Is the Subaru Ascent a Better Value Than the Honda Pilot?

The three-row SUV segment seems to be getting more popular every year, thanks to major competitors like the Subaru Ascent and Honda Pilot. The Ascent is a relative new-comer to the segment and the Honda Pilot is an aging stalwart that always provided an excellent value proposition. However, could the Subaru Ascent actually prove to be a better value than the Pilot?

Subaru Ascent vs Honda Pilot

It’s a tough call when comparing the Subaru Ascent to the Honda Pilot as both mid-size SUVs offer a lot of great standard features right out of the box. If you opt for an entry-level Honda Pilot, you’ll get the Honda Sensing suite of driver-assist features, seating for eight, a 5-inch infotainment screen, and a multi-angle rearview camera. However, if you go with a base-model Subaru Ascent, then you’ll get standard features like Subaru’s EyeSight driver-assist features, Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, three-zone climate control, Apple Carplay, a rearview camera, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, 19 cupholders, and Subaru’s X-Mode. It’s easy to see that although the Honda Pilot does offer a lot in its most-affordable form, the Subaru Ascent offers more.

The Subaru Ascent is seen at the 2019 New England International Auto Show Press Preview
The Subaru Ascent | Paul Marotta/Getty Images

The Subaru Ascent offers more than the Pilot in the higher trim levels

When moving up through the Honda Pilot trim levels, more luxurious and convenient features are unlocked. For example, an 8-inch touchscreen, leather seats, second-row captain’s chairs, and a 215-watt sound system with seven speakers are available. However, nicer features like a 10.2-inch rear entertainment system, the CabinTalk interface, and a better sound system can only be had if the Touring or Elite trim levels are selected.

On the other hand, the Subaru Ascent ups the ante by offering an 8-inch touchscreen and a 792-watt Harmon Kardon sound system with 17 speakers, a panoramic moonroof, and up to 8 USB ports to keep the rear-seat passengers happy. While there is no option for a traditional rear-seat entertainment screen in the Ascent, there is the possibility of getting a separate iPad and Harmon Kardon headphone package that connects to the Subaru’s Wi-Fi hotspot to keep in the kids entertained for hours.

2020 Honda Pilot
2020 Honda Pilot | Honda

The Honda Pilot and Subaru Ascent power difference

For those that need towing power, the Honda Pilot is a great choice as it’s 3.5-liter V6 engine produces 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque and is capable of up to 5,000 pounds of towing. But the Subaru Ascent can do the same with a smaller engine. The Ascent is powered by a turbocharged 2.4-liter engine that puts out 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft and can tow up to 5,000 pounds as well. However, the Ascent also gets a slight mpg bump over the Pilot as its 21 city and 27 highway mpg over the Pilot’s 19 city/27 highway rating.

Bright, open Subaru Ascent Interior featuring white upholstery
Subaru Ascent Interior | Subaru

Wait, You Need To Check Out The Subaru Ascent

The Subaru Ascent is priced lower than the Pilot

When it comes to pricing, the Subaru Ascent is priced slightly lower than its Honda competitor, coming in at $31,995 versus the Pilot’s starting price of $32,250. It’s not much, but the price differential starts to show more of a gap when you opt for the higher trim levels. The top-trim Ascent Touring is priced at around $45,000 while the Honda Pilot Touring carries a price tag of $48,420. It’s a pretty big difference for not a lot of upsides.

In any case, both SUVs to provide a great value, however, it’s clear to see that the Subaru Ascent can prove to be an overall much better value than the Honda Pilot.