2020 Toyota 4Runner vs. 2020 Subaru Ascent

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/14

The 4Runner Limited/Nightshade has standard Parking Assist Sonar to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The Ascent doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

The 4Runner’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 4Runner and the Ascent have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras and available four-wheel drive.

Warranty

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Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the 4Runner for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Ascent.

There are almost 2 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Subaru dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the 4Runner’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 23 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 Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Subaru is ranked fourth.

Engine

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The 4Runner’s 4.0 DOHC V6 produces 10 more horsepower (270 vs. 260) and 1 lbs.-ft. more torque (278 vs. 277) than the Ascent’s 2.4 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Toyota 4Runner is faster than the Subaru Ascent:

4Runner

Ascent

Zero to 30 MPH

3 sec

3.3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7.7 sec

8 sec

Quarter Mile

16.1 sec

16.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

89.2 MPH

88 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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The 4Runner has 3.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Ascent (23 vs. 19.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the 4Runner’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Ascent:

4Runner

Ascent

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

13.1 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the 4Runner’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Ascent (265/70R17 vs. 245/60R18).

The Toyota 4Runner’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 4Runner has a standard full size spare tire so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare isn’t available on the Ascent, it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which limits mileage and speed before replacement.

Suspension and Handling

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The 4Runner TRD Off-Road/Venture offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The Ascent doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The 4Runner has engine 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 better maneuverability, the 4Runner’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Ascent’s (37.4 feet vs. 38 feet).

For greater off-road capability the 4Runner has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Ascent (9.6 vs. 8.7 inches), allowing the 4Runner to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The 4Runner SR5 is 6.6 inches shorter than the Ascent, making the 4Runner easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

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The 4Runner’s cargo area provides more volume than the Ascent.

4Runner

Ascent

Second Seat Folded

89.7 cubic feet

86.5 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the 4Runner easier. The 4Runner’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 30.7 inches, while the Ascent’s liftover is 32 inches.

The 4Runner 5-Passenger’s optional sliding cargo floor is capable of supporting 440 pounds, to make loading and unloading cargo easier and safer. The Ascent doesn’t offer a sliding load floor.

The 4Runner’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The Ascent’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

Towing

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The 4Runner’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Ascent’s (5000 vs. 2000 pounds).

Servicing Ease

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The 4Runner 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

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The 4Runner’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.

If the windows are left open on the 4Runner the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (This window function must be activated by your Toyota service department.) The driver of the Ascent can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Consumer Reports rated the 4Runner’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Ascent’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

The 4Runner’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.

Model Availability

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The 4Runner is available in both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Ascent doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the 4Runner owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the 4Runner will cost $50 to $2255 less than the Ascent over a five-year period.

The 4Runner will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the 4Runner will retain 61.48% to 71.13% of its original price after five years, while the Ascent only retains 53.75% to 56.03%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 4Runner is less expensive to operate than the Ascent because it costs $509 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the 4Runner than the Ascent, including $36 less for front brake pads and $415 less for front struts.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Toyota 4Runner will be $1918 to $4273 less than for the Subaru Ascent.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/14

The TRD Pro was selected by Petersen's 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine as their 2015 4x4 of the Year. The Ascent has never been chosen.

The Toyota 4Runner outsold the Subaru Ascent by 67% during the 2019 model year.

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