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Will the 2018 Toyota Highlander in Covington, LA be Outperformed by the Subaru Ascent?

The 2018 Toyota Highlander in Covington, LA has a new contender in the full-size SUV market, the 2019 Subaru Ascent, and it's raring to shake up the competition. Toe to toe, the Highlander puts up a good fight, but the 2019 Subaru Ascent comes out on top with its stellar safety ratings, impressive passenger accommodations, potent engines, and unmatched reliability. In this article on the 2019 Subaru Ascent vs. Toyota Highlander, we take a closer look at the distinctions between these two.

Safety Comparison

There's no doubt about it- both the 2019 Subaru Ascent and the 2018 Toyota Highlander are safe. Both have advanced features like traction control, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, rearview cameras, and standard and passenger airbags. The Ascent, however, takes it up a notch. All trim levels come with standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive, and when you're driving with an SUV full of your loved ones and gear, extra grip and control are always preferable no matter the driving conditions. Unfortunately, this feature will cost you extra on the Highlander.

When you're driving a vehicle of this size, the Ascent's Automatic Pre-Collision Braking System and Lane Departure and Sway Warning features offer early warning and support to drivers if they begin to drift outside their lane, or if they fail to react to objects on the road.

The Ascent also has Reverse Automatic Braking and Front View Monitor, two cutting-edge features that are not even offered on the Highlander. Finally, the IIHS conferred its highest Top Safety Pick+ rating on the 2019 Ascent, leaving no doubt to its extraordinary safety on the road.

Passenger Space Comparison

With third-row seating that allows these SUVs to accommodate up to eight passengers, the 2019 Subaru Ascent and the 2018 Toyota Highlander deserve their family badge.

The distinction becomes clear, however, when you discover that the Highlander comes up shorter at 192 inches compared to the Ascent's 196. This seems like a small difference, but the Highlander's 144.9 cubic feet starts to feel cramped when compared to the Ascent's expansive 153.5 cubic feet's worth of space and comfort.

Of course, cargo capacity is another important element of SUVs.  The Ascent blows the Highlander out of the water with 83.7 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity versus the latter's 72.6 cubic feet. Even with a full load of passengers, the 2019 Subaru Ascent can carry much more than the 2018 Toyota Highlander, ensuring that you never have to leave anything behind.

Reliability Comparison

The pistons in the 2019 Subaru Ascent are horizontally opposed, so its SUBARU BOXER engine is lower in the bay. This also means that you'll experience less vibration than V6 or inline setups, making for a more agile and smoother ride than many other three-row SUVs in the market.

On top of this, you won't find the anticipation and heavy droning that other CVTs can't shake off. This is due to the continuously variable transmission's stepped gear ratios that approximate the shift points that many drivers have come to expect in an automatic transmission.

In a nutshell, you don't need to think too much about the Ascent's powertrain. It's more than capable of a whole range of driving needs, and its AWD system with X-Mode is perfectly able to control spin.

Engine Comparison

In terms of performance, the 2019 Subaru Ascent leaves the 2018 Highlander in the dust. The numbers don't lie: the Ascent's all-new turbocharged boxer four-cylinder engine generates a whopping 260 horsepower and 277 lb.-ft. of torque. The Highlander's entry-level engine only comes up to 185 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque; even its upgraded engine can't come close to the Ascent's torque and power, which is capable of towing an amazing 5, 000 pounds.

Furthermore, the 2019 Ascent's boxer engine configuration results in excellent handling stability without sacrificing ground clearance. The 2018 Toyota Highlander doesn't even give you the option of having a boxer engine configuration under the hood.

The 2019 Subaru Ascent dazzles from every angle, making it your best bet if you're looking for a full-size SUV that's cozy, powerful, safe, and trustworthy on the road. The 2018 Toyota Highlander in Covington, LA sets the bar high, but the 2019 Subaru Ascent raises it even higher.