Kia Telluride vs. Subaru Ascent | 2020 SUV Comparison Test

Kia Telluride vs. Subaru Ascent | 2020 SUV Comparison Test

have a growing family, there’s a really good
chance you’re looking at mid-sized three row SUVs. Subaru got back into the
segment with this, the Ascent. It’s a strong choice in
a very competitive class. But it’s not our top pick. The Ascent maintains
Subaru’s tradition of letting outward
bound families get off the beaten path. We’re here to show
you where it shines, as well as where it could
use a little improvement against our favorite,
the Kia Telluride. [MUSIC PLAYING] ELANA SCHERR: Oh, man, I
thought I was your favorite. MARK TAKAHASHI: On paper,
both SUVs are very similar. Both start right at $33,000
and remain comparably priced up to these top trims, that cost
about $45 grand before options. The Telluride Grand is estimated
at 21 miles per gallon, barely edged out by the
Ascent’s 22 miles per gallon. Both have a long list of
advanced safety features and get similarly high safety
scores from NHTSA and IIHS too. ELANA SCHERR: The Telluride
has a horsepower advantage, but the Ascent has more torque. So we’ll call that
basically even. That’s confirmed by
our test results, where the Ascent was a tenth
quicker to 60 miles per hour, but the Telluride crossed
the quarter mile 3/10 ahead. If you’re concerned
about towing, well, that is dead even
between them, at 5,000 pounds, when properly equipped. MARK TAKAHASHI:
Here at Edmunds, we test over 300 vehicles a year
at our private test track, as well as real world
evaluations on public roads. As close as these vehicle
specs are to each other, you’d expect them to be tied
for first place in our rankings. Instead, the Ascent
trails in a number of areas, which are
best demonstrated with more than graphics. [MUSIC PLAYING] Elana, we spent a lot of
time with both vehicles. What do you think of the Ascent? ELANA SCHERR: Well,
I am a Subaru fan. I just, I’ve always
liked the brand. I think it has a good vibe,
and I can picture the engineers really wanting people to go
out in their cars and have fun. The Ascent is a turbo four
instead of the more classic six. But it is not slow
or underpowered. I would say maybe that it’s
a little, is unrefined fair? MARK TAKAHASHI: That’s
a fair statement. ELANA SCHERR: Yeah. In fairness, it’s only
compared to the Telluride, which is smooth. MARK TAKAHASHI: Agreed, totally. [MUSIC PLAYING] ELANA SCHERR: I kind of liked
the Subaru’s rugged ride quality, but I know that you,
fancy Mark, had some quibbles. MARK TAKAHASHI: I wish there
was a little more extension from that steering
column, because as it is, I have to slide my
seat just a little further forward than I prefer. Then there are the
seats themselves. They’re oddly cushioned. A little too squishy on top. And oddly, too firm below that. The biggest difference between
the two though is noise. You hear a lot more road and
engine noise in the Subaru than you do with the Kia. [ENGINE RACING] ELANA SCHERR: That’s
what the radio’s for, you just turn it up. MARK TAKAHASHI: Fair enough. ELANA SCHERR: I mean,
speaking of infotainment. [MUSIC PLAYING] I really liked the dual
screen setup in the Ascent. I mean, I like the
way that it looked. Usability, on the other
hand, it’s not great. Controls are all over the place. I mean, there’s like
controls on the ceiling, and it is not intuitive at all. MARK TAKAHASHI: The
Telluride’s infotainment gets high marks for its
inclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We also like that it
has plenty of USB ports that are well-placed. The screen resolution
is very sharp, and its responses
are very quick. Furthermore, the
menus are logically laid out and easy
to use without ever having to consult a manual. ELANA SCHERR: A
bigger complaint might be that compared
to the Telluride, the Ascent is a
big three-row SUV, but it doesn’t have
that much space. [MUSIC PLAYING] Like the backseat,
the third row, you cannot put
adults back there. And really, it’s not that
comfortable for kids either. It’s also a little bit difficult
to get those seats up and down. It’s like a multi-step process. So again, little stuff that just
makes it slightly less useful. MARK TAKAHASHI: The
good thing, though, is that the Ascent has
19 cup holders, which Subaru was so proud to tout
when they introduced it. Now that seems a
little excessive for a vehicle that can
only seat eight passengers, but those cup holders
are grouped together so you can put much
larger objects in them. ELANA SCHERR: Yeah,
I did actually think that the Subaru
had better small item storage than the Telluride. MARK TAKAHASHI:
Yeah, marginally. Now none of these
drawbacks for the Subaru are so critical that we
consider them deal breakers. Collectively though, they
subtract just enough points to drop it down to seventh
place in our rankings. ELANA SCHERR: It’s kind of
a death by 1,000 cuts thing. MARK TAKAHASHI:
Yeah, totally agree. ELANA SCHERR: Especially
when the Telluride just keeps pulling ahead in
rankings, no matter what we compare it to. I mean, some of that is
that it has like a longer warranty and more cargo space. Compared to the
Ascent, the Telluride has 3.4 cubic feet
more cargo room, which is about the size
of a medium suitcase or like a Cocker
Spaniel, depending on how it is that you measure size. You know which one I would pick. MARK TAKAHASHI: Yes,
I do, The suitcase. ELANA SCHERR: And this is
subjective, but style-wise, inside and out, the
Telluride looks great. The materials look
really expensive. And outside, it’s
just the perfect mix of kind of like elegance and
truckiness, so it looks tough, but it also looks fancy. I just took it on a road trip
and never in all my years of driving have I ever got
a thumbs up from someone on the highway while
driving an SUV. It happened twice
in the Telluride. At one point, I pulled
into a racetrack and the security guard
was like, what is it. And he wanted to look at it,
and I had to open the windows and let him look inside. And to quote him after
he had checked it out, Kia is stepping it up. MARK TAKAHASHI: Well,
it makes perfect sense that the Telluride had a
waiting list for shoppers for its first year
of production. As close as the
performance specs are between the
Subaru and the Kia, the Telluride simply is
a better SUV to drive. It gathers speed more smoothly. That standard V6 sounds
great doing it too. ELANA SCHERR: Yeah,
it is little things, but they all add up to make
the Kia feel really special. And you add that to the
fact that it will also do all the day-to-day business
things that you need it to do, and you have just a
really great vehicle. MARK TAKAHASHI: Agreed. It’s abundantly clear that
the Kia Telluride deserves its top spot among SUVs. For the same price as rivals,
it exceeds expectations. The Ascent, on the other
hand, meets expectations, but it is a big step
in the right direction. Even if the Telluride
didn’t exist, it would still have to contend
with the likes of the Honda Pilot, the Hyundai Palisade, the
Volkswagen Atlas and the Mazda CX9, all of which got
higher Edmunds rankings. ELANA SCHERR: Yeah,
this is a busy segment, which makes it that
much more impressive that the Telluride came in
and went straight to the top. MARK TAKAHASHI: Indeed. Let us know what you think
in the comments below. For more information on the
Ascent or the Telluride, head on over to That’s edmunds. ELANA SCHERR: Dot com.

84 thoughts on “Kia Telluride vs. Subaru Ascent | 2020 SUV Comparison Test

  1. Kia hands down

  2. What else would you put up against the Kia Telluride?

    Read more about the 2020 Kia Telluride ( and the 2020 Subaru Ascent (

  3. I am buying a 3 row this year (the van will go to my kids). After looking at a number of them the best are the Telluride and Pallisade. Objectively the Palisade is the better value as it offers more (Digital IP, power 3rd row, 3 years of maintenance, etc.) and you can get it under MSRP. If by June I can't get a Telluride for near invoice I'll be going with the Palisade. Atlas is decent but not as good. Cx-9 is more fun but smaller and has less value for money. If the Pacifica AWD/redesign was available that would also be a contender.

  4. Any windshield issues with the Ascent?

  5. I have a 2018 Subaru Forester and love it. But in 2019 they changed to that weird infotainment center, which I tried out of curiosity and hated. As for noise, my Forester is really quiet to me, but then the vehicle that I had before this one was a Jeep, so anything is quiet compared to a Jeep. I rode in a friend’s Explorer not long ago and it was much quieter than my Forester.

  6. I think the Telluride beats its main competitors (new Highlander, Pilot, Atlas, Traverse, Pathfinder, CX-9, Ascent obviously, etc.) in almost all the key comparison metrics. It seems very well rounded with regards to passenger and cargo space, safety and tech amenities, near luxury seating surfaces and interior trim pieces, powertrain performance, driving and handling, and overall build quality.

  7. Volvo XC90 is best suv world

  8. Does SUV drivers go "off road"? Where I drive, we try to stay on the road.

  9. Please put the Toyota Highlander up for a comparison!

  10. This comparison literally popped into my head today. Glad to see them duel it out!

  11. I'd buy the TOYOTA 4RUNNER! Proven, built in Japan.

  12. Numbers are just that, numbers. How does the vehicle feel and make you feel when you drive it. Intangibles are as important as tangibles. After dealing with and listening to the 6.5" Starlink in my WRX, the Starlink system is a valid deal breaker. Telluride-S or CX-9 for us when the time comes (or Wrangler Sport 4-door if my wife gets her wish 😔)

  13. Subaru has much better resale value and long track record

  14. Sadly I don't need to even watch this to tell you which vehicle is the better SUV KIA all day long

  15. Saw a AssEnt nest to me today. Fugly as can be. Looks like a plain and over inflated forester. Had others with me and they too hated the look of it. Think Subaru still believes it is 2012.. Flush that turd. 🐂💩

  16. If the Telluride had 39 more hp I would take it over a Audi q7 please Kia this car needs a little more pony's

  17. The only thing that hurts the Telluride is obviously AVAILABILITY! You can not find a SX Trim anywhere!

  18. The way i see it is, your either a snowflake so u automatically buy the subaru or your a dumb sheep that believes all this reviewers which are more like commercials and you buy the POS kia. If ur smart u stick to honda or toyota if u have more money and truly american you buy the explorer.. thats just my opinion though

  19. Kia hit a Homerun with the Telluride!

  20. The Pallisade is much better than the Kia.

  21. The winner???? Elana Scherr!!! 🙂

  22. 5:54
    BMW has places to go…

  23. I really enjoyed that review…

  24. Join the respective forums and become informed

  25. What about off-road? I would guess that people are drawn to the Ascent for the symmetrical AWD.

  26. CVT in Subaru, Auto in Kia… Auto better, therefore Kia. Too easy… send me a check.

  27. finally someone who compared these two

  28. When I think of Subaru, I think full time 4 wheel drive. When you compare SUVs with Subaru I would expect a comparison of their 4 wheel drive systems yet you didn't mention this at all.

  29. No doubt the Telluride is king!

  30. In Northwestern Ontario (Central Canada for those who don’t know where that is) the Telluride starts at $48000 which is similar (but still a few thousand more) then the Ford explorer, vw atlas, GMC Acadia, and Toyota hylander. The Ascent starts at $39000 which is more then only the Kia Sorento, Mitsubishi outlander and within a $1000 of the traverse, Palisade, Pilot, vw Tiguan, and pathfinder and better equipt and roomier then all of them. I’m not seeing how people are saying the Telluride is in the same price range. It’s $9000 more then 75% of third row SUVs in its supposed class. Are the prices really that much cheaper in the USA then in Canada?

  31. KIA all the way

  32. Subaru seats have been a disaster for years.
    And I'm speaking as a Subaru fan and owner.
    The lumbar support is overly-aggressive and hits in the middle of your back.

  33. Why are Subarus so ugly

  34. I think they should star making real SUVs again instead of this big cars they call SUVs with short suspension travel
    That cant really go offroad.

  35. What’s the space like in the Telluride third row? Mostly for kids and small adults?

  36. We LOVE Subaru’s and DO take ours off road and I mean off road I’m not a fan of this model of Subaru though. I wouldn’t buy a new Subaru because of the CVT, I’ll stick to the older Subaru’s. Sadly these test seem come down to which car has the most USB ports and the biggest information center. Most of these types of vehicles NEVER carry more then two people and they about status nothing else.

  37. $10k DEALER MARKUP!!! Not worth it.

  38. I choose kia

  39. These two sound like they’re reading a generic script instead of their own thoughts.

  40. She likes Subaru because it's a brand that has a good vibe? And she can picture them wanting people to care about their vehicles?


  41. Keep this up and one day "but it's a Kia" will be a complement

  42. I don't like either but for God's sake, buy the KIA. At least you have a V6 engine that wont blow headgaskets like its a bodily function. 2:48 hear that? Thats the gutless overworked problematic powertrain of the Subaru struggling to motivate that big turd.

  43. I will not buy a Subaru as long as it has a CVT. They suck and are noisy.

  44. Subaru has lost its mojo, my understanding was that typically they have great seats and great ride (I have a '17 Outback and both are better than my '09 Mercedes GL 320 CDI which rides on air suspension). How do they compare off road though? Typically Subaru s are a good half way point between SUV and an actual 4×4.

  45. Well, The looks is more subjective … Not everyone like the looks of Telluride or Ascent. If you compare the sales figures, Ascent sold about 80K and growing and for Telluride 60k and growing. Meaning there no true winner here. As long as the owner are happy and enjoy owning it. That the winner!

  46. Surprising, the Subaru longevity is a major factor for my vote, Kia long term track record can't touch a Subaru. I'd like to see the difference in snow traction, I have yet to drive a better AWD system than Subaru, with that said I wouldn't buy one because it's too large of a vehicle for a turbo four with a cvt. When they stopped the H6, I stopped buying out backs. I thought going to the larger SUV would have brought a new generation H6 back, but to my disappoint, it did not. I'll stick with my 3.6R outback for another 200,000 miles and keep loving it here in the northeast, no better car made for here than a Subaru, bring back a real transmission and a H6 and I'll stay ah customer

  47. Telluride or Palisade by a mile over the competition. They are the class leader. This was like when the Civic came out in 2015 and went the competition scrambling. Onky the Telluride is attractive

  48. Brought to you by Kia.

  49. Can you compare the AWD on both SUVs?

  50. The main difference I find in Korean companies vs. Japanese/European companies is that Koreans hire other nationalities in the local markets to figure out what they need and the higher-ups listen to them. It's a pragmatic/utilitarian/empirical issue. The Japanese/European on the other hand have always had a disconnection between the realities of the local markets and what they think of the markets. The VW Atlas is a great car, but it shows an example of what VW thinks of Americans: Oversized folks that don't mind paying a lot for cheap feeling things but do like having boxy SUVs. A caricature of atypical American is "a Big dude wearing a Gallon cowboy hat, talking loudly over the audio while munching on a huge hamburger with sauce dripping from his chin." They do the same for markets like Russia, China, South East Asia, India, South/Central America, etc. In the case of North America, at least, Hyundai and Kia are being different.

  51. kia is stepping it up for sure ! and no head gasket problems either ! lol

  52. Definitely Kia hands down~~~

  53. I get 24 mpg city in my AWD Telluride . I’ve heard others say they get 28 mpg highway I realize mpg varies with AWD generally lower than fwd but I think it’s reasonable to say Telluride gets much better than the listed mpg

  54. 😂 if you live in Colorado please get the Kia I always love seeing customers coming in to trade their Kias and being tanked 15k

  55. Now if we could get the Kia dealership experience together maybe I could buy one

  56. I’ve owned my telluride since July, and I love it. So quiet, has a great sound system, and has tons of storage. Depending on what drive mode you’re in, I’ve gotten up to 29 mpg.

  57. You guys are always biased against Subaru even though you say you are Subaru fan. I test drove both the cars and bought ascent touring. Telluride is no where to find as smooth you mentioned. The only point I think it’s automatic transmission so shifting is good. But ascent CVT is well tuned and power is always available on low rpm. Kia I had to floor the gas pedal all the way down to get that power. You showed noise is ascent but did not show the same in Kia.

  58. So I guess you could call me a Subaru fanboy (currently own an Outback, have owned 3 total), but I don't know why anyone would choose the Ascent over the Telluride. I'm the first to admit that Subaru these days is really falling behind the competition. They are not as refined, not as comfortable, not as reliable, have absolutely horrible electronic interfaces, compared to the competition. I like the image of a Subaru (more outdoorsy, a lifestyle, AWD), but there are much better choices in the market.

  59. This was a review. Maybe reconsider your jobs because this fell short of truly comparing the SUV's. Seem like Kia actually did this review.

  60. Telluride v Passport

  61. I love my Ascent! When I think of Kia I think of cheap and disposable… I’d like to know how the Kia will do once it’s been on the road for 100k miles…

  62. Ummm, no mention of performance on snow, ice, hazardous road conditions, off-roading?…really?? That's what puts Subaru in a class of its own basically to the competition. Not a very inticing comparison 😁

  63. Drove a Telluride yesterday. I cant believe how well it drove. It felt so small behind the wheel. Like you are driving a sedan not a large SUV

  64. say whatever you like but at the end of the day, if i am stuck in the snowstorm on top of the mountainous road, I much rather be in a Subaru than a Kia. Kia seems to be a better choice for people who frequent shopping malls and enjoy getting a thumbs-up while they are driving on the freeway.

  65. For the cost I found Subaru Ascent gives me better value for money.

    Except for the engine noise, I found car to have everything I need and no lack of power.

    I went to KIA dealership and found that one to one comparison, Telluride is much more expensive.

    If not for Ascent, I would have bought Toyota Highlander instead.

  66. Telluride all day!

  67. It's still a Kia. Check back in on the car at 100k miles and see how that structure is holding up

  68. I live in a state where people are very active outdoors, though don’t know many if any ever driving off-road. Manufacturers always advertise these off-road capabilities, though the majority of buyers care about all the things offered in the Telluride…

  69. Telluride for me. looks great and has a big engine!

  70. Did KIA pay you ha ha just kidding!

  71. 10 yr/ 100k warranty alone on Kia is a huge win

  72. Horribly done comparison.. wake me up when it’s over.

  73. Now the name Kia sounds premium. Job well done Kia!

  74. Kia Telluride. What a brilliant car has Kia made 😍😍😍😍😍😍

  75. To bad the KIA won't hold value and the reliability its there. How many older KIA s do you see, um hardy any. In fact none where I live.

  76. I am trying to get a Kia Telluride before dealerships jack up the price too much.

  77. Subaru Ascent against Kia Telluride?? I don't even need to watch this video. Telluride is generations ahead of Ascent, no matter how you look at it. It's not even a competition.

  78. Love the comparison car reviews! Keep them up!

  79. Consumer Reports lists it as #1 in the "Midsized sport-utility vehicles" section with a 92 score.

  80. really dont like the kia’s headlights/taillights

  81. I'm so pissed that Kia doesn't offer this vehicle in Korea…

  82. Going offroad the Ascent has a much better traction system than the Telluride. The weak link in the Ascent offroad is the CVT, and in our testing the Telluride it struggles to transfer power side to side to the point that we had to take easier lines that don't lift wheels. Anywhere else the Telluride was the better vehicle in our testing. There is a reason the Telluride keeps winning comparisons and awards.

  83. Shopped them both extensively, both in the same price range as configured, $46-$50k as optioned, both available in my market, at the time. Subaru Ascent Touring/Towing and SX with Prestige Package/Towing. While I liked both, in the end, I went with the Ascent. I just wasn't a fan of the Telluride seats. I drive a lot and long drives concern me. That's just me though, I am about 5'10", 170 lbs. I LOVED the vehicle overall, especially the tech. But, I was also concerned about projected resale. And why can't they have an exhaust system that looks balanced?? Am I OCD? The visual symmetry is just thrown off with the exhaust on one side. I also found the Ascent's AWD system better too. That being said, long-term the Ascent will be my wife's vehicle. She liked it a lot more than the Kia and In 3 more years, I will be looking at something else. Possibly the new 4Runner, or another Subaru?? The Telluride is a great vehicle, just needs the resale to catch up with the others. We sell our vehicles after we drive them for about 8 years so that difference is money that I can put to better use, rather than just getting eaten up by the Kia badge. If that happens, I may be back to the Kia dealership in 2022. I just can't see paying $50k for a vehicle that could lose 30% of its value almost overnight. There are also concerns with Kia's long term paint/finish durability. But, a GREAT vehicle, nonetheless. Say what you will about Subaru, and the comparisons, but brands like Subaru retain quite a bit of their value, even after 5-6 yrs. We recently sold our 2003 Honda Pilot, which I bought new in June 2002, for $7,500. When I started shopping, I also looked at Sorrento's. Brand new, completely loaded SX's were being sold in the Chicago market for $10k-$12k under MSRP. You won't see many Highlanders, Outbacks or Pilots being discounted like that off the lot. Also, regardless of what the video reviews claim, it's a Kia, and it feels like a Kia. The thing is, Kia's aren't that bad. The K900 and Stinger's are awesome vehicles. But, don't expect it to drive like an X5 or Cayenne regardless of what they tell you. If they had all labeling off you would still know you are in a Kia vs any of the higher-end SUV's. It's just such a good value right now compared with the Japanese or domestic offerings. Now the Genesis GV80…that may be a game-changer.

  84. The Telluride looks just like a Volvo XC90 not an original design at all so 😢

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