If you ask around – or search on the internet – for the best three-row SUV to buy at the moment, you’d discover that the Hyundai Palisade falls among the suggestions you got from different sources. The Palisade is currently one of the “most talked about” midsize SUVs.
But then, there’s a competitor many people seem not to notice – it is the Subaru Ascent. The Subaru Ascent is a distinctive 3-row SUV with enough room for passengers and cargo.
This Hyundai Palisade vs Subaru Ascent comparison article details the differences between these two top-notch family SUVs sold in the US and other international markets.
The Palisade offers seating space for up to seven passengers – it is really spacious; currently, the largest SUV from South Korean carmaker Hyundai.
Introduced in 2018, the Palisade has been topping many charts and listings regarding three-row SUVs. The Hyundai Palisade replaced the Maxcruz (Santa Fe XL) in Hyundai’s SUV series.
With a starting price of around $31,000 for the base models, the Palisade is one of the best budget-friendly SUVs to own at the moment.
It is built on the same platform as the Kia Telluride but offers slightly more cargo space. Hyundai Palisade is not built as a luxury SUV but comes with premium and advanced features you’d love.
Hyundai Palisade packs several impressive driver-assist technologies, and it doesn’t slack in off-road performance. This three-row family-size SUV is Hyundai’s largest SUV sold in the US, and it’s still relatively new – just 3 model years have been produced thus far.
The Japanese automobile manufacturer, Subaru, is notable for producing highly durable off-road trailblazers.
Ascent is the brand’s entry into the midsize thee-row SUVs, and it’s really a deal breaker for the price. Subaru Ascent is sold as “Evoltis” in some international markets – it is a seven- or eight-seat passenger SUV.
The Ascent is currently the largest SUV from the Japanese carmaker Subaru. Introduced in 2017 but launched in the third quarter of 2018 for the 2019 model year, the Ascent succeeds the Tribeca SUV. It comes with just one powertrain option – a 2.4L turbo H4 engine paired with a TR690 Lineartronic CVT.
While the Subaru Ascent is not basically built as a luxury SUV, its highest trims, Ascent Limited and Onyx Edition, give the feeling of riding a luxury SUV – adding much more advanced technologies and a super-classy leatherette interior. You can’t go wrong with the Subaru Ascent, and the price won’t burn a hole in your pocket, either.
Hyundai Palisade Vs Subaru Ascent
|3.5L V6, 3.8L V6, 2.2L I4 (Diesel)
|2.4 L FA24F turbo H4
|TR690 Lineartronic CVT
|Base SE, SEL, XRT, and Limited
|Base, Limited, Premium, Touring, and Onyx Edition
|19 city / 26 highway
|21 city / 27 highway
|Rating (JD Power)
|78 out of 100
|82 out of 100
|$31,000 – $51,000
|$30,200 – $48,000
Note: These figures are based on the newest model years of these SUV models.
1. Engine Performance
The engine options available for the Palisade are pretty decent and powerful. When buying a brand new model, you get to choose between the 3.5L V6 and 3.8L V6 gasoline engines or go for the 2.2L I4 Diesel engine.
Among the three engines, the 3.8L V6 is the commonest, and it produces up to 291HP @6000rpm and 262lb-ft of torque @5200rpm.
The Ascent, on the other hand, has only one engine option, irrespective of the model or trim you’re buying – it is a newly developed FA24 engine, turbocharged with a direct injection technique.
The flat-four engine delivers a peak power of 260hp @5,600rpm and peak torque of 277 lb-ft @between 2,000 – 4,800rpm. You’re getting more power with the Palisade, apparently.
2. Features and Technologies
These two SUVs are packed with loads of hi-tech features and technologies. Starting with the Palisade, it comes with a lane departure warning, automatic start/stop engine function, lane keep assist, rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, safe exit assist, a pre-collision warning system, and pretty other driver-assist / safety features.
The Subaru Ascent comes with its unique set of safety/driver assist features, including the brand’s signature EyeSight driver assistance suite, Starlink infotainment, a seven-inch color screen display, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto support, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and other important features.
3. Drivetrain and Towing Capacity
Hyundai Palisade comes with AWD and FWD drivetrain options; if you’d be using the SUV for more off-road travels and tours, you need to pick up the AWD drivetrain – it supports a preset AWD lock mode for a customized off-road experience. The Palisade has an 8.0-inch ground clearance level and can tow a maximum of 5,000 lbs.
The Subaru Ascent can tow 5,000 lbs and also has high ground-level clearance. It comes standard with an AWD drivetrain, which makes it an off-road-ready SUV. Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel-drive system is one of the most reliable in the industry, and that gives the Ascent an edge over the Palisade.
4. Fuel Economy
A lot of people consider fuel economy when they want to buy a new car. Well, the Subaru Ascent offers better fuel economy than the Hyundai Palisade – it is estimated at 21mpg city and 27mpg highway for the lower trims and 20/26mpg city/highway on higher trims such as the Limited and Touring models.
Coming to the Palisade, it offers 19mpg city and 26mpg highway while driving in front-wheel drive and 19/24 mpg city/highway when you use the all-wheel-drive system. Not so bad for the Palisade, but the Ascent does it better in terms of fuel efficiency.
5. Cargo and Seating Space
Both SUVs offer three-row seats, but while the Palisade is designed to contain only seven passengers, the Ascent has eight-passenger models that can contain up to eight persons comfortably, including the driver.
Over to the cargo space, the Subaru Ascent offers up to 17.8 cubic feet of cargo room with all the seats in place; the space increases to 86.5 cubic feet if the rear seats (second and third rows) are all folded down.
The Hyundai Palisade offers 18 cubic feet of cargo room with all the seats in place and 86.5 cubic feet with all the rear seats folded. There’s no significant difference between these two SUVs in this regard.
The final price you will pay for any of these SUVs may differ from dealership to dealership, and also, the trim and/or model year you’re buying plays a role too. Notwithstanding, you’d get the base Subaru Ascent between $30,000 and $32,000, and it comes standard with all-wheel-drive.
If you’d prefer the Palisade, the starting price for the base model is between $31,000 and $35,000. If you’re on a budget, the Ascent is a decent choice, and it doesn’t compromise on anything. Of course, higher trims and the latest models are more expensive, but the Palisade is always ahead in pricing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hyundai Palisade vs. Subaru Ascent, Which Should I Buy?
The final decision to buy a particular car model is based on personal biases and budget. Whether you go for the Ascent or Palisade, both are outstanding rides with enough room for everyone and their luggage.
However, the interior of the Ascent looks better than the Palisade, and also Subaru’s signature AWD drivetrain is standard on Ascent models. Well, the Palisade comes with a bigger and better infotainment system and a more powerful engine.
Is Subaru Ascent a Reliable Car?
Yes. Ascent is a sturdy and reliable car, built for use in all weather conditions, and it can drive through any path. US News reports give the Ascent a predicted reliability score of 80 out of 100 while ranking it among the best family SUVs sold in the US.
Is the Subaru Ascent Powerful Enough?
Even though the Hyundai Palisade is more powerful, the Ascent is pretty powerful on its own. The 260hp H4 turbocharged engine gives you all the power you need for all kinds of driving. 260hp is a big deal to many drivers, and they can bank on it.