Because families lead active lifestyles, they need as much cargo space as possible to carry camping gear, sports equipment, the family dog, and even mountain bikes. Consumer Reports (by subscription) scored all mid-size SUVs and came up with the seven roomiest and most comfortable models. They also threw fuel mileage into the mix.
CR ranked the Toyota Highlander number one overall, followed by the Lexus RX, Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, Subaru Ascent, Subaru Outback, and Mazda CX-9. The Consumer Reports' list of two- and three-row mid-size SUVs is sorted in order of their roominess and CR's scores for comfort and ease of access.
How much cargo room does the 2021 Subaru Ascent have?
When it comes to cargo capacity, the Ascent is the largest Subaru model for North American families. With the second-row rear seats up, the Ascent has 17.8 cubic feet of cargo space. With the third row folded flat, there are 47.5 cubic feet behind the second row.
With the second and third-row seats folded flat, the Ascent offers a cavernous 86.5 cubic feet of cargo-carrying ability. It's big enough to carry two mountain bikes.
How much cargo room does the 2021 Subaru Outback have?
Another Subaru makes CR's roomiest and most comfortable mid-size SUV list. The 2021 Subaru Outback measures 32.5 cubic feet with the seats up, and 75.7 cubes with the rear seats folded flat.
How fuel-efficient is the Ascent?
The Ascent family hauler gets an EPA estimated 21/27 city/ highway mpg and 23 combined mpg. A direct-injection 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine powers the Ascent. All Ascent trims come standard with the brand's Symmetrical all-wheel-drive.
Does the Subaru Ascent have enough power?
The Ascent 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder Boxer engine has 260 horsepower and 277 lb-ft of torque. Torque is what gets a vehicle moving from a complete stop and helps pull a steep hill or extra weight. We've driven the Ascent at altitude in the mountains, and the 3-Row SUV has enough power for most driving situations. You can read our full review here.
How fuel-efficient is the Outback?
You get two engine options in the 2021 Outback. A 2.5-liter engine powers the standard model, and you can also get an Outback XT trim with a 2.4-liter turbocharged engine. The 2.4-liter gets, and EPA estimated 23/30 city/highway mpg and 26 combined mpg.
Which model is best? For most buyers, the standard Outback 2.5i trim will meet your needs. Unless you need the extra power to haul cargo and people over an 11,000-foot mountain pass or pull a trailer, the standard 2.5i trim will have all the power you need for commuting and the ability to enter the highway. It gets an EPA estimated 26/33 city/highway and 29 combined mpg.
According to Consumer Reports, both the Subaru Ascent and Outback score high for interior comfort, roominess and cargo space. The 2021 Subaru Ascent is the brand's largest model offering three rows and has the most cargo-carrying capacity in the all-wheel-drive lineup. Subaru hit a home run with the mid-size SUV's overall comfort, interior space, cargo capacity, and fuel mileage.
Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press and the founder of Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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