2019 GMC Acadia vs. 2019 Subaru Ascent

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

Your buying experience includes...

business_centerProfessional Staff
account_balanceSimple Financing
local_gas_stationFull Tank of Gas
local_car_washFree Car Wash

Safety

The Acadia Denali’s optional 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 GMC Acadia’s middle seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Subaru Ascent doesn’t offer comfort guides on its middle seat belts.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Acadia are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Ascent doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Acadia has a standard front seat center airbag, which deploys between the driver and front passenger, protecting them from injuries caused by striking each other in serious side impacts. The Ascent doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

The Acadia Denali offers an optional Surround Vision System 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.

Both the Acadia and the Ascent have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The Acadia’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Ascent’s (6 vs. 5 years).

GMC pays for the first scheduled maintenance on the Acadia. GMC will pay for the first oil change, lubrication and any other required maintenance in the first year. Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Ascent.

There are almost 3 times as many GMC dealers as there are Subaru dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Acadia’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Acadia has a standard 660-amp battery. The Ascent’s 530-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that GMC vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks GMC 20th in initial quality. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 28th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that GMC vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks GMC 18th in reliability. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 24th.

Engine

The Acadia’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 50 more horsepower (310 vs. 260) than the Ascent’s 2.4 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the GMC Acadia V6 is faster than the Subaru Ascent:

 

Acadia

Ascent

Zero to 30 MPH

2.2 sec

2.7 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

6.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

17.2 sec

19.4 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.4 sec

7.8 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.3 sec

3.9 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.8 sec

5.1 sec

Quarter Mile

15 sec

15.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94 MPH

91 MPH

Top Speed

131 MPH

130 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Acadia 4 cyl.’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 Acadia AWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Ascent (21.7 vs. 19.3 gallons).

The Acadia has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Ascent doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the GMC Acadia higher (5 to 6 out of 10) than the Subaru Ascent (3). This means the Acadia produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Ascent every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

The Acadia stops shorter than the Ascent:

 

Acadia

Ascent

 

70 to 0 MPH

173 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Acadia’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Ascent (255/65R17 vs. 245/60R18).

The GMC Acadia’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Subaru Ascent only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Acadia has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Ascent doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The Acadia offers an available 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 Acadia has 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.

The Acadia Denali AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the Ascent Limited pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Acadia SLT AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Ascent Touring (26.9 seconds @ .67 average G’s vs. 27.4 seconds @ .63 average G’s).

Chassis

The GMC Acadia may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 200 to 450 pounds less than the Subaru Ascent.

The Acadia is 3.2 inches shorter than the Ascent, making the Acadia easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the Acadia FWD 4 cyl. 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.

The Acadia uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Ascent doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Acadia has 1.1 inches more rear legroom and .9 inches more third row headroom than the Ascent.

Cargo Capacity

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

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Acadia Denali’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Ascent doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

The Acadia 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.

Ergonomics

The Acadia (except SL/SLE)’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Ascent doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the Acadia and the Ascent have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Acadia 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 Acadia’s optional front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches. The Ascent’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to lower them fully.

The Acadia’s speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Ascent’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Acadia’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 Acadia with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Ascent’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Acadia SLT/Denali 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.

Model Availability

The Acadia is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Ascent doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Acadia is less expensive to operate than the Ascent because typical repairs cost much less on the Acadia than the Ascent, including $177 less for a starter and $368 less for front struts.

Recommendations

The GMC Acadia outsold the Subaru Ascent by over two to one during 2018.

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

How much is your car worth?

Get the best value for your car from an Asbury dealership.

Featured Videos