There are a handful of great midsize SUVs out there today, and some have third-row seating. Two of them, the 2021 Subaru Ascent and the 2021 GMC Acadia, are rivals, vying for the attention of SUV enthusiasts.
Autotrader compared the two midsize vehicles and came up with a clear winner, which is the Subaru Ascent. They laid out what each vehicle offers, and they show you just what the Ascent has over the Acadia.
Overview of the GMC Acadia
The GMC Acadia has a similar platform as the Chevy Traverse, except that it’s a bit smaller. The way it’s laid out, it convinced some people it was really a minivan instead of an SUV.
It seats seven passengers in all models, minus the AT4 version, which seats five instead. You can also opt for second-row captain’s chairs to seat six passengers. Interior space is pretty average for the driver and passengers, but the cargo area is on the small side, with only 12.8 cubic feet of space behind the last row.
Powering it up are three choices of engines. One is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder motor that’s only paired with front-wheel drive. Then there’s a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which is only found on the SLT model and the AWD SLE version. Last, there’s the 3.6-liter V6, which is standard on the AT4 and Denali models.
The positive features of the Acadia include an affordable price for the base model, which is $30,995 MSRP. It also has plenty of engine choices and has an off-road model for adventurers. Its weaknesses include the small cargo area and the limited list of active safety features on the lower-trim models.
Overview of the Subaru Ascent
The Subaru Ascent is 5.5 inches longer than the outback, which provides enough room to fit a third-row. All-wheel drive is standard for this SUV, and it includes the X-mode and hill descent control. The ground clearance of 8.7 inches allows the Ascent to wander off the road.
Powering it up is only one engine choice, and that’s a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder motor. Paired with it is a continuously variable automatic transmission.
The Subaru Ascent comes in three trims besides the base model. You have the Premium, Limited, and Touring trims to choose from. This Subaru comes standard with tons of features, including forward collision warning, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking.
Autotrader’s favorite features of the Ascent are its great visibility, the large number of driver aids included with it, and the standard all-wheel-drivetrain. What they didn’t particularly care about was its accident avoidance tech features, which they felt were too annoying to use.
What makes the Subaru Ascent stand out over the Acadia?
Overall, these two SUVs are pretty close competitors, but the Subaru Ascent stands out just a bit more than the GMC Acadia in two different areas.
The first feature for the Ascent is its safety scores. The Subaru Ascent received an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award for how well it performed in their crash testing. The Acadia did alright, but it received acceptable ratings in the child seat anchors and driver’s safety measures for the right leg/foot.
The other feature the Ascent has is its roominess in the third-row seat area. Actually, all seats have enough leg and headroom to allow all passengers to be comfortable during the drive. Cargo space is still pretty good behind the last row too.
You get 17.6 cubic feet of space after the third-row seat in the Ascent. GMC’s Acadia, however, has adequate room for all passengers and only 12.8 cubic feet of space for storage.
Both three-row SUVs are good vehicles, but the Ascent has a leg up on its competitor, the Acadia. With its roomy rear seat and top safety scores, you know you’re getting a decent midsize three-row SUV on the market.