2021 Toyota Highlander vs Subaru Ascent

Toyota Highlander

A midsize SUV—like one from Toyota or Subaru—could be great for excursions around Pensacola or Fort Walton Beach, Florida. The Highlander and Ascent from these respective brands offer an array of impressive features. So, how do you know which vehicle would be right for you? The team at Bob Tyler Toyota can help.

In this 2021 Toyota Highlander vs. Subaru Ascent comparison, we’ll delve into the similarities and differences between these automobiles. That way, you can easily decide which one you’d like to test drive at our dealership near Daphne, Alabama!

2021 Toyota Highlander vs 2021 Subaru Ascent Quick Facts



Number of Trim Levels



Maximum Towing Capacity (Base Trim)

5,000 pounds

2,000 pounds

Best Fuel Economy

EPA-estimated 36 city/35 highway MPG*

EPA-estimated 21 city/27 highway MPG

Wi-Fi Hotspot



Wireless Charging


Not Available

2021 Highlander vs 2021 Ascent Performance Specs

Toyota Highlander PerformanceNo matter if you go with the Toyota Highlander or Subaru Ascent, you’ll have a vehicle that provides a strong performance with quick acceleration and a smooth ride.

The Highlander comes with a 295-horsepower 3.5L V6 engine. Not only does the engine provide plenty of power, but it helps with towing, too. In fact, you can tow up to 5,000 pounds with this SUV—hook that boat up for a day on the water!

The Ascent, meanwhile, comes with a 260-horsepower 2.4L 4-cylinder engine. Not only is this standard trim not as powerful, but it can only tow up to 2,000 pounds when properly equipped.

Maybe you value fuel economy above all else. In that case, you may still want to go with the Toyota model. It offers a hybrid, which achieves an EPA-estimated 36 city/35 highway MPG.* Unfortunately, the Subaru doesn’t offer a hybrid, so the best you’ll get is an EPA-estimated 21 city/27 highway MPG.

Interior Space & Amenities

Toyota Highlander Interior SpaceBoth the 2021 Toyota Highlander and 2021 Subaru Ascent provide seating for up to eight people. If you’re bringing the whole family to the beach or being the carpool driver for coworkers, you’ll have more than enough room inside for everyone.

However, you may feel more comfortable inside the Highlander, especially in the second row. After all, it provides 41 inches of second-row legroom, while that same row in the Ascent measures out to just 38.6 inches.

Both vehicles do offer plenty of amenities to help enhance comfort levels, though. These include:

  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • Heated second-row seats
  • Heated steering wheel

Each SUV also comes standard with 3-zone automatic climate control. Forgo keeping the cabin at the same temperature—everyone has a chance to get the interior as warm or cool as they’d like!

Technologies Inside the Highlander vs Ascent

Toyota Highlander TechIf you’re big into tech, you may be happy with either the 2021 Highlander or 2021 Ascent. They both come packed with premium features to help keep you connected and entertained throughout your drives.

For starters, Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™ come standard in each automobile. Plug your phone into the car’s USB port to gain access to your favorite mobile apps—complete simple tasks without touching your phone while driving!

From there, though, the Highlander starts to lead itself from the pack with these features:

  • Standard 8-inch touchscreen
  • Standard Wi-Fi Connect
  • Available Qi-compatible wireless smartphone charging pad

The first two features can be found inside the Ascent, but only when you upgrade to a higher trim level. If you want a wireless phone charger in the Subaru, you’ll unfortunately be out of luck—it’s not offered in any trim level.

2021 Toyota Highlander vs. 2021 Subaru Ascent: Verdict

Between the fuel efficiency and advanced features alone, the Toyota comes out on top in this Highlander vs. Ascent comparison.

Still not sure whether the vehicle would work with your lifestyle around Pensacola or Fort Walton Beach, FL? Don’t hesitate to schedule a test drive. Contact Bob Tyler Toyota, and we’ll get you behind the wheel near Daphne, AL, today!


*EPA-estimated 21 city/29 hwy/24 combined MPG for 2021 Highlander; 20 city/27 hwy/23 combined MPG for 2021 Highlander AWD; 36 city/35 hwy/36 combined MPG for 2021 Highlander Hybrid. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary for many reasons, including your vehicle’s condition and how/where you drive. See www.fueleconomy.gov.