Insights that Echo Beyond the Echo Chamber


2024 Honda Pilot vs. 2024 Subaru Ascent Comparison

When it comes to reliability and capability in an SUV, it’s tough not to look straight to the 2024 Honda Pilot and 2024 Subaru Ascent.

The 2024 Honda Pilot looks like an off-road beast, especially in TrailSport trim. While the Subaru Ascent looks a bit less rugged, it’s certainly every bit as capable of handling harsh driving conditions, on the road or off.

Let’s see how these popular midsize 3-row SUVs match up.

2024 Honda Pilot

Honda gave the Pilot a major makeover in 2023 because it needed to compete more effectively with other more rough-and-tumble 3-row SUVs. While the 2024 Pilot still excels at soccer duties, it’s now better at venturing into the great beyond to enjoy nature’s beauty. The best-equipped trim package for that is the TrailSport edition, featuring steel skid plates, an extra inch of ground clearance, and a TrailWatch Camera System that helps this 3-row Honda SUV better navigate trails with lots of rocks and roots. The TrailSport also benefits from special software designed to improve performance over challenging terrain.

However, not everyone is looking to take to the great outdoors. Some SUV owners are looking for a roomy, comfortable place to be while getting around town. To that end, Honda has stiffened the chassis and updated the suspension and steering to improve agility. Pricing for the Pilot starts at $37,090.

Honda Pilot Highlights

Ready to escape: The top entry of Honda’s SUV lineup is the TrailSport. With its 285-horsepower V6 engine, it’s capable of towing 5,000 pounds. Honda says that’s good enough for a 24-foot camper or a 22-foot boat. The Ascent can match that in all but its Base trim.

Plenty of room: If you’re driving a 3-row SUV, you’re looking for as much seating as you can get, and the Pilot provides that with room for eight passengers. Second-row captain’s chairs come standard in the TrailSport, which lowers passenger capacity by one. This configuration is more common throughout the Ascent’s range.

Safe space: While Honda has made the Pilot more capable off-road, it’s also safer. The Honda Sensing Suite comes standard on the Pilot. It features a slew of advanced driver safety technology, including Traffic Jam Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, as well as available blind-spot information and parking sensors with low-speed braking control. Subaru’s EyeSight has many of the same technologies, plus automatic emergency steering, which will steer the Ascent away from a potential collision if there’s room in the adjacent lane.

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the Pilot models for sale near you.

2024 Subaru Ascent

2024 Subaru Ascent

Let’s cut to the chase: People love Subaru. Even people who don’t buy Subies look at them like cute dogs on someone else’s leash. However, those who buy the brand tend to stick with it for a long time. The Ascent, which seats eight people, gave those stuck in a Forester a place to go after they outgrew that smaller ute.

Most SUVs — the Honda Pilot now included — look the part: a rectangle on wheels. However, the Ascent plays to its brand strength — capability — but with a soft and rounded exterior. Additionally, the 2024 Ascent features eight trim levels, and AWD is standard on each. Subaru cars are seen as safe vehicles, and Ascent lives up to that perception: It has secured a Top Safety Pick+ designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Pricing for the Ascent starts at $34,195.

Subaru Ascent Highlights

Ready to rumble: The Ascent isn’t the fastest or biggest midsize SUV, but it answers the call when road conditions get bad. With standard AWD and plenty of ground clearance, it’s ready to go in rain or shine — and especially snow. Despite its more sedate appearance, it boasts nearly 1.5 inches of extra ground clearance.

No sounds of silence: The cabin of the Ascent is comfortable and roomy, with plenty of technology that makes you a better driver while also making it easier to enjoy the infotainment technology. The available Harman Kardon sound system and its 13 speakers and subwoofer pump out 792 watts of clear, crisp sound. Honda’s no stranger to premium sound systems but offers multi-zone audio, allowing the driver to isolate which speakers have output.

Safety first: The Ascent is a safe vehicle. With a 5-Star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and a Top Safety Pick+ designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Ascent is a safe SUV. The value of that cannot be overstated. The redesigned Pilot is also an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ but has not yet been tested by NHTSA.

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the Ascent models for sale near you.


While the 2024 Honda Pilot and 2024 Subaru Ascent don’t look much alike, they do have one big thing in common: tremendous brand loyalty. They are some of the most dedicated buyers in the industry, and swaying one to move to another brand will require some outstanding effort — and features. Of note, both have equal warranty protection and nearly identical EPA combined fuel economy ratings (22 mpg); Pilot models with AWD do a mile per gallon worse in combined driving.


The 2024 Honda Pilot is more expensive but has a bigger engine and slightly more space. The Subaru Ascent gives you AWD no matter what you buy, and it’s nearly $3,000 cheaper at the low end.  

All things equal, we like the added choices and power of the Pilot. But if you already own a Subaru, chances are you’re totally satisfied.

2024 Honda Pilot 2024 Subaru Ascent
Starting Price $37,090 $34,395
Popular Powertrains    
Engine 3.5-liter 6-cylinder 2.4-liter turbo 4-cylinder
Horsepower 285 hp @ 6,100 rpm 260 hp @ 5,600 rpm
Torque 262 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm 277 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
Transmission 10-speed automatic CVT
Fuel Economy 19 city/27 highway/22 combined mpg 20 city/26 highway/22 combined mpg
Also Available AWD  
Basic Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety TBD 5 stars
Max Seating Capacity 8 8
Wheelbase 113.8 inches 113.8 inches
Overall Length 199.9 inches 196.8 inches
Width 78.5 inches 76.0 inches
Height 70.9 inches 71.6 inches
Turning Diameter 37.8 feet 38.0 feet
Headroom, Front/2nd Row 40.5/40.2 inches 41.2/40.0 inches
Headroom, 3rd Row 39.3 inches 36.2 inches
Legroom, Front/2nd Row 41.0/40.8 inches 42.2/38.6 inches
Legroom, 3rd Row 32.5 inches 31.7 inches
Shoulder Room, Front/2nd Row 61.9/61.7 inches 61.1/60.3 inches
Shoulder Room, 3rd Row 59.5 inches 57.0 inches
Cargo Volume 18.6/87.0 cubic feet 17.8/75.6 cubic feet


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