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Discussion Starter #1
My wife and I are going on some follow up test-rides tomorrow at a Subaru dealer. We’re deciding between the Outback and the Ascent, in Premium or Limited trim.

The vehicle will primarily be for her, plus use it for family vacations. She presently drives a 13 year old Honda Odyssey. I have an Accord.

We’re a family of 3, plus 2 dogs. Live in NJ.

I’m way more of a car person than she is. I want to make the most of our morning of car shopping.

Pretty sure she prefers the Ascent, for the greater size for people and stuff, and higher ride height, greater power and refinement. Plus closer in size to what she has now.

I prefer the Outback for lower cost, better mpg, better handling, takes up less space in the garage, and because we simply don’t need a 7-8 passenger vesicles 95+% of the time.

We’re also weighing getting the Limited, largely due to the better headlights though I like most of the other perks as well, verses the Premium with the cloth interior we actually prefer.

Advice? Other criteria to be on the lookout for? Thanks!
 

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2020 Outback Onyx XT
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How old is your kid? Do you plan on having more?

My friend has the Ascent. He was looking at the Outback on my prompting but found out they were having twins. The OB, while it has larger cargo capacity than other CUVs, having two kids, their stuff like strollers AND grand parents kinda made the Ascent the obvious choice.

I like the OB over the Ascent for the more manageable dimensions and not really requiring the third row.

If you keep the third row in the Ascent folded most of the time, you may as well go for the OB. Otherwise, get the Ascent.
 

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2020 Subaru Outback Limited
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Go for the Ascent in Limited trim. I have both, a 2019 Ascent Limited and a 2020 Outback Limited. They are both great cars but for your situation as you described it would be an easy decision to go with the Ascent. Size wise they are pretty close in dimensions. Most of the difference in passenger space comes from the additional height of the Ascent. The headlights on both are fantastic! It makes driving at night far less stressful. They both handle well but the edge does go to the Outback mainly from the lower center of gravity. The Ascent offers a lot more versatile for not much more money. When it comes time to replace your Accord you can take a closer look at the Outback.

For reference I also owned a 2012 Odyssey and a 2017 Honda Pilot. If the Ascent was available when I bought the Pilot I would have bought it instead. It is a much better vehicle. We are a family of 2 with one dog and the Ascent is the vehicle of choice for trips.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Our daughter is 13. No plans for another.

Only 1 time in the last yr did we fully fill the Odyssey. It was for her birthday party.

Maybe we would fill the Ascent if she goes away to college

I’m 57, 8 or so years from retirement. My wife is 42.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
My math is that comparably equipped there’s about a $6,000 price difference.

7 or so better mpg in OB.
 

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2002 Pair: 3.0 VDC Wag & 2.5 Limited Sedan
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are you shopping 2.4Turbo outbacks ? or 2.5 plain ones. ?

as the ascent only comes in 2.4Turbo.

and a good dealer might actually give you a top end cloth one: by swapping seat covers. or letting you special order.
(I once worked with a guy that had a lexus rx300 in cloth, ordered from the factory = vegetarian edition).
 

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If you compare the Ascent Limited $39,345 to the Outback Limited XT $37,745 (same engine) the price difference is much closer.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hey Rudy I understand now why you said the prices were so close.

If buying the OB we’d likely stick with the base engine. I took it on a test ride last week and it felt smooth and refined. I’m sure the turbo is even nicer but the base engine was fine. And I value the smaller carbon footprint.

Does that influence your recommendation?
 

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The vehicle will primarily be for her, plus use it for family vacations. She presently drives a 13 year old Honda Odyssey. I have an Accord.

Our daughter is 13. No plans for another.
She might want the front-view camera, which the Ascent has, and the Outback only on certain trims.

2007 Honda Odyssey is 77.1" wide, 201" long

2020 Subaru Outback is 73" wide, 191.3" long

2020 Subaru Ascent is 76" wide, 196.8" long

Even if you get the Ascent, it's not larger than the Odyssey, so she should have no trouble driving it. If she wants to downsize the Outback is perfect, but if she wants to retain similar interior space, the Ascent would be the one.
 

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Hey Rudy I understand now why you said the prices were so close.

If buying the OB we’d likely stick with the base engine. I took it on a test ride last week and it felt smooth and refined. I’m sure the turbo is even nicer but the base engine was fine. And I value the smaller carbon footprint.

Does that influence your recommendation?
I am also fine with the base engine in the Outback but I would not change my recommendation. It is nice to have one vehicle with additional space.

No matter what is discussed here it really comes down to whatever your wife likes best. Since she is going drive it the most let her decide. Your goal should be keeping her happy.
 

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I am also fine with the base engine in the Outback but I would not change my recommendation. It is nice to have one vehicle with additional space.
The turbo wasn't available when we bought the 2019, and I'm happy with the base engine, but if I had been given a choice back then I would have been more likely to pick the turbo than I was the six. I think turbos offer a lot of advantages over moving up in engine size. Upgrading engine choice a lot closer call now, IMHO.

This is sort of a strange question to me though because the two vehicles are so different (except sharing an engine choice and brand name). One is a station wagon and one is an SUV. Personally I'd go for the smaller vehicle, but that's because I seldom need to haul around more than four people. And we have two trucks for when the conditions are really bad.

And yes, keeping the wife happy is the most important thing. It's her choice!
 

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2020 OB Limited, Titanium & Magnetite Grays
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I am starting to enjoy the mpg in our 2.5L Outback. For you I would ask how often are the two dogs going with the full family. The roof can carry more but all is limited to 150 lbs, Once in a while it is OK but the mpg drops a lot. Also consider the Ascent only comes with the turbo. I would say the two dogs is the wild card in the decision.
 

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If she is used to driving an Odyssey she might feel cramped in an OB. The Ascent is closer in size to what she has been driving.
 

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Coming from a 2012 Odyssey with 141,000 nearly flawless miles, we wanted a Subaru for the starlink safety features that are similar to homelink. Honda only offers that on touring and elite trims, and not at all on the CRV, whereas Subaru offers that on premium and above. Ascent was first choice for its size being closest to the Odyssey, but we ended up with the outback because the cargo area behind the second row is only 7” shorter than the ascent, plus the 2.5 seems to be more reliable than the turbo in the ascent and outback xt. Ultimately the higher cost and lower mileage of the ascent didn’t seem worth it to gain 7” of cargo depth. After 25K miles of traveling in the Outback, we’re happy with our choice, especially mileage around 31 compared to 25 in our Odyssey and probably less as reported by most in the ascent. We’re just a family of two. For your larger family, if you’re set on AWD Subaru is hard to beat so I’d get the ascent. If you don’t need AWD I’d get another Odyssey: more space, higher mileage, and cheaper than the ascent. Happy shopping.
 

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Not sure what part of NJ you're at, but just got an outback at Ramsey Subaru, and they got me a great deal. Wayne is also willing to move.
 

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Hey Rudy I understand now why you said the prices were so close.

If buying the OB we’d likely stick with the base engine. I took it on a test ride last week and it felt smooth and refined. I’m sure the turbo is even nicer but the base engine was fine. And I value the smaller carbon footprint.

Does that influence your recommendation?
I had a Ascent for a year before I got rid of it for a new Forester. I really did not need the space, but more importantly for me the Ascent felt cheap inside and did feel as tied down (build quality) as the Forester. I also had some transmission weirdness. I needed up with a Forester Touring for the same price as a Ascent premium
 

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We cross-shopped the two and my wife was initially leaning toward the Ascent, but then we test-drove them back to back and the Onyx Outback just felt more nimble and refined. We didn't need the third row, and with it folded, there just wasn't that much more cargo room in the Ascent, so we went with the Outback. But we also have a Toyota Sienna when we need to haul a big load, so max cargo space wasn't critical for us.
 

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2019 Ascent Touring (me) 2016 Outback 2.5i Limited with EyeSight (Spouse's Vehicle) 2011 Outback 2.5i Limited (daughter's ride)
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The bottom line here is always to go with what your spouse wants to drive... ;)

It's true that the Outback is more economical to drive than the Ascent. I can pull 30-31 mpg on the highway with Professor Dr. SWMBO's MY16 Outback Limited with Eyesight no problem. I average about 27 under the same conditions with my Ascent. But like your spouse, I prefer the larger vehicle...ride height, more upright seating position, etc., is more comfortable for me traveling. (And I've done four Florida round trips since taking delivery last May) With teens and their friends, the larger vehicle may also serve better if your spouse will be driving them around frequently. Out daughters are older (20 and 24 respectively) and if for some reason we are actually going someplace as a foursome, it's in the Ascent. One daughter is, um...a large woman...and that makes the second row in the Outback a little less comfortable. Of course, I could also be very happy in an Outback...great vehicle and current generations are pretty darn comfortable for me outside of my legs being bent a little more. So either choice will be good and it will likely come down to the actual driver's preference after driving both.
 
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