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Shop the mid-size SUV segment, and you’ll more than likely find yourself overwhelmed with options. Among them? The 2021 Subaru Ascent and the 2021 Buick Encore. They’re both spacious, offer three-rows of seating, and offer plenty of interior amenities. But, of the two, which makes for the better choice?

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

The well-equipped 2021 Subaru Ascent

The 2021 Subaru Ascent is as spacious as it is well-equipped. Standard with all-wheel drive and powered by a 2.4-liter turbo flat-4 engine. Churning out 260-horsepower at 5,600 rpm, the new Ascent also comes standardly equipped with a continuously variable transmission.

There are no shortage of family-friendly features behind the wheel of this three-row SUV either. Standard with features like tri-zone automatic climate control, EyeSight safety features, and 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen, this year’s Ascent can also be had with sought after interior amenities like independent climate control for second-row passengers, a panoramic sunroof, powered tailgate, and an 8-inch touchscreen.

The 2021 Buick Enclave is loaded with features

Much like the 2021 Subaru Ascent, the new Buick Enclave aims to please in a number of ways. At the heart of this year’s model is a 3.6-liter V6 engine capable of generating 310-horsepower at 6,800 rpm. Also standard is a 9-speed automatic transmission.

Offered in Preferred, Essence, Premium, and Avenir trim levels, the 2021 Buick Enclave comes standard with popular features like tri-zone climate control, remote start, a hands-free liftgate, and an 8-inch touchscreen boasting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. On the other hand, the range-topping Enclave Premium comes with ventilated and massaging front seats, a Bose premium audio system, and power-folding 3rd-row seats.


Is the 2021 Subaru Ascent Worth the Upgrade Over 2020?

2021 Subaru Ascent vs. 2021 Buick Enclave

Compare what’s under the hood of these two SUVs, and you’ll find very quickly that the 2021 Buick Enclave boasts more power than its Subaru rival. According to Kelley Blue Book, the Enclave’s power train is also quieter than that of the Ascent’s. 

Unlike the 2021 Buick Enclave, the new Ascent comes standard with all-wheel drive. It also has higher ground clearance than the 2021 Buick Enclave and offers hill-descent control. 

When it comes to safety, both vehicles earned a 5-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA.) It’s worth noting that the Enclave does come with fewer driver-assist safety features than the Subaru Ascent.

“Disappointingly, driver aids such as forward-collision alert, automatic emergency braking, and lane-keeping assist can’t be had in the lower two trims, and adaptive cruise control is reserved for the top-spec Avenir,” said Kelley Blue Book.

And when it comes to pricing? While the 2021 Subaru Ascent rings in at $33,005, the 2021 Buick Enclave starts at $41,195.

And the final verdict is… 

If you’re stuck between these two SUVs, we suggest choosing the 2021 Subaru Ascent. Though the base Enclave does come with more in the way of standard features, it doesn’t come standard with all-wheel drive, and costs significantly more than the 2021 Subaru Ascent.