2020 Toyota Sequoia vs. 2020 Subaru Ascent

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front, middle and rear seat shoulder belts of the Toyota Sequoia 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 Sequoia has standard front and rear 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 Sequoia’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 Sequoia 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.

The Toyota Sequoia weighs 1127 to 1570 pounds more than the Subaru Ascent. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

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Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Sequoia 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 Sequoia’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Sequoia has a standard 710-amp battery. The Ascent’s 530-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sequoia second among large suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Ascent isn’t in the top three in its category.

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 Sequoia’s 5.7 DOHC V8 produces 121 more horsepower (381 vs. 260) and 124 lbs.-ft. more torque (401 vs. 277) than the Ascent’s 2.4 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Toyota Sequoia is faster than the Subaru Ascent:

Sequoia

Ascent

Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

7.5 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93.7 MPH

88.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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The Sequoia has 7.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Ascent (26.4 vs. 19.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Toyota Sequoia higher (5 out of 10) than the Subaru Ascent (3). This means the Sequoia produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Ascent every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Sequoia

Ascent

Front Rotors

13.9 inches

13.1 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

13 inches

The Sequoia stops shorter than the Ascent:

Sequoia

Ascent

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

125 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Sequoia has larger tires than the Ascent (275/65R18 vs. 245/60R18).

The Sequoia 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 Sequoia 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 Sequoia offers an optional automatic rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Ascent doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The Sequoia 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 a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sequoia’s wheelbase is 8.2 inches longer than on the Ascent (122 inches vs. 113.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Sequoia is 3.5 inches wider in the front and 4.9 inches wider in the rear than on the Ascent.

The Sequoia’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (50.4% to 49.6%) than the Ascent’s (54.2% to 45.8%). This gives the Sequoia more stable handling and braking.

For greater off-road capability the Sequoia Platinum has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Ascent (9.6 vs. 8.7 inches), allowing the Sequoia to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Sequoia’s minimum ground clearance is 1.3 inches higher than on the Ascent (10 vs. 8.7 inches).

Chassis

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As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the Sequoia Platinum 4x4 is quieter than the Ascent Touring (71 vs. 73 dB).

Passenger Space

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The Sequoia has .3 inches more front legroom, 4.8 inches more front hip room, 5.3 inches more front shoulder room, 2.3 inches more rear legroom, 2.4 inches more rear hip room, 5.3 inches more rear shoulder room, 3.6 inches more third row legroom, 4.5 inches more third row hip room and 8.5 inches more third row shoulder room than the Ascent.

Cargo Capacity

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

Sequoia

Ascent

Behind Third Seat

18.9 cubic feet

17.8 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

66.6 cubic feet

47.5 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

120.1 cubic feet

86.5 cubic feet

The Sequoia’s cargo area is larger than the Ascent’s in almost every dimension:

Sequoia

Ascent

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

18.5”/52.5”/90.5”

19.9”/47.6”/82.5”

Max Width

54.5”

50.5”

Min Width

50”

45.9”

Height

36”

33.9”

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

The Sequoia’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 Sequoia’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the Ascent’s (7100 vs. 2000 pounds).

Servicing Ease

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The Sequoia 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 Sequoia Platinum’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel 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 Sequoia’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Ascent does not have an oil pressure gauge.

If the front windows are left open on the Sequoia the driver can close them at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Ascent can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The Sequoia has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Ascent doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The Sequoia’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 Sequoia Platinum 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 Sequoia Limited/Platinum/TRD Pro 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

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The Sequoia 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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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sequoia is less expensive to operate than the Ascent because it costs $246 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Sequoia than the Ascent, including $4 less for a water pump, $168 less for front struts and $81 less for a power steering pump.

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