We have written about many competing brands to VW, but haven’t compared a VW to a Subaru, until now. Therefore, in this article, we will be going over the many differences and few similarities between the VW Atlas vs Subaru Ascent. Specifications that will be covered are price, performance, common problems, reliability, and more. Both vehicles are classified as mid-size crossover SUVs, so they may be more similar than people think.
VW Atlas vs Subaru Ascent – The Basics
The Volkswagen Atlas was recently introduced in 2017 and is still in production today. The VW Atlas is marketed as the Volkswagen Teramont outside of the North American market. It happens to be the second-largest vehicle Volkswagen has to offer behind the Touareg. If you have heard of the Atlas, you’ve likely heard of the Atlas Cross Sport. It is basically a smaller variant of the Atlas. The Atlas is built on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform and offers 5 different trims: SE, SE with Technology, SEL, SEL R-Line, and SEL Premium R-Line.
The Subaru Ascent was also introduced in 2017 and is still in production today. The Ascent is marketed as the Subaru Evoltis outside of the North American market. The Subaru Ascent happens to be the largest vehicle Subaru offers and it is a step above the popular Subaru Outback. An interesting fact about the Ascent, Subaru had to halt production within the first few months of the vehicle because of a spot weld. Luckily, none of the newly produced Ascent’s had been sold, and it turned out to be irrelevant/inaccurate information. For the 2022 model year, the Ascent has 7 trims: Base Ascent, Premium 8-Passenger Ascent, Premium 7-Passenger Ascent, Onyx Edition 7-Passenger Ascent, Limited 8-Passenger Ascent, Limited 7-Passenger Ascent, and Touring 7-Passenger Ascent.
Volkswagen Atlas Generation
- CA1 Atlas (2017-Present)
Subaru Ascent Generations
- First Generation Ascent (2017-Present)
VW Atlas vs Subaru Ascent Price
In this portion, we will be going over brand new 2022, as of this writing, model prices and used prices for the VW Atlas and Subaru Ascent.
New Volkswagen Atlas Price
In this section, we will be covering the new Atlas 2022, as of this writing, model year prices. The base Atlas, or Atlas SE, starts at $35,530, with a 4motion, AWD, upgrade for $37,430. Both the Atlas SE w/ tech and Atlas SEL offer two different engines: a 2.0T and a 3.6L V6. The 2.0T Atlas SE w/ tech starts at $39,700 with a 4motion, AWD, upgrade for $41,600. The 3.6L V6 Atlas SE w/ tech is $41,450 also with a 4motion, AWD, upgrade for $43,350. A 2.0T 4motion Atlas SEL is $45,300 and a 3.6L V6 4motion Atlas SEL is $47,050. Both the SEL R-Line and SEL Premium R-Line only have the 3.6L V6 as an available engine and both come equipped with 4motion. Lastly, the Atlas SEL R-Line is $48,450 and the SEL Premium R-Line is $52,700.
New Subaru Ascent Price
In this section, we will be covering the new Subaru Ascent 2022 prices. There is only one engine option available in the current Ascent and it is a 2.4L Turbo boxer engine. As mentioned above, there are 7 different trims we will be covering: the Base Ascent, Premium 8-Passenger Ascent, Premium 7-Passenger Ascent, Onyx Edition 7-Passenger Ascent, Limited 8-Passenger Ascent, Limited 7-Passenger Ascent, and Touring 7-Passenger Ascent.
The base Ascent starts at $32,795, the Premium 8-Passenger Ascent starts at $35,295, the Premium 7-Passenger Ascent starts at $36,755, the Onyx Edition 7-Passenger Ascent starts at $38,495, both the Limited 8-Passenger Ascent and Limited 7-Passenger Ascent start at $40,095, and, lastly, the Touring 7-Passenger Ascent starts at $45,945. Unlike many other brands, including VW, all trims come standard with AWD.
Used VW Atlas & Subaru Ascent Prices
When it comes to used VW Atlas’ vs Subaru Ascents, since these are very competitive vehicles, new and used prices will be pretty similar. A used Atlas price ranges from $17,600 – $55,997* with an average price overall of $36,795, depending on model year and mileage. A used Ascents price ranges from $21,500 – $50,922* with an average price overall of $36,211, depending on model year and mileage. Based on this data, Subaru Ascents are generally cheaper on the new sales side and on average are priced the same as Atlas’ on the used side.
*At the time of writing this article, we believe we are in a market where used vehicles are inflated, so consider that when seeing the used prices above.
General Atlas & Subaru Ascent Topics
VW Atlas vs Subaru Ascent Size
Below are some basic details about the size and weight differences seen between the 2022 Volkswagen Atlas and the 2022 Subaru Ascent.
VW Atlas vs Subaru Ascent
As expected, since both vehicles are mid-size crossover SUVs, there aren’t too many differences when it comes to size. However, there are a few specs that stick out to us such as cargo space and seating capacity. Depending on the Subaru Ascent’s trim, it can seat up to 8 passengers. There is a choice between captain seats or a bench seat in the second row of seats. However, the Atlas only seats up to 7 passengers. Now, the Atlas gets 20.6ft³ with all the seats up, 55.5ft³ with the third row down, and 96.8ft³ with both the second and third row of seats down. While the Subaru Ascent only gets 17.6ft³ with all the seats up, 43.5ft³ with the third row down, and 75.6ft³ with both the second and third row of seats down.
VW Atlas vs Subaru Ascent Performance
For consistencies sake, we will be using the 2022 VW Atlas and 2022 Subaru Ascent factory performance specs.
Engines, Drivetrain, & Fuel Economy
VW Atlas Performance
The Atlas only features two engine options: a 2.0T TFSI & a 3.6L EA390 VR6. The 2.0T TFSI puts out 235hp and 258 lb-ft of torque and offers an upgraded option for VW’s AWD 4motion technology and features an 8-speed automatic Tiptronic transmission. The 3.6L V6 naturally aspirated engine puts out 276hp and 266 lb-ft of torque, comes standard with VW’s AWD 4motion technology, and also offers an 8-speed automatic Tiptronic transmission.
Depending on which drivetrain is chosen, both engines get different gas mileage. The FWD 2.0T TFSI engine gets 25mpg in the city and 21mpg on the highway for a combined 23mpg with an 18.6gal fuel tank. And the 4motion 2.0T TFSI engine gets 24mpg in the city and 20mpg on the highway for a combined 22mpg with an 18.6gal fuel tank. Meanwhile, the FWD 3.6L engine gets 18mpg in the city and 24mpg on the highway for a combined 21mpg with an 18.6gal fuel tank. Lastly, the 4motion 3.6L VR6 engine gets 17mpg in the city and 23mpg on the highway for a combined 20mpg with an 18.6gal fuel tank.
Subaru Ascent Performance
The Ascent only has one engine option for all trims: a 2.4L Turbo boxer engine. This engine puts out 260hp and 277 lb-ft of torque and comes standard with AWD. This engine features a Lineartronic CVT or Continuously Variable Transmission. For some reason when it comes to fuel economy, some trims are different than others. So a Base, Premium 8-passenger, and Premium 7-passenger get 21mpg in the city and 27mpg on the highway for a combined 24mpg with a 19.3gal fuel tank. And an Onyx Edition 7-Passenger, Limited 8-Passenger, Limited 7-Passenger, and Touring 7-Passenger get 20mpg in the city and 26mpg on the highway for a combined 23mpg with a 19.3gal fuel tank.
VW Atlas & Subaru Ascent Reliability and Common Problems
There isn’t much data to go on when it comes to Atlas’ reliability since they are rather new. But Consumer Reports rated the Atlas 21st out of 26 for all mid-size SUVs. Based on this rating, it is below average. If you are in the market for a used Atlas, we would advise going with the 2021 model year as it is regarded as the most reliable. Scrolling through forums and other useful websites, we’ve compiled these common problems in Atlas’: unexpected coolant loss, a faulty clock spring, strange engine noise on shutdown, faulty fuel injectors, and premature fuel pump failure. It is quite difficult to find any high mileage Atlas’ since they have been around for five years. However, we have seen many in the 100,000 – 150,000-mile range.
Unfortunately like the Atlas, since the Ascent has only been around for 5 years, there isn’t much info to go on when it comes to reliability. But Consumer Reports gave the Ascent a 1 out of 5 reliability rating, which is also below average. We would advise avoiding 2019-2020 model year Ascents as these are regarded as the least reliable. However, it seems Subaru has worked out the kinks and has made the 2021 model year rather reliable. Common problems seen across Ascents are windshields cracking easily, failing to start, an open tailgate drains the car’s battery, fuel pump failure, and Subaru EyeSight problems. The Subaru Ascent has landed itself on a list no manufacturer wants to be on, the 10 Least Reliable Cars list.
VW Atlas vs Subaru Ascent – Which is Better?
The common question, which one is better? To us, this is a pretty simple answer. We heavily favor the Atlas for many reasons. It is more reliable, more spacious, better looking, can be more powerful, and has more cargo space. However, for those that need an 8-seater family hauler, the Ascent could be your next vehicle. It is cheaper and gets better gas mileage than the Atlas. But, we can’t get over how unreliable the Ascent sounds from many credible sources. Both do have 5-star safety ratings and have similar safety and tech features.
If you are seriously on the fence with both vehicles, get some first-hand experience. We have found that this is the best way to make a final decision. So, schedule a test drive at your local VW and Subaru dealership to touch the vehicle for yourself.
VW Atlas vs Subaru Ascent Conclusion
To wrap this article up, we hope the information provided assists anyone on the fence between the Atlas and Ascent. We understand that purchasing a vehicle is a daunting task, so we strive to make research easier. In short, the Atlas allows for more customization, can be more powerful, has more cargo space, looks better, and is more reliable. The Subaru Ascent is cheaper, gets better fuel economy, and can seat up to 8, but is pretty unreliable. If any consumers reading this have had first-hand experience, feel free to post your experience in the comments below. This will assist us and future readers with their purchasing decisions.
Here is an article for those still on the fence about choosing an Atlas. VW Atlas vs Honda Pilot