2023 Toyota Highlander Beats 2023 Subaru Ascent: SUV Showdown!

The Toyota Highlander is the best-selling three-row midsize SUV. See how it stacks up against one of its midsize SUV competitors in this 2023 Toyota Highlander vs. 2023 Subaru Ascent comparison. With its many advantages, the Highlander beats the Ascent. 

2023 Toyota Highlander vs. 2023 Subaru Ascent

Front angle view of Wind Chill Pearl 2023 Toyota Highlander
Wind Chill Pearl 2023 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

In this 2023 Toyota Highlander vs. 2023 Subaru Ascent comparison, we evaluated several areas. This includes performance, gas mileage, towing, off-road capabilities, safety, passenger and cargo space, warranty coverage, reliability, and price.

Highlander vs. Ascent: Performance and gas mileage

Rear angle view of Crystal Black Pearl 2023 Subaru Ascent
Crystal Black Pearl 2023 Subaru Ascent | Subaru

On the performance front, the turbocharged 2.4-liter inline-four engine in the 2023 Toyota Highlander generates 265 horsepower and 309 lb-ft of torque. The Highlander also offers a fuel-efficient hybrid model, which generates a total system output of 243 horsepower. 

In comparison, all 2023 Subaru Ascent models have a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, which produces 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. 

For efficiency, the Highlander has the advantage. The gas-powered Highlander has a fuel economy of up to 24 combined mpg, while the Highlander Hybrid has a gas mileage of up to 36 combined mpg. In comparison, the Ascent has an estimated gas mileage of up to 23 combined mpg.

Highlander vs. Ascent: Towing

On the towing front, both the gas-powered Highlander and Ascent can tow up to 5,000 pounds. However, the Highlander Hybrid has a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds.

Highlander vs. Ascent: Off-road capabilities

For off-road use, the Ascent is the better choice. First, while a traction-enhancing all-wheel drive system is an optional feature for Highlander, AWD is standard for all Ascent models. Also, the Ascent has higher ground clearance than the Highlander (up to 8.7 vs. 8.0 inches).

Highlander vs. Ascent: Safety

Both the 2023 Highlander and 2023 Ascent are safe vehicles. Both SUVs earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award for the previous model year. Given that the Highlander and Ascent are carryover models, they will likely have similar IIHS ratings for the 2023 model year.

Highlander vs. Ascent: Passenger and cargo space

Both SUVs can seat up to eight passengers, but the Ascent has more passenger space, with a total passenger volume of 153.5 cu-ft, compared to 141.3 cu-ft for the Highlander. However, the Highlander provides more storage space, with a maximum cargo capacity of 84.3 cu-ft, compared to 75.6 cu-ft for the Ascent.

Highlander vs. Ascent: Warranty coverage and reliability

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For warranty coverage, both the Highlander and Ascent have 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. However, unlike the Ascent, the Highlander has a free maintenance plan, with two years or 25,000 miles of coverage.

Also, the Highlander is slightly more reliable than the Ascent. It has a J.D. Power predicted reliability rating of 82/100, compared to 80/100 for the Ascent.

Highlander vs. Ascent: Price

Which SUV costs more: the 2023 Highlander or the 2023 Ascent? The starting price information is not yet available for the 2023 model year, but both SUVs will likely cost slightly more than the 2022 versions. 

For the 2022 Highlander, the starting price ranges from $35,855 MSRP for the L trim up to $49,510 MSRP for the Platinum Hybrid trim. In comparison, the starting price of the 2022 Ascent ranges from $32,795 MSRP for the Base trim up to $45,945 MSRP for the Touring trim.

2023 Toyota Highlander vs. 2023 Subaru Ascent: Which SUV is better?

In this 2023 Toyota Highlander vs. 2023 Subaru Ascent comparison, the 2023 Highlander has more advantages than the 2023 Ascent. This includes advantages for maximum horsepower and torque, gas mileage, cargo space, a free maintenance plan, and reliability. Conversely, the Ascent has advantages for off-road capabilities and passenger space.

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