Family-Friendly Showdown – Subaru Ascent vs. Kia Telluride

Are you in the market for a new family-friendly vehicle that offers maximum safety, comfort, and convenience? If so, you’ve probably narrowed it down to two of today’s most popular SUVs – Subaru Ascent vs. Kia Telluride. So, let’s put these cars head-to-head to determine which one is truly the champion of reliable transportation for parents.

While their size is comparable, each vehicle excels in different areas. The Ascent provides a more comfortable third row, while the Telluride offers greater cargo space, accommodating more belongings. Additionally, this SUV boasts better infotainment features as standard and delivers superior performance, which makes Kia the better choice overall. However, that still doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for you – especially if the higher price tag doesn’t fit your budget.

Family SUVs Have Undergone a Meteoric Rise in Recent Years

Family SUVs have become a popular choice among parents and individuals seeking a versatile and spacious vehicle that accommodates the needs of the entire family. When designed into a more compact, crossover body, these vehicles offer a blend of comfort, safety, and practicality. That makes them ideal for road trips through the famous routes in the US as well as daily commutes even through the cities with the worst drivers.

These Vehicles Offer Plenty of Features for a Comfortable Ride

With ample seating capacity, generous cargo space, and advanced safety features, family SUVs prioritize passenger comfort. They also provide ample room for children, belongings, and even your canine companions.

Whether it’s for daily school runs, weekend getaways, or tackling the challenges of everyday life, these vehicles can be a reliable and capable road companion for families of all sizes. Luckily, both Subaru and Kia have tapped into this ever-growing market, and it seems like they’ve understood the assignment quite well.

The Ascent Is the Largest Vehicle in Subaru’s Lineup

Subaru’s flagship family SUV, in certain markets known as the Subaru Evoltis, takes the crown as the largest vehicle ever manufactured by the brand. Making its grand entrance at the prestigious LA Auto Show in November 2017, this four-wheeler is more than a year older than its competitor.

With a successful run spanning five model years, the 2023 Ascent takes the stage with a range of exciting updates, including the introduction of a brand-new trim line called the Onyx Edition Limited. Here’s the newly updated list of trim-level options for this Subaru SUV:

  • Standard,
  • Premium,
  • Onyx Edition,
  • Limited,
  • Onyx Edition Limited,
  • Touring.

The Telluride Is One of the Most Popular Cars Manufactured by Kia

Kia’s Telluride has undeniably taken the automotive world by storm ever since its debut, garnering plenty of awards and popularity even in the used car department. With four model years under its belt, the brand-new 2023 version brought some important changes to the table. Including the introduction of two new trim levels. Here’s the whole lineup:

  • LX,
  • S,
  • EX,
  • EX X-Line,
  • SX,
  • SX X-Line,
  • SX X-Pro,
  • SX Prestige,
  • SX Prestige X-Line,
  • SX Prestige X-Pro.

Serving as a step above the smaller Sorento, this Kia SUV is actually the largest vehicle ever manufactured by the company in the United States. It first made its appearance as a concept car all the way back in 2016, with the production version officially launching in the spring of 2019 as a 2020 model.

Family unloading things in the car
Both four-wheelers have become household names in the family SUV category

Both SUVs Got Refreshed Exterior Styling for the 2023 Model Years

When it comes to exterior style, both of these impressive SUVs bring their own unique aesthetic to the table. The Telluride showcases a bold and commanding presence with its robust lines, muscular proportions, and prominent front grille. Its sleek and modern design is complemented by eye-catching details such as distinctive LED headlights and chrome accents, giving it a touch of sophistication.

On the other hand, the Ascent might have a more understated exterior style. But with an emphasis on practicality and functionality, this SUV boasts clean lines and a streamlined profile that exudes a sense of versatility. Its design reflects Subaru’s signature aesthetics, including a prominent grille, swept-back headlights, and a well-proportioned body. While not as bold as its competitor, this convenient SUV is definitely the more attractive choice for those who prefer a more subtle and timeless design.

Kia Telluride off-road driving
Kia might have a more modern exterior styling, but it all comes down to personal taste

Subaru Ascent vs. Kia Telluride – Who’s Got More Space to Offer?

When it comes to family SUVs, space plays a crucial role in meeting the diverse needs of a growing family. It’s not only about having a comfortable ride. You also need a generous cargo space for accommodating groceries and all other necessities that come with an active family lifestyle. But if you’re planning to use it as a city car, it’s also important that all that space comes in a compact, smart design suitable for fitting even into those tight parking spaces.

Before I go into any more detail about the space usage of these SUVs, here’s an overview of their measurements:

Dimensions2023 Subaru Ascent2023 Kia Telluride
Length196.8 in196.9 in
Width76 in78.3 in
Height71.6 in68.9 in
Wheelbase113.8 in114.2 in
Seating Capacity88
Cargo Space17.8 cu/ft21 cu/ft
*For the metric system, an inch is 25.4 mm

The Measurements Are Pretty Comparable – Here’s What Sets Them Apart

Both of these family SUVs offer seating for up to eight passengers, making them ideal choices for larger families or those who frequently travel with a group. However, the Ascent provides a more spacious third row, allowing your family members to enjoy greater legroom and comfort once they’re seated in the back.

In terms of cargo space, Telluride holds an advantage when all seats are in use. With 21 cubic feet of cargo capacity, it surpasses its competitor, which offers about 17.8 cubic feet for storage. This additional room allows for easier accommodation of luggage, groceries, or other items while still ensuring passenger comfort.

Subaru Ascent display at a dealership
The Ascent offers a more spacious third row but at the expense of cargo space

Kia’s Infotainment System Is Better Equipped Than Its Competitor

The evolution of cars has brought us many technological advancements, and the most obvious upgrade found in modern vehicles is definitely the infotainment system. From user-friendly interfaces to smartphone integration, these features aim to keep drivers and passengers connected, informed, and entertained during their journeys. So, let’s take a closer look at what each of these four-wheelers has in store.

The Infotainment Features of the Subaru Ascent

The interior design of the Subaru SUV stays true to the brand’s signature traits – durable, straightforward, and practical. While it may not exude a particularly luxurious ambiance compared to its competitor, as evident in the abundance of plastic elements surrounding the central touchscreen, it still offers a reliable and long-lasting experience.

Here’s what you get as standard infotainment features:

  • An 11.6-inch touchscreen display,
  • A small LCD,
  • Apple CarPlay,
  • Android Auto,
  • Bluetooth,
  • Four USB ports,
  • Six-speaker audio system,
  • Satellite radio.

The Infotainment Features of the Kia Telluride

If someone would cover the Kia logo on the steering wheel, one could easily mistake the interior of this vehicle for that of a luxurious and expensive German import car. The overall front-heavy layout, reminiscent of modern BMW models, ensures convenient and accessible operation, which is crucial for a comfortable and stress-free ride.

Here are the standard infotainment features of the Telluride:

  • A 12.3-inch touchscreen display,
  • Digital gauge cluster,
  • Apple CarPlay,
  • Android Auto,
  • Wi-Fi hotspot,
  • Bluetooth,
  • Five USB ports,
  • Six-speaker stereo,
  • Satellite radio.
Driving wheel and gauge in a Kia
Kia has a better-equipped offer when it comes to the infotainment system

Both SUVs Have Garnered High Safety Scores Over the Years

Safety is the number one driver’s responsibility – but when choosing a new family car, it becomes a paramount consideration. Luckily, both of these SUVs aim to deliver on these fronts.

Comprehensive safety ratings for the new model years are yet to be published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). However, both vehicles have received favorable scores in previous model years, instilling confidence in their safety capabilities.

These Vehicles Come Equipped With Plenty of Standard Safety Features

From standard rearview cameras to advanced driver-assistance systems, such as forward collision warning, lane-keep assist, and lane-departure warning, these vehicles prioritize proactive safety measures.

Moreover, the Ascent and the Telluride offer a range of optional safety features. For example, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and rear cross-traffic alert provide additional layers of protection and peace of mind for families on the road.

Father fastening his baby in a car seat
Safety is of utmost importance when choosing your new family car

Kia Telluride vs. Subaru Ascent – Engine Power and Fuel Economy

Sure, performance may not be the primary consideration when choosing a family car. However, certain factors, such as fuel economy and towing capacity, can definitely impact the decision-making process. Especially for families that engage in outdoor adventures and require the ability to tow trailers, boats, or other equipment.

Before I get into a more detailed comparison of these aspects, here’s a brief overview of the main performance specifications of the four-wheelers in question:

Performance Aspect2023 Subaru Ascent2023 Kia Telluride
Type of Engine2.4L 4-cyl Turbocharged3.8L V6
Horsepower260hp at 5,600 rpm291 hp at 6,000 rpm
Torque277 ft/lbs at 2,000 rpm262 ft/lbs at 5,200 rpm
DrivetrainAWDFWD, AWD
TransmissionCVT8-Speed Automatic
Fuel Economy20/26/22 mpg20/26/23 mpg

Now, let’s take these family SUVs into a head-to-head comparison in a few important performance categories:

Engine Power

Both SUVs offer a single-engine option – the Telluride comes equipped with a 3.8-liter V6 engine, while the Ascent features a 2.4-liter boxer-four engine. As you’d expect, Kia’s powertrain outperforms in this category, delivering an impressive 291 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque.

However, there’s one thing I should mention. While the Subaru has a lower horsepower figure, it compensates with a substantial amount of torque, peaking at 2,000 rpm and maintaining it until 4.800 rpm.

Towing Capacity

Both SUVs boast a maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds, providing ample capacity for hauling trailers, boats, or other recreational equipment. This is definitely good news for anyone who’s in search of a family vehicle that can handle various towing needs with ease.

Fuel Economy

When it comes to fuel economy, Subaru holds a slight edge when compared to its Korean competitor. The top trims, including the Onyx, achieve fuel efficiency ratings of 20 mpg in the city, 26 mpg on the highway, and 22 mpg combined. While the difference may be relatively small, it could become a crucial factor for those looking to cut down on car expenses.

The Subaru Is Easier on the Wallet Across All Trim Levels

With today’s high car prices, the upfront cost of a vehicle is becoming a common deal-breaker, especially for families in need of a new four-wheeler. In this department, Ascent presents an appealing advantage. With the starting price of about $34,000, it’s a few thousand dollars more affordable compared to its counterpart, and the situation doesn’t change as you go to higher trim levels.

Kia Is the Overall Better Choice – But Is It the Right Choice for You Specifically?

To sum it up, both of these family SUVs are great choices for those looking for a large car that can fit all of their needs and loved ones. You might be tempted to cut it short and declare Kia as the ultimate choice, but the truth is that both of these vehicles have their key advantages. It’s up to you to decide which one meets your needs and fits into your budget best. Stay safe on the road!