2020 Chevrolet Traverse vs. 2020 Subaru Ascent

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the Chevrolet Traverse’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 Traverse 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 Traverse 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 Traverse (except L/LS) offers an optional Surround Vision 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 Traverse and the Ascent have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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

There are almost 5 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Subaru dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Traverse’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Traverse has a standard 600-amp battery. The Ascent’s 530-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th, 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 Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 21 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

Engine

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

As tested in Motor Trend the Chevrolet Traverse is faster than the Subaru Ascent:

Traverse

Ascent

Zero to 60 MPH

6.7 sec

7.5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.2 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90.6 MPH

88.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

The Traverse 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 Chevrolet Traverse higher (6 out of 10) than the Subaru Ascent (3). This means the Traverse produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Ascent every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

The Traverse stops shorter than the Ascent:

Traverse

Ascent

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Traverse has larger tires than the Ascent (255/65R18 vs. 245/60R18).

The Chevrolet Traverse’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 Traverse 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 Traverse 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 Traverse’s wheelbase is 7.1 inches longer than on the Ascent (120.9 inches vs. 113.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Traverse is 2.9 inches wider in the front and 2.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Ascent.

The Traverse RS handles at .84 G’s, while the Ascent Limited pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Traverse RS AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Ascent Touring (27 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 27.4 seconds @ .63 average G’s).

Chassis

The front grille of the Traverse 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 Traverse 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 Traverse has .4 inches more front hip room, 1 inch more front shoulder room, 1.9 inches more rear shoulder room, 1.9 inches more third row headroom, 1.8 inches more third row legroom, 2.6 inches more third row hip room and .3 inches more third row shoulder room than the Ascent.

Cargo Capacity

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

Traverse

Ascent

Behind Third Seat

23 cubic feet

17.8 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

57.8 cubic feet

47.5 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

98.2 cubic feet

86.5 cubic feet

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

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Traverse Premier/High Country’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 Traverse 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 Traverse Premier/High Country’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and 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 Traverse and the Ascent have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Traverse 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.

On a hot day the Traverse’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Ascent can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Consumer Reports rated the Traverse’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Ascent’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

The Traverse’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 Traverse Premier/High Country 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 Traverse Premier/High Country 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.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Chevrolet Traverse Premier/High Country has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) for the front seat. The Ascent doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Model Availability

The Traverse 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 Traverse is less expensive to operate than the Ascent because typical repairs cost much less on the Traverse than the Ascent, including $174 less for a starter and $394 less for front struts.

Recommendations

The Chevrolet Traverse outsold the Subaru Ascent by over four to one during 2018.

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

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