Honda Pilot Vs. Subaru Ascent

By Justin Cupler | April 8th, 2019

Midsize crossovers have tons of cargo and passenger room but also deliver the drivability full-size SUVs lack. This makes them great for larger families who really don’t want to upsize from a sedan but have no choice. The 2019 Honda Pilot and 2019 Subaru Ascent are three-row crossovers that check most of our Rochester area buyers’ “needs” boxes. Which one is better for you? Find out below.

Exterior

The Honda Pilot went through a full redesign in 2016 and receives a light refresh in 2019 that brings in new front and rear fascias, LED headlights, and updated taillights. This new look piles on top of an already great look that many crossovers have a hard time competing with.

The 2019 Subaru Ascent is an all-new crossover that features distinct brand styling that is recognizable from a mile away. Its long and low hood looks sharp from the front and makes for great forward visibility, but it looks a little disproportionate from the side.

In terms of features, the 2019 Pilot has many more look-good bits on the outside, including a full range of standard  LED lighting.

 

If you plan to go off-road, though, all the features in the world can’t help. What will help is the Ascent’s 8.7 inches of ground clearance, which beats the Pilot by 1.4 inches.

 

Measurement 2019 Honda Pilot 2019 Subaru Ascent Difference
Length 196.5 inches 196.8 inches -0.3 inches
Width 78.6 inches 76 inches +2.6 inches
Height 70.6 inches 71.6 inches 1 inch
Wheelbase 111 inches 113.8 inches -2.8 inches
Ground Clearance 7.3 inches 8.7 inches -1.4 inches
Curb weight 4,036 to 4,319 pounds 4,430 to 4,603 pounds -394 to -284 pounds

 

Advantage: 2019 Honda Pilot

  • Great looks
  • Standard LED lighting

Advantage: 2019 Subaru Ascent

  • Fan-friendly Subaru design
  • Tons more ground clearance

Interior

The 2019 Honda Pilot and 2019 Subaru Ascent both feature great-looking interiors with lots of color options, variety, and eye-catching angles. The Honda Pilot takes on a more traditional look, though, with its four-spoke steering wheel and smaller air vents, but there are a few standout styling bits like the gray-colored lengthwise dash applique and “L” shaped air vent accents.

The Ascent takes a sportier approach with its three-spoke steering wheel and long metallic accents that run alongside the center bezel. Just inside these long accents are longer air vents that push the accent lines outward to create a little extra shape.

In terms of standard features, the 2019 Ascent has a leg up on the Pilot with its standard 6.5-inch high-resolution touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and tri-zone climate control. The 2019 Pilot offers all these features, but they are options.

 

Seating space is a see-saw battle between these midsize crossovers, but the Ascent clearly wins the cargo-room battle.

 

Measurement 2019 Honda Pilot 2019 Subaru Ascent Difference
Front headroom 40.1 inches 41.3 inches -1.2 inches
Front legroom 40.9 inches 42.2 inches -1.3 inches
Front shoulder room 62 inches 61.1 inches +0.9 inches
Front hip room 59.1 inches 57.7 inches +1.4 inches
Middle headroom 40.2 inches 40 inches +0.2 inches
Middle legroom 38.4 inches 38.6 inches -0.2 inches
Middle shoulder room 62 inches 60.3 inches +1.7 inches
Middle hip room 57.3 inches 57.5 inches -0.2 inches
Rear headroom 38.9 inches 36.3 inches +2.6 inches
Rear legroom 31.9 inches 31.7 inches +0.2 inches
Rear shoulder room 57.6 inches 57.2 inches +0.4 inches
Rear hip room 44.6 inches 45.9 inches -1.3 inches
Cargo capacity (behind third row) 16.5 cubic feet 17.8 cubic feet -1.3 cubic feet
Cargo capacity (behind second row) 46.8 cubic feet 47.5 cubic feet -0.7 cubic feet
Cargo capacity (behind first row) 83.9 cubic feet 86.5 cubic feet -2.6 cubic feet

 

Advantage: 2019 Honda Pilot

  • More tradition-looking cabin

Advantage: 2019 Subaru Ascent

  • More standard tech
  • Sportier cabin

Performance

Crossovers are not necessarily performance cars, but the Honda Pilot and Subaru Ascent have respectable power and straight-line speed. The 2019 Pilot boasts a 3.6-liter V-6 that cranks out 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. This power flows through a standard six-speed transmission or an optional nine-speed automatic for a Car and Driver-estimated 6.5-second sprint to 60 mph. The Pilot comes standard with front-wheel drive and has optional all-wheel drive.

The 2019 Subaru Ascent skips the V-6 and dives in with an all-new 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that pumps out 260 horsepower and 277 pound-feet of torque. The Ascent comes standard with all-wheel drive and a continuously variable transmission with an eight-speed manual mode. This all adds up to a 6.9-second 0-to-60 time.

If you’re planning a lot of off-road driving, the Ascent and its legendary Subaru all-wheel drive is perfect. Plus, if you go deep into the woods, its torque vectoring, hill-descent control, and X-MODE traction control makes easy work of slippery trails.

 

Despite its standard all-wheel drive, the Ascent gets slightly better fuel economy. Towing is even on the top end, but the Pilot has a 1,500-pound advantage in its base trim.

 

2019 Honda Pilot 2019 Subaru Ascent Difference
Engine 3.5-liter V-6 2.4-liter turbo boxer-4
Horsepower 280 hp at 6,000 rpm 260 hp at 5,600 rpm +20 hp
Torque 262 lb-ft at 4,700 rpm 277 lb-ft at 2,000 to 4,800 rpm -15 lb-ft
Standard transmission 6-spd automatic CVT with 8-spd mode
Optional transmission 9-spd automatic
Driveline FWD (std.)/AWD (opt.) AWD
0-60 time 6.5 seconds (est.) 6.9 seconds -0.4 seconds
Towing capacity 3,500 to 5,000 pounds 2,000 to 5,000 pounds 0 to +1,500 pounds
MPG City 18 to 20 mpg* 20 to 21 mpg 0 to -3 mpg
MPG Highway 26 to 27 mpg* 26 to 27 mpg
MPG Combined 21 to 23 mpg* 22 to 23 mpg 0 to +2 mpg

 

Advantage: 2019 Honda Pilot

  • Quicker to 60 mph
  • More standard horsepower
  • Better standard towing

Advantage: 2019 Subaru Ascent

  • Better fuel economy
  • Standard all-wheel drive and X-MODE
  • More trail-driving cred

Pricing and Features

There are five trim levels in the 2019 Honda Pilot lineup — LX, EX, EX-L, Touring, and Elite — and their starting prices range from $31,450 to $48,020.

 

The 2019 Subaru Ascent has four trim levels available: base, Premium, Limited, and Touring. Their starting prices range from $31,995 to $44,695.

2019 Honda Pilot Key Features and Pricing by Trim

LX: $31,450**

  • 3.5-liter V-6 engine
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • Eco Assist system
  • Active noise cancellation
  • Hill-start assist
  • Electronic power steering
  • Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes
  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Brake assist
  • LED daytime running lights
  • LED low-beam headlights
  • LED brake and reverse lights
  • Tinted rear glass
  • Intermittent rear wipers
  • Variable-intermittent windshield wipers
  • Remote entry
  • Black door handles
  • Black power mirrors
  • Black roofline spoiler
  • Air conditioning
  • Sunglasses holder
  • Keyless ignition
  • Power windows with one-touch-up/down front windows
  • Power door locks
  • Cruise control
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Rear-seat heater ducts
  • Cargo-area light
  • Four cargo-area tie-down
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Front and rear floor mats
  • 60/40 split-folding third-row seat
  • 5-inch LCD infotainment screen
  • 1.0-amp USB port
  • 2.5-amp center console USB port
  • 12-volt power outlets in front and center console
  • Seven-speaker, 215-watt audio system with subwoofer
  • Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming
  • MP3 player input
  • Multi-angle rearview camera
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Road-departure mitigation
  • Forward collision warning
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Lane-keep assist
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic high-beam headlights

 

EX: $34,330**

  • 18-inch machine-finish alloy wheels
  • Remote engine start
  • Body-color heated mirrors with integrated LED turn signals
  • Body-color door handles
  • Smart entry with walk-away auto lock
  • LED fog lights
  • Tri-zone automatic climate control
  • Illuminated vanity mirrors
  • Conversation mirror with sunglasses holder
  • 10-way power driver’s seat
  • One-touch second-row seats
  • Heated front-row seats
  • 8-inch display audio with high-resolution touchscreen
  • HondaLink
  • CabinControl remote compatibility
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto
  • SMS text messaging
  • SiriusXM
  • HD Radio
  • One front 2.5-amp USB port
  • Multi-angle rearview mirror with dynamic guidelines
  • Blind-spot monitoring

 

EX-L: $37,760**

  • All EX features, plus
  • Power moonroof
  • Power liftgate
  • Acoustic windshield
  • HomeLink universal home remote
  • Integrated second-row sunshades
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Leather-wrapped shift knob
  • Two-position memory for mirrors and driver’s seat
  • Four-way power passenger’s seat
  • Leather seating
  • Two second-row 2.5-amp charging ports

 

Touring: $42,520**

  • All EX-L features, plus
  • Automatic idle stop
  • Nine-speed automatic transmission
  • 20-inch machine-finished alloy wheels
  • Chrome door handles
  • Hands-free power liftgate
  • Acoustic front door glass
  • Roof rails
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Auto-on/off headlights
  • Reverse-gear-tilt-down mirrors
  • Front-row courtesy door lights
  • Blue ambient LED lighting
  • Front and rear heated seats
  • Satellite-linked navigation
  • Advanced rear entertainment system with 10.2-inch high-resolution screen
  • Blu-Ray player
  • Built-in streaming apps
  • 115-volt power outlet
  • Second-row HDMI input
  • 590-watt premium audio system with 10 speakers
  • HondaLink subscription
  • In-car Wi-Fi
  • Multizone audio control

 

Elite: $48,020**

  • All Touring features, plus
  • Intelligent all-wheel drive
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers
  • Auto-dimming, power-folding mirrors side-view mirrors
  • Panoramic roof
  • LED front map lights
  • Floor mats in all three rows
  • Heated leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Perforated, heated second-row seats
  • Perforated, heated, and ventilated seats
  • Wireless phone charger
  • Normal, Snow, Mud, and Sand drive modes

2019 Subaru Ascent Key Features and Pricing by Trim

Base: $31,995

  • 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine
  • All-wheel drive
  • CVT with eight-speed manual shift mode
  • Paddle shifters
  • X-MODE torque vectoring
  • Hill-descent control
  • Trailer stability assist
  • Electric power steering
  • Four-wheel disc brakes
  • Brake assist
  • 18-inch silver-finish aluminum-alloy wheels
  • Projector-beam auto-on/off headlights
  • Black mirrors
  • Body-color door handles
  • Two-speed windshield wipers
  • Rear window wiper
  • Raised roof rails
  • Keyless entry
  • Six-way manual driver’s seat
  • Reclining 60/40 split-folding second- and third-row seats
  • Second-row bench seat
  • Cloth upholstery
  • Ivory carbon-fiber-patterned door-panel accents
  • Power windows with auto-up/down front glass
  • Steering-wheel-mounted controls
  • Dual front- and second-row USB ports
  • Tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel
  • Tri-zone automatic climate control
  • STARLINK Multimedia Plus infotainment system
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Android Auto
  • Pandora and Aha radio
  • SiriusXM Magellan navigation
  • 6.5-inch high-resolution touchscreen
  • Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming
  • Six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio system with HD Radio
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Sway warning
  • Lane-keep assist
  • High-resolution rearview camera

 

Premium: $34,195

  • All base features, plus
  • 18-inch gray-painted aluminum-alloy wheels
  • 4G LTE Wi-Fi
  • Body-color mirrors
  • Windshield wiper de-icer
  • Eight-way power driver’s seat
  • Heated front seats
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Leather-wrapped shift knob
  • Stain-resistant cloth upholstery
  • Second-row climate controls
  • 8-inch high-resolution touchscreen
  • Blind-spot monitoring with lane-change assist
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Automatic collision notification
  • SOS emergency assistance
  • Enhanced roadside assistance
  • Maintenance notifications
  • Remote engine start with climate control
  • Remote lock and unlock
  • Concierge services

 

Limited: $38,995

  • All Premium features, plus
  • 20-inch dark-gray aluminum-alloy wheels
  • Adaptive LED headlights
  • LED fog lights
  • Mirror-integrated turn signals
  • Keyless access with PIN-code access
  • Push-button start
  • Power liftgate
  • 10-way power driver’s seat
  • Four-way power passenger’s seat
  • Heated second-row seats
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Ivory leather interior accent door trim
  • Leather upholstery
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass
  • Universal home remote
  • Dual third-row USB ports
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Reverse automatic emergency braking

 

Touring: $44,695

  • Power moonroof
  • Second-row captain’s chairs
  • Satin-chrome side mirrors
  • Chrome door handles
  • Ventilated front seats
  • Woodgrain accent trim
  • Smart auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • 120-volt power outlet
  • GPS navigation
  • 792-watt, 14-speaker Harman Kardon QuantumLogic Surround Sound audio system
  • 180-degree front-view camera

Who Should Buy the 2019 Honda Pilot?

Want a crossover with the best possible ride that still offers some off-road abilities? The Honda Pilot is a great balance between the two.

Who Should Buy the 2019 Subaru Ascent?

The Subaru Ascent is great for buyers who may find themselves a bit deeper in the woods than most crossover shoppers. With its standard all-wheel drive, extra 1.4 inches of ground clearance, and other off-road-ready features, the Ascent will get the job without issue.

 

The 2019 Honda Pilot is ready for our Pittsford and Henrietta area crossover shoppers today here at Garber Honda in Rochester, New York. Head down to our Rochester showroom today to test drive this smooth-riding crossover. Can’t make it to our Rochester area Honda showroom today? Navigate to our online inventory to check out what 2019 Pilot models we have in stock, then schedule a test drive later.

 

*19 city/27 highway/22 combined mpg rating for 2WD 6AT trims. 18 city/26 highway/21 combined mpg rating for AWD 6AT trims. 20 city/27 highway/23 combined mpg rating for 2WD 9AT trims. 19 city/26 highway/22 combined mpg rating for AWD 9AT trims. Based on 2019 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions and other factors.

 

**MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, $1,045.00 destination charge and options. Dealers set own prices.