Subaru Ascent vs Kia Telluride Comparison in Huntington Beach, CA

Three-row midsize SUVs are a perfect choice for those who need extra space, but don't want to deal with the bulkiness and low ground clearance of a minivan or the truck-like handling of a full-size body-on-frame SUV. One of the newer entries into this segment is the Subaru Ascent. Though it was released in 2019, it's already gained wide praise for combining three-row SUV sensibilities with the quality you've come to expect from Subaru. Of course, it's not without competition. The 2020 Kia Telluride is a formidable opponent. But when you compare the two, as we do here, you'll see just why the Subaru is the superior choice.

Bicycles atop a 2020 Subaru Ascent

2020 Subaru Ascent vs 2020 Kia Telluride: Design

On the outside, you'll find a number of similarities between these two SUVs. Both include standard features like 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels and offer available upgrades like LED headlights. But the Subaru Ascent has even more impressive standard features that are available upgrades only on the Kia Telluride. Whether you're going surfing or headed on a long road trip and taking extra cargo along, you'll find the standard raised roof rails on the 2020 Subaru Ascent to be helpful. To get these same features on the Kia Telluride, you'll have to pay extra. What's more, the Subaru Ascent has higher ground clearance than the Kia Telluride.

On the inside, you'll find that both of these SUVs offer remarkable space. Both seat up to eight passengers, and their remarkable cargo capacity can stretch up to 87 cubic feet in the Kia Telluride or a similar 86.5 cubic feet in the Subaru Ascent. The headroom and legroom in both vehicles are also similar, providing a comfortable ride in both.


Subaru Ascent interior

2020 Subaru Ascent vs 2020 Kia Telluride: Interior Features

Though they share similar interior dimensions, there are still some key differences between the Subaru Ascent and the Kia Telluride. When it comes to your comfort, the Subaru Ascent gives you more at lower trim levels. Consider air conditioning, for example. It's a key part of keeping you and your passengers comfortable in rush-hour traffic on hot days, but the 2020 Kia Telluride only comes standard with manual air conditioning. Upgrade and you'll get dual-zone automatic temperature control, but that's it. The 2020 Subaru Ascent, on the other hand, comes standard with tri-zone automatic climate control, which provides optimal comfort for everyon. In many other areas, these SUVs share similarly advanced features. Six-speaker audio systems are standard in both, and features like power lift gates are available. But when you sit in the Subaru Ascent, you get a sense that it's designed with passengers in mind to a level that the Kia Telluride simply can't match. A perfect example of this is the cupholders. The 2020 Kia Telluride includes eight cupholders and four bottle holders. By comparison, you'll find a stunning nineteen cup and bottle holders in the 2020 Subaru Ascent.

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Subaru Ascent driving along a coastal highway

2020 Subaru Ascent vs 2020 Kia Telluride: Performance

On paper, the engines of the Subaru Ascent and the Kia Telluride may not seem that different. The Subaru Ascent has greater torque, and the Kia Telluride has more horsepower, but the numbers aren't too different overall. However, getting behind the wheel of these two vehicles shows how different the performance is. The 2020 Subaru Ascent is powered by a turbocharged BOXER® engine. The horizontal design of the engine means that it can be placed lower in the engine compartment than inline engines or the V6 that the Kia Telluride has. This provides a lower center of gravity and decreased body roll around turns for more comfortable driving around town. In addition, this design decreases noise, vibration, and harshness, creating a comfortable and enjoyable ride.

In addition to being more comfortable around town, the Subaru Ascent is also more efficient. Every 2020 Subaru Ascent comes with all-wheel drive, but even the AWD Subaru Ascent gets better gas mileage than the front-wheel drive Kia Telluride. When you upgrade to an AWD Kia Telluride, that gap becomes even larger. You'll get up to 26 miles per gallon in a FWD Kia Telluride and 24 miles per gallon in an AWD version. The 2020 Subaru Ascent gets up to 27 miles per gallon.


Subaru Ascent with adaptive cruise control in use

2020 Subaru Ascent vs 2020 Kia Telluride: Safety

Both the 2020 Subaru Ascent and the 2020 Kia Telluride have been highly rated for safety. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave both the coveted 2020 Top Safety Pick award. They also got a perfect five-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, the NHTSA only gave the 2020 Kia Telluride a four-star rating in the Frontal Crash category. In this same category, the 2020 Subaru Ascent earned all five stars.

When it comes to crash prevention, both SUVs include standard features that include adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist. But for extra traction, the full-time all-wheel drive in the Subaru Ascent performs better than the front-wheel drive that's standard in the Kia Telluride.

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2020 Subaru Ascent vs 2020 Kia Telluride: Value

These are both worthy SUVs, and they're priced similarly. The 2020 Subaru Ascent has a starting MSRP that's barely over $300 more than that of the 2020 Kia Telluride. Of course, if you wanted to add features like roof rails or all-wheel drive to your Kia Telluride--features that are standard in the Subaru Ascent--it would end up costing you more. Subaru vehicles are also renowned for long lifespans and low cost-to-own, making the value of the 2020 Subaru Ascent better over the long term. We encourage you to experience this SUV for yourself at McKenna Subaru.

2020 Subaru Ascent2020 Kia Telluride
$32,295Starting MSRP*$31,990
260Standard Horsepower291
277Torque (lb.-ft.)262
5,000Maximum Towing Capacity (lbs.)5,000
StandardAll-Wheel DriveAvailable Upgrade
8.7Ground Clearance (in.)8
86.5Maximum Cargo Capacity (cu. ft.)87
27 Highway / 21 CityFuel Economy (MPG) w/ AWD24 Highway / 19 City
Standard FeatureAutomatic Climate ControlAvailable Upgrade
5 StarsNHTSA Frontal Crash Rating4 Stars

*Manufacturer's suggested retail price does not include destination and delivery charges, tax, title and registration fees. Destination and delivery includes handling and inland freight fees and may vary in some states. Prices, specifications, options, features and models subject to change without notice.