It’s Clear Who Should Buy a Subaru Ascent and Who Should Buy a Chevrolet Traverse

You’ve probably noticed that the midsize SUV class has become increasingly popular with unexpectedly enticing options. For example, the Chevrolet Traverse is finally good, and newcomers like the Subaru Ascent are stealing the show too. If you find yourself mulling over the Traverse and the Ascent, the better choice for you is clear.

What the Chevrolet Traverse does well

A burgundy 2020 Traverse in gravel.
2020 Chevrolet Traverse | Chevy

Chevrolet has made considerable improvements to the Traverse over the years, and they have finally started to pay off. The 2020 Traverse quietly gained ground on rivals, and the 2021 version has arrived mostly unchanged. 

The  2021 Traverse is already impressing critics like U.S. News. This Chevy is celebrated for its quiet nature and smooth ride quality. U.S. News affectionately refers to the new Traverse as an “excellent people and cargo mover with a comfy ride.” Don’t expect the Traverse to be particularly sporty, though. 

There’s one powertrain option for the Traverse, and that’s a 310-hp 3.6-liter V6 linked to a nine-speed automatic transmission. It comes standard with front-wheel drive; all-wheel-drive is available. The Traverse offers sufficient power, and critics agree that it’s a remarkably cushioned ride. 

The main drawback to the Traverse is that it’s not as agile compared to some competitors. Reviewers at U.S. News also took points away from the Traverse because of its gas-saving stop-start system, which turns off your engine when the car is idle. For the most part, this function works well, but you can’t disable it. And even with the stop-start system, the Traverse is below average for the class regarding fuel economy. It has a fuel economy rating of up to 21 mpg overall. 

What the Subaru Ascent does well

2021 Subaru Ascent parked outside of a house
2021 Subaru Ascent | Subaru

Subaru’s Ascent is also a comfortable ride that can handle bumps in the road quite well. Although, it’s not as cushiony as the Traverse is. Instead, the Ascent shines for its adventurous capabilities.

As with the outgoing model, The 2021 Ascent is powered by a 250-hp turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder and a continuously variable automatic. This Subie offers plenty of pep and is overall very smooth. As with most of its family members, the Ascent shines for its standard AWD. That said, those dealing with more challenging road conditions will likely gravitate toward the Ascent over the Traverse. 

Laidback off-road enthusiasts will also be intrigued by the Ascent. The Ascent has 8.7 inches of ground clearance, which allows for moderate off-roading adventures. Additionally, this Subaru is relatively fuel-efficient for the class. It has a fuel economy rating of up to 23 mpg overall, which isn’t bad for an AWD model. 

Interior elements to consider 

2020 Chevrolet Traverse interior
2020 Chevrolet Traverse interior | Chevrolet

Picking the Safest 2020 Midsize SUV Might Be Harder Than You Think

The Traverse and Ascent are both three-row SUVs that can seat up to eight people. These two SUVs also come with modern infotainment systems that have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. But of course, there is some give and take here. 

The Traverse comes with a wifi hotspot, while that’s an upgrade on the Ascent. Furthermore, the Ascent comes with a more comprehensive suite of advanced safety features. The Ascent has functions like lane departure warning as standard while this an optional for the Traverse.


Both the Traverse and the Ascent start around $30K. If supreme comfort is your top priority, the Traverse wins out. For adventure-readiness, the Ascent is the right choice.