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Toyota vs Subaru


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My son is thinking of buying a Toyota Highlander Hybrid LE with 4 wheel drive, I suggested he consider a Subaru Ascent instead.  He lives in Walpole, MA and travels in New England and to Syracuse, so a 4 wheel drive vehicle is what he prefers.

Which of the above model cars would you recommended based on the Hybrid's 4 wheel drive system vs the All Wheel Drive Ascent and potential for mechanical problems as the cars age?


4 Answers

Don't get the Subaru Ascent. It may have been out for a while but a turbocharged 4 cylinder with a CVT in a 4000 lbs+ SUV will not hold up over time.  Have you considered a car that's on  a RWD platform?


Subaru Ascent

Horrible car. So many issues, everything from the powertrain to the electronics is not built well enough.

Toyota Highlander Hybrid LE

Much better, pretty solid car.

with 4 wheel drive

Are you sure?

potential for mechanical problems as the cars age

The Toyota will eventually have the batteries wear out but other then that, eCVT (very well built, it only has 2 electric motors inside so also super reliable), and the proven 2.5L port and direct injected DynamicForce engine from the Camry - it's built well.

the Subaru has a conventional CVT from a Legacy trying to pull a heavy car - which is bad in of it self, and then there's the turbocharged direct injected with tons of boost and a questionable build quality.

Definitely go Highlander Hybrid (it's also way better than the petrol highlander)


If you were looking at smaller vehicles something like the Outback might be one to consider, but I would not go for the Ascent. It's too large for a turbocharged 4-cylinder working through a CVT, at least if you are expecting any kind of longevity. (In fact the Ascent had a lot of transmission problems early on and I still wouldn't trust it.)


I would go with a corolla cross AWD. Good ground clearance, mpg, reliable, and with good winter tires will do really well in winter.

I drive in nasty upstate New york winter with my old 05 matrix awd and it does great, I would love a little extra ground clearance though, and the newer toyota awd system is better.