2019 BMW X7 vs. 2019 Subaru Ascent

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The X7’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Ascent doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the middle seat shoulder belts of the BMW X7 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Subaru Ascent doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle seat belts.

The X7 has standard Post-Crash Braking, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Ascent doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The X7 offers an optional Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Ascent only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

The X7’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Ascent doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the X7 and the Ascent have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems and rearview cameras.

The BMW X7 weighs 767 to 1187 pounds more than the Subaru Ascent. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

The X7 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Ascent’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The X7’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Ascent’s (12 vs. 5 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X7 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Ascent.

Reliability

The battery on the X7 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the X7’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Ascent’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that BMW vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

Engine

The X7 xDrive40i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 75 more horsepower (335 vs. 260) and 53 lbs.-ft. more torque (330 vs. 277) than the Ascent’s 2.4 turbo 4 cyl. The X7 xDrive50i’s standard 4.4 turbo V8 produces 196 more horsepower (456 vs. 260) and 202 lbs.-ft. more torque (479 vs. 277) than the Ascent’s 2.4 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

Regenerative brakes improve the X7’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Ascent doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the X7’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Ascent doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The X7 has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Ascent (21.9 vs. 19.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

The X7’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Ascent doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the X7’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Ascent:

X7 xDrive40i

X7 xDrive50i

X7 M Sport

Ascent

Front Rotors

13.7 inches

14.7 inches

15.6 inches

13.1 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

14.6 inches

14.6 inches

13 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the X7 has larger standard tires than the Ascent (285/45R21 vs. 245/60R18). The X7’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Ascent (F:275/40R22 & R:315/35R22 vs. 245/60R18).

The X7’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Ascent’s standard 60 series tires. The X7’s optional 275/40R22 front and 315/35R22 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the Ascent Limited/Touring’s 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the X7 has standard 21-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Ascent. The X7’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels on the Ascent Limited/Touring.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the X7 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Ascent doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The front and rear suspension of the X7 uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the Ascent, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The X7 has a standard driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Ascent’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The X7 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The X7’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Ascent doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The X7 has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Ascent doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the X7’s wheelbase is 8.4 inches longer than on the Ascent (122.2 inches vs. 113.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the X7 is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 2.9 inches wider in the rear than on the Ascent.

Chassis

The front grille of the X7 uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Ascent doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The X7 has .6 inches more front headroom, .7 inches more third row headroom and 1.6 inches more third row legroom than the Ascent.

Cargo Capacity

The X7’s cargo area provides more volume than the Ascent.

X7

Ascent

Third Seat Folded

48.6 cubic feet

47.5 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

90.4 cubic feet

86.5 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the X7’s second and third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Ascent doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

The X7’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the tailgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The Ascent’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

Towing

The X7’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Ascent’s (7500 vs. 2000 pounds).

Servicing Ease

The X7 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Ascent uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that BMW service is better than Subaru. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 31% lower rating, Subaru is ranked 18th.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory seat in the Ascent Limited/Touring, the X7 offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The X7’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Ascent doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The X7 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Ascent doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the X7 and the Ascent have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the X7 is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Ascent prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The X7’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Ascent’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The X7’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Ascent’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The X7’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the Ascent Premium/Limited/Touring.

When the X7 is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Ascent’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The X7 has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Ascent offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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