding and is able to tow a heavier load.

Toyota Highlander

Price: from $48,934


The Toyota Highlander is always a safe bet.

The Toyota Highlander is undoubtedly a safe bet in the category, but that doesn’t mean it shines on all counts. Thus, compared to the Ascent, Toyota’s mid-size SUV offers more cramped seating (particularly in the third row), less efficient all-wheel drive, less trunk volume in all possible configurations, except if the third row of seats is folded down. And it also costs more. In return, the Highlander has the advantage of offering a more fuel-efficient 2.4 L supercharged heat engine. For more savings (at the pump), a hybrid version is also available.

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