2021 GMC Yukon vs. 2020 Subaru Ascent

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/08/06

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 Yukon 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 Yukon 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 Yukon (except SLE) offers an optional HD 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 Yukon and the Ascent have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/08/06

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

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 Yukon’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Yukon has a standard 220-amp alternator (250-amp - Yukon Diesel). The Ascent’s 190-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Yukon has a standard 800-amp battery (900 Diesel). 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 GMC vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks GMC 12th in initial quality. With 19 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th.

Engine

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The Yukon’s standard 5.3 V8 produces 95 more horsepower (355 vs. 260) and 106 lbs.-ft. more torque (383 vs. 277) than the Ascent’s 2.4 turbo 4-cylinder. The Yukon Denali’s standard 6.2 V8 produces 160 more horsepower (420 vs. 260) and 183 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 277) than the Ascent’s 2.4 turbo 4-cylinder.

The Yukon’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 17 more horsepower (277 vs. 260) and 183 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 277) than the Ascent’s 2.4 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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An engine control system that can shut down some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Yukon V8’s fuel efficiency. The Ascent doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Yukon’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.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Yukon has larger standard tires than the Ascent (265/65R18 vs. 245/60R18). The Yukon’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Ascent (275/65R20 vs. 245/60R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Yukon offers optional 22-inch wheels. The Ascent’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

The GMC Yukon’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 Yukon 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.

The Yukon 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 Yukon 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 Yukon AT4/Denali has a standard automatic load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Ascent doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Yukon’s wheelbase is 7.1 inches longer than on the Ascent (120.9 inches vs. 113.8 inches).

Chassis

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The front grille of the Yukon 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

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The Yukon offers optional seating for 9 passengers; the Ascent can only carry 8.

The Yukon has 14.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Ascent (168.3 vs. 153.5).

The Yukon has 1 inch more front headroom, 2.3 inches more front legroom, 3.4 inches more rear legroom, 1.9 inches more third row headroom and 3.2 inches more third row legroom than the Ascent.

Cargo Capacity

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

Yukon

Ascent

Behind Third Seat

25.5 cubic feet

17.8 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

72.6 cubic feet

47.5 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

122.9 cubic feet

86.5 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Yukon’s (except SLE) optional second and third 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 Yukon’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.

Towing

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The Yukon 4WD with optional equipment can be flat towed on all four wheels (dinghy towed), allowing recreational vehicle owners to bring it with them on the road. When they reach their destination, the Yukon can be unhitched and driven around locally. The Ascent can’t be towed flat on the ground.

Ergonomics

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/08/06

The Yukon’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.

The Yukon (except SLE/SLT) offers an available 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 Yukon and the Ascent have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Yukon 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 Yukon’s front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Ascent’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

The Yukon’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 Yukon’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.

The Yukon SLT/AT4/Denali’s standard rear view mirror and optional side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to 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 GMC Yukon SLT/AT4/Denali has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) for the front seat. The Ascent doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Model Availability

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/08/06

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

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