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Honda Pilot VS Subaru Ascent

42300 Views 106 Replies 38 Participants Last post by  hokiefyd
We are strongly considering a Pilot EX and are also considering the Highlander (and possibly even the Odyssey w/o the 9 speed transmission). I have recently started hearing more about the new Subaru Ascent with all the news coming out of the LA International Auto Show. Does anyone have thoughts on how this vehicle will compare with the Pilot - pros and cons? So far, the initial information sounds positive - reliable AWD system, solid safety features and good reliability. Thanks!
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Subaru always used too much cheap plastic. Cars are built like tanks and you can't kill them- but their interiors never did anything for me. Suspect this will be more of the same. They have a following and my guess is this will do very very well for them.
Go on their website, it's officially released now... I can tell you that I like the looks better than the current Pilot (and most others in this class), I would struggle with owning a CVT again, and the initial reviews I've been reading make it sound as roomy as the top of the class.

Also, you won't find a better AWD setup than a Subaru. Pilot's (especially new ones) have a great system but they aren't good for prolonged use like the Subaru.

If we are looking again in a couple years, we would strongly consider this vehicle.
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If there is any such thing, the Subaru Outback is the "Official Car of New England." They are everywhere. Things common to all Subarus, IMHO, are cheap plastics, uncomfortable seats, vague steering, and complex short-lived exhaust systems. On the plus-side, their AWD system is, arguably, the best-performing setup at any cost. The Ascent will probably sell in large volumes here in the northeast. They should be using the 6-cylinder, normally-aspirated engine, instead of the turbocharged 4-cylinder, like they did in the Tribeca.
At first glance it looks like a jacked up wagon. I do appreciate the squared off front end though. The interior doesn't look cluttered and the brown leather looks great. The touring model is packed with all the right goodies. If anyone knows AWD and turbos its Subaru. Lets hope they price it aggressively. I personally would wait a year after launch for any issue to arise.


https://www.subaru.com/ascent
The profile looks like a Pilot with 5-6 extra inches tacked onto the nose.
I'll second rpengr's thoughts. Looks like a Pilot clone. Perhaps Subaru hired some talent from the Honda design shop. Subarus are usually pretty solid vehicles. Worth a test drive.
We closely watched the release online. The rear views do look very much like a pilot, the front looks better.

We have been very disappointed with the transmission behavior on our 2016 pilot and are actively planning to make a trade in the new year. My big concern is going with another first-year model & incurring all the glitches that come along with it.

Our current thought process is to get a 2018 Infiniti QX60 (a model that has had been around long enough to have the kinks worked out, does not have a 9 speed tranny, no push-button shifter, nor auto start/stop nonsense- all are annoyances with the Pilot).

Keep that for as long as it pleases us & watch how the Subaru Ascent performs in the reviews for the first couple model years.
I first heard about the Ascent when we purchased a Subaru Forester last July. The salesman mentioned the new subaru to me when he noticed we were driving a '16 Pilot. He told us then that he would very much like to be given a chance to trade us into the new Ascent when they become available & I've been watching the news releases on them very closely. As for those stating the cheap plastics in the Subaru brand, they may be correct when talking about the older models, but I can assure you that the quality, aesthetics and the fitment on our Forester Touring is every bit as good as on our Pilot Touring.

We test drove a '15 model CR-V EX-L and a '17 CR-V EX-L with the 2.0 turbo when we decided to add another vehicle to our stable last July, because after owning our Pilot, we were pretty sure we wanted our 2nd vehicle to be a CR-V. We were both blown away by how underwhelmed we were with the Pilot's little brother. The engines were noisy under acceleration and both felt very under powered. At an idle both engines made the vehicles shudder & vibrate. The road noise was much louder than the Pilot and although the new CR-V was better than the 2 year old model, we weren't impressed with the comfort and visibility of the little Hondas. The Adaptive Cruise Control on the new CR-V was similar to the Pilot, which is far from exceptional. We walked out feeling let down & frustrated. We then drove down to the Subaru dealership and test drove a couple of new & used Foresters. Everything that we disliked about the Honda, we loved about the Forester. We bought one on the spot. We've put nearly 8,000 miles on the little Subi now and have only put around 2,000 miles on our Pilot.

I say all this to let you know that we are impressed enough with the Subaru brand , that we may very well trade off our 2 year old Pilot for a new Ascent in the next year or two. The only 2 things that will make me hesitate are the new engine, a 260 HP, 277 Ft lb. of torque, 2.4 L turbocharged 4 cylinder boxer, coupled to a new "high torque" version of their Lineartronic CVT. Subaru's "Eyesight" setup in our Forrester is IMHO, far superior to the Honda setup... Time will tell whether the new engine & CVT will work out well in the Ascent and whether it will achieve the great fuel economy, "usable" power, and just plain fun that the Honda 3.5L and 9 speed tranny deliver. I've been saying for 2 years that our Pilot is the finest vehicle I've owned over the past 49 years. The little Forester may be making me rethink those words...

I will say that IMO you can't go wrong with a new Pilot, but I would wait & at least take the new Ascent for a test drive when they come available. Their appearance alone makes me drool. I think we're going to be amazed at the quality and value of the big Subi.
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I first heard about the Ascent when we purchased a Subaru Forester last July. The salesman mentioned the new subaru to me when he noticed we were driving a '16 Pilot. He told us then that he would very much like to be given a chance to trade us into the new Ascent when they become available & I've been watching the news releases on them very closely. As for those stating the cheap plastics in the Subaru brand, they may be correct when talking about the older models, but I can assure you that the quality, aesthetics and the fitment on our Forester Touring is every bit as good as on our Pilot Touring.

We test drove a '15 model CR-V EX-L and a '17 CR-V EX-L with the 2.0 turbo when we decided to add another vehicle to our stable last July, because after owning our Pilot, we were pretty sure we wanted our 2nd vehicle to be a CR-V. We were both blown away by how underwhelmed we were with the Pilot's little brother. The engines were noisy under acceleration and both felt very under powered. At an idle both engines made the vehicles shudder & vibrate. The road noise was much louder than the Pilot and although the new CR-V was better than the 2 year old model, we weren't impressed with the comfort and visibility of the little Hondas. The Adaptive Cruise Control on the new CR-V was similar to the Pilot, which is far from exceptional. We walked out feeling let down & frustrated. We then drove down to the Subaru dealership and test drove a couple of new & used Foresters. Everything that we disliked about the Honda, we loved about the Forester. We bought one on the spot. We've put nearly 8,000 miles on the little Subi now and have only put around 2,000 miles on our Pilot.

I say all this to let you know that we are impressed enough with the Subaru brand , that we may very well trade off our 2 year old Pilot for a new Ascent in the next year or two. The only 2 things that will make me hesitate are the new engine, a 260 HP, 277 Ft lb. of torque, 2.4 L turbocharged 4 cylinder boxer, coupled to a new "high torque" version of their Lineartronic CVT. Subaru's "Eyesight" setup in our Forrester is IMHO, far superior to the Honda setup... Time will tell whether the new engine & CVT will work out well in the Ascent and whether it will achieve the great fuel economy, "usable" power, and just plain fun that the Honda 3.5L and 9 speed tranny deliver. I've been saying for 2 years that our Pilot is the finest vehicle I've owned over the past 49 years. The little Forester may be making me rethink those words...

I will say that IMO you can't go wrong with a new Pilot, but I would wait & at least take the new Ascent for a test drive when they come available. Their appearance alone makes me drool. I think we're going to be amazed at the quality and value of the big Subi.
I agree, our 16 outback ltd is very nice and I don't feel the plastic comment. I would just need to see one (Ascent) in person to truly feel its "scope" When we test drove a 17 PILOT EX-L, I popped half of the passenger side plastics (around the door sill ext) back into place. THAT thing was made of plastic....I'll be waiting to see the mmmo PILOT, whenever that is figured out. I actually like the outback better than the PILOT, but I also don't need a 3rd row.
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I got a Mazda CX-7 in 2008, has 2.3L DI turbo. I love the engine, it is awesome. Turbos have their own character and it is different obviously from V6 with 3.5L. No replacement for displacement, as they say.

But it seems some people are like automatically against turbocharged engines. And that isn't necessarily a good thing, 'cause they can be really cool.

Car makers have to follow rules. Like the VCM issue on the pilot. Honda wouldn't have that on their car if the rules about efficiency didn't make them do something. So it isn't an issue of manufacturer reliability. And smaller engines being used to produce as much power as possible is another thing like that. It is just going to be happening.

And turbo'd engines are fun.

I love my 2009 Pilot and hope to make it last until my kids are grown and I don't need a lot of seat belts in a car ever again. Or maybe in 5-10 years owning a car will be very different from how we do it right now. But anyway I love my Pilot with 3.5L V6. I might go check the Subaru just for fun, looks cool. Mazda's full size SUV is a 2.5L turbo too. Good engines.
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Check out the video on the Ascent. On sale early summer of 2018. Starting at low $30k.


https://youtu.be/HoiFIBAIdZI
I first heard about the Ascent when we purchased a Subaru Forester last July. The salesman mentioned the new subaru to me when he noticed we were driving a '16 Pilot. He told us then that he would very much like to be given a chance to trade us into the new Ascent when they become available & I've been watching the news releases on them very closely. As for those stating the cheap plastics in the Subaru brand, they may be correct when talking about the older models, but I can assure you that the quality, aesthetics and the fitment on our Forester Touring is every bit as good as on our Pilot Touring.

We test drove a '15 model CR-V EX-L and a '17 CR-V EX-L with the 2.0 turbo when we decided to add another vehicle to our stable last July, because after owning our Pilot, we were pretty sure we wanted our 2nd vehicle to be a CR-V. We were both blown away by how underwhelmed we were with the Pilot's little brother. The engines were noisy under acceleration and both felt very under powered. At an idle both engines made the vehicles shudder & vibrate. The road noise was much louder than the Pilot and although the new CR-V was better than the 2 year old model, we weren't impressed with the comfort and visibility of the little Hondas. The Adaptive Cruise Control on the new CR-V was similar to the Pilot, which is far from exceptional. We walked out feeling let down & frustrated. We then drove down to the Subaru dealership and test drove a couple of new & used Foresters. Everything that we disliked about the Honda, we loved about the Forester. We bought one on the spot. We've put nearly 8,000 miles on the little Subi now and have only put around 2,000 miles on our Pilot.

I say all this to let you know that we are impressed enough with the Subaru brand , that we may very well trade off our 2 year old Pilot for a new Ascent in the next year or two. The only 2 things that will make me hesitate are the new engine, a 260 HP, 277 Ft lb. of torque, 2.4 L turbocharged 4 cylinder boxer, coupled to a new "high torque" version of their Lineartronic CVT. Subaru's "Eyesight" setup in our Forrester is IMHO, far superior to the Honda setup... Time will tell whether the new engine & CVT will work out well in the Ascent and whether it will achieve the great fuel economy, "usable" power, and just plain fun that the Honda 3.5L and 9 speed tranny deliver. I've been saying for 2 years that our Pilot is the finest vehicle I've owned over the past 49 years. The little Forester may be making me rethink those words...

I will say that IMO you can't go wrong with a new Pilot, but I would wait & at least take the new Ascent for a test drive when they come available. Their appearance alone makes me drool. I think we're going to be amazed at the quality and value of the big Subi.
There's no way we would replace our '15 Pilot, we absolutely love it. If we get one it will be in conjunction with the Pilot, replacing my DD.

As far as the high torque CVT, it's either the same or an evolution of the unit in Forester XT's and WRX's... I haven't seen widespread complaints of failures. I've driven multiple CVT equipped vehicles and we owned a Rogue for many years, I have hope for the Ascent because bigger engines (especially torquey engines, like this one) really pair well with CVTs. Our Rogue was a little bit of a dog but it was also first gen CVT with an unrefined 4 cylinder that sounded like poo when pushed. But it lasted us 100k trouble free miles until trade-in.
Like the VTM issue on the pilot.
What is this "VTM issue"?
Confess my sense is that CVT's seem best with smaller engines eg Civic and CRV than pathfinder and now the Ascent. The latter looks like a cross between a Pilot, Highlander and an Outback.

The Marketplace is changing rapidly. Neither VW nor Subaru competed in this segment when I looked in 2016....
If you are used to getting regular unleaded. The Ascent will probably be using premium since it is turbo charged. It my turnoff some buyers. Especially if mpg numbers are subpar.
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If you are used to getting regular unleaded. The Ascent will probably be using premium since it is turbo charged.
The turbo engine in the Forester XT will run on regular, but premium is required for maximum power.
Premium is recommended when the vehicle is heavily loaded or used for towing.

Similar situation with the Mazda CX-9.
Mazda specs the power output as 250hp on premium and 227hp on regular.
Confess my sense is that CVT's seem best with smaller engines eg Civic and CRV than pathfinder and now the Ascent. The latter looks like a cross between a Pilot, Highlander and an Outback.

The Marketplace is changing rapidly. Neither VW nor Subaru competed in this segment when I looked in 2016....
Have you driven the CVT in larger vehicles? It pairs way better because of their larger, higher torque engines. The new turbo 4's in some smaller vehicles are helping but I have always felt Nissan's VQ35/CVT combination was one of the best applications of a CVT. We test drove brand new Pathfinders before settling on a used car and it was nothing like driving our old Rogue.
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