2021 Dodge Durango vs. Subaru Ascent: The More Practical Choice Is Easy

Recently the team at Kelley Blue Book took a look at both the 2021 Dodge Durango and the 2021 Subaru Ascent to determine which is the more practical SUV. Both are midsize, three-row SUVs. One has solid towing chops, powerful variants, and a nice big touch screen for its infotainment system. The other is great for off-roading, has awesome safety features, and has all-wheel drive as standard.

Which SUV did the KBB team find to be more practical and why? Let’s take a closer look. 

The 2021 Dodge Durango 

The 2021 Dodge Durango is an SUV that tries to strike a balance between performance and practicality. This midsize SUV can set up to seven. It’s powered by a selection of potent engines and has a maximum tow rating of 8,700 pounds. According to KBB, it has 8.1 inches of ground clearance.

There are a lot of options available with the latest Durango including high-performing configurations. It can be a dedicated hauler for your family or a kick-ass SUV for tough jobs and weekend off-roading adventures.

There’s a new Durango SRT Hellcat that is the most powerful SUV you can currently get. You can only get the Hellcat this year according to KBB. The runner-up in the 2021 Durango lineup, The SRT 392 is a domestic SUV that keeps pace on the track with Audi, BMW, and Porsche.

Several driver-assist features aren’t standard on the 2021 Dodge Durango, and it’s getting up there in age. But it still ticks off several items of the list of family needs. It’s overall safe, looks good, and it’s a comfortable ride. The KBB team pointed out that Durango’s resale prospects aren’t the best.

The 2021 Subaru Ascent

RELATED: The 2020 Subaru Ascent’s Biggest Drawback Isn’t a Dealbreaker

In its first three-row SUV, Subaru managed to integrate its core values into a vehicle that’s safe and has some off-roading chops. 

OK, so the 2021 Subaru Ascent only offers one powertrain which is a disadvantage in this matchup. But, unlike the Dodge Durango where it’s an option, you get all-wheel drive standard. Most of its peers don’t offer that.

Under the hood, the Subaru Ascent has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that not only gives you a good power output but gets decent gas mileage. It’s definitely more fuel-efficient than the Durango with its thirsty engines.

It’s priced competitively. Its base price is about $500 more than the Durango but did we mentioned the standard all-wheel drive? The Ascent has a long list of standard and safety features and great resale values.

It’s a great SUV for a family. There’s an alert system reminding you to check the backseat before exiting and other great safety features that families value. Plus, you can seat up to eight people.

Which is more practical?

The KBB team points out that the Dodge Durango went from mild to wild with the SRT Hellcat and SRT 392 models. The milder models are equipped with either a 3.6-liter V6 engine or a 5.7-liter V8 and available with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

With the extra ground clearance, the Durango can off-road. You can get a two-speed transfer case with the V8 engine. The 2021 Dodge Durango seats up to six or seven. Interestingly, the third row is standard on all but the base model and standard driver aids are only offered on the Citadel trim level. 

The 2021 Subaru Ascent, on the other hand, has a standard third row. There’s an option for replacing the second row with captain’s chairs offering room for up to eight. Similar SUVs have more passenger and cargo space, but according to KBB, the Ascent has enough. 

Some might find fault with the single-engine choice, a turbocharged four-cylinder at that, but it gets the job done. With 8.7 inches of ground clearance and the X-Mode for off-roading, the Ascent is ideal for all your adventures. 

The 2021 models got even more active safety features and driver aids. It’s also a Top Safety Pick+ per the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

While the Durango offers great versatility and great performance, it’s older. If you need a well-rounded SUV that can seat up to eight, according to KBB, the Ascent is a good choice for its reliability, value, and safety. If the standard all-wheel drive doesn’t seal the deal for you, maybe its good resale values will.