How to See If the Subaru Ascent Is Actually a Better SUV Than the Kia Telluride

You’ve narrowed your new vehicle search down to two strong contending SUVs – the Subaru Ascent and the Kia Telluride. In general, you like the way they both look, and you’re finding tons of expert reviews out there, giving each high ranks in a variety of categories. To help you finalize your purchasing decision, here’s a look at both models to help you see which one is the better buy for you and your budget.

Are the Subaru Ascent and the Kia Telluride similar?

Both the Subaru Ascent and Kia Telluride are within the same class of SUV, with eight-passenger seating and AWD capabilities. They each offer options and trim levels that allow consumers to choose how to equip their best vehicles.

Both come with standard smartphone connectivity, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto platforms. Each model is capable and comparably suited for both everyday living use as well as adventurous weekend warrior lifestyles. So, what unique differentiators should you consider before you buy?

Third-row passenger experience may differ

One of the key differences between these two rides comes in the interior, third-row technology. The Kia Telluride offers Driver Talk on its EX trims, which allows the driver to speak over the speakers to passengers in the back. It also provides regulation of sound, so that the front speakers aren’t overbearingly loud while the third-row passengers turn up the volume. As for the Subaru Ascent, third-row entertainment isn’t available.

Fuel economy and engine differences

When comparing EPA-estimated fuel economy, the Subaru Ascent comes out ahead with 21 mpg city and 27 mpg highway averages. It makes sense, considering it has an intercooled turbo engine. The Kia Telluride isn’t far behind though with 19 mpg city and 24 mpg highway ratings – in part due to its V6 engine.

What may help you decide is the size of the fuel tank itself in each of these SUV contenders. The Telluride will hold approximately 18.8 gallons while the Ascent squeezes in an extra gallon with a 19.3-gallon capacity. Or, if more power is a must-have for your new SUV, the Telluride’s 291 hp will outperform the Ascent’s 260 hp.

Standard and available safety features that matter most

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Both SUVs present a robust menu of standard safety equipment and driver assistance technology. Even the base models provide drivers with lane-keeping assist, lane departure warnings, adaptive cruise, and forward collision avoidance systems.

There are, of course, families of airbags for driver and passenger protection for both as well. Based on previous and current NHTSA and IIHS ratings, the Telluride and the Ascent both receive high endorsements for crash test safety measures.

Comparing the value of the Subaru Ascent and the Kia Telluride

2018 Subaru Ascent is on display at the 110th Annual Chicago Auto Show
The Subaru Ascent | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

When it comes to price, you’ll pay a little more for the Kia Telluride – around $39,290. The Subaru Ascent runs at about $31,995. Only you can determine which has the better value for you, based on the necessary features you need versus those you don’t.

If you need third-row entertainment and a more powerful engine, the Telluride will present as a better value. If fuel economy and cost of ownership are your key deciding factors, the Ascent is your home run.

Perfect for two different buyers

One might not be better than the other in the end. Each of these SUVs can essentially be perfect for two distinct buyers. If you have a sizeable family with small children, third-row controls are essential, and the Kia Telluride would fit right in with your family lifestyle. For those needing eight-passenger seating with a need for less beast and more off-pavement ease, the Subaru Ascent might just be the Cinderella fit.

If both of these excellent SUVs seem to meet your shortlist of requirements, take a test drive, and see how you feel. Sometimes, the best way to make your new vehicle selection can only be made from the driver’s seat, which is where you may plan to spend most of your vehicle time anyway. You can breathe easy regardless of which you choose as both the Kia Telluride and Subaru Ascent are favorites with the experts and consumers alike.