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How New Subaru Ascent 2.4L Engine Compares To Competition’s V6 Power

Subaru says the new 2019 Subaru Ascent 2.4L engine compares favorably to the competition’s larger V6 engines. Here’s the specs.


The all-new 2019 Subaru Ascent 3-Row family hauler is powered by an all-new 2.4-liter 4-cylinder Boxer direct fuel injection turbocharged engine, and Subaru says it will offer drivability, power and fuel economy equal to or better than that of 6-cylinder engines. We don’t have the EPA/DOT estimated fuel economy numbers yet, but we can compare the Ascent’s engine horsepower and torque numbers with the competition.

Subaru’s new Ascent will compete with Japanese rivals like the Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-9, and American entries like the Ford Explorer, Chevy Traverse, Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Most come standard with a V6 engine, but Ford and Mazda also have 4-cylinder turbo engines.

Subaru says, despite its smaller displacement, the newly developed 2.4-liter turbocharged direct-injection boxer engine will achieve smooth acceleration equal to or better than that of competing vehicles with 3.5-liter 6-cylinder engines. That is accomplished with torque more than horsepower, because torque is what gets a vehicle moving from a stop and helps in pulling the vehicle up a hill, or when towing.

Subaru will build the Ascent on its new Global Platform and the new 2.4-liter twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine sits under the hood producing 260hp and 277 lb. ft of torque. The Ascent 2.4-liter twin turbo four cylinder is their new-generation boxer engine developed specifically for this vehicle that’s built at Subaru’s U.S. factory in Lafayette, Indiana.

2.4LHow Ascent 2.4L compares with the competition

Compared to its Japanese rivals, Toyota Highlander is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 producing 295hp and 263 lb ft of torque. Nissan Pathfinder is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 Direct Injection Gasoline (DIG) engine producing 284hp and 259 lb-ft of torque. Honda Pilot also gets a 3.5-liter V6 engine producing 280hp and 262 lb ft of torque. The Mazda CX-9 is powered by a 2.5-liter turbo engine producing 250hp and 310 lb ft of torque.

Compared to its American competition, Ford Explorer is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 producing 290hp and 255 lb ft of torque. Explorer also gets a 2.3-liter turbo producing 280hp and 310 lb ft of torque. Chevy Traverse is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 producing 281hp and 266 lb ft of torque. Dodge Durango gets a 3.6-liter V6 producing 295hp and 260 lb ft of torque. Jeep Grand Cherokee also gets a 3.6-liter V6 with 295hp and 260 lb ft of torque.

The Mazda CX-9’s 2.5-liter turbo gets a massive 310 lb ft of torque, and Explorer’s 2.3-liter turbo also produces 310 lb ft of torque, outgunning the Ascent’s 277 lb ft, but both are turbocharged four-cylinder power plants. Subaru is correct when they say the all-new Ascent 3-Row will achieve smooth acceleration because of torque, equal to or better than that of competing vehicles with 3.5-liter V6 engines. The new 2.4-liter twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder boxer engine has more torque than any of the competition’s larger 3.5-liter or 3.6-liter V6 engines.

The all-new 2019 Subaru Ascent will start in the low $30,000 price range and will be on sale in early summer 2018.

Photo credit: Subaru USA


Russell Lawler (not verified)    December 11, 2017 - 3:53PM

Do you know what grade of gasoline (octane) is recommended to the new 2.4L Subaru Ascent engine? Regular gas?

TonyC (not verified)    January 4, 2018 - 2:19PM

In reply to by Ed B (not verified)

Not any more. With modern electronic controls, the need for high octane has been lessened. I believe Ford's eco-boosts can all run on low octane, albeit at reduced power levels.

Larry (not verified)    February 7, 2018 - 5:16PM

In reply to by TonyC (not verified)

True! Especially with direct injection gasoline turbo engine, electronics are so precise, it's not necessary to use high octane. High octanes are mostly for psychological assurance... feel good paying more...

Erik C (not verified)    February 8, 2018 - 2:52PM

In reply to by Larry (not verified)

Actually any modern car with a turbo is tuned for a specific octane rating or octane rating range. Usually the other turbo subaru models do require 91 octane as a recommended fuel. Not necessarily required. This is apparently a new engine although I would bet it's the exact same short block as the current wrx, sti or FXT. Usually subarus have a weak/mild tune to get the highest mpg rating. this would be amazing on a E85 tune.

Truth (not verified)    June 7, 2018 - 11:28PM

In reply to by Erik C (not verified)

Sorry, no. The higher the octane, the better. These newer engines have 11:1 or better compression ratios, and even higher on full boost with a turbo. The laws of physics haven't changed.

Truth (not verified)    June 7, 2018 - 11:23PM

In reply to by TonyC (not verified)

There is no magic here. It's accomplished by retarding the spark. This means if you run "cheap" gas, the ignition controls simply delay the firing, wasting fuel sending raw gas out the exhaust. Everything comes with a price, and for this choice the engine will run much dirtier, have less power, get lower mileage and have a shorter life. I guess it's easier to look at a number on a gas pump than calculate how much money is actually being wasted. And such a tiny motor, with a ridiculous compression ratio, will have a hard (and short) life.

TonyC (not verified)    June 10, 2018 - 2:57PM

In reply to by Truth (not verified)

You’ve got the general gist of how engines manage octane differences but are grossly exaggerating the effects.
No new car today is ever “sending raw gas out the exhaust.” Ever.
And while higher HP can be had with advanced timing and high octane, the cost of doing so is often unjustified, especially in typical SUV driving.

George Travers (not verified)    May 17, 2019 - 12:57AM

In reply to by Ed B (not verified)

The Ascent engine can run on 87 octane because of the direct injection of fuel into the cylinder on intake that quenches the mixture before the compression and ignition. The old port injection cannot do this.

Frank (not verified)    March 11, 2018 - 7:52PM

In reply to by Manuel Quintana (not verified)

I'll give you two to one odds that when the Outback receives its next makeover, it will have the same engine as the Ascent in place of the 3.6R as an option. May be tweaked a little, but the six is going to the grave yard. (Outback/Legacy) The Ascent is a little late which will push the Outback's remake back to 2020 I'm betting.

stevecro (not verified)    April 24, 2019 - 7:03PM

In reply to by Frank (not verified)

yes. I've had my 3.6 for coming up 10 years now and it's proved a wonderful motor. I'm quietly confident Subaru will give us an excellent 2.4 turbo - in some markets their continued success will be riding on its reliability and all round ability

Edward Brinson (not verified)    December 21, 2017 - 4:37PM

I doubt it, looks like Subaru is getting rid of their performance oriented turbo. I hear the Forester XT will scrapped in 2018.

Barbara (not verified)    December 30, 2017 - 7:34PM

This looks like a good SUV but I will never buy one with a 4 cylinder, I don't care if it has turbo. So just the lack of a V6 would keep me from buying this. I'd look at the Highlander V6 or the Dodge Durango before this, I have had two suburus long ago that I really liked but for an SUV that hauls dogs, I need a V 6

ET (not verified)    April 22, 2019 - 7:28PM

In reply to by Ed B (not verified)

The subaru 3.6R is not a V6 but like other Subaru engines, a flat opposed 6. Yes, unfortunately it has been discontinued. I own a 2012 Legacy with it and it has proved to be a great engine. It's quick, smoot, and very reliable with a plus to me that is lacks all the "gee whiz" turbo complexity while still making good power. My mileage has never proved to be nearly as low as the critics have complained. I did note that the engine took about 15k miles to break in after which the mileage peaked getting about 24 overall and I have had as high as 32 on the highway on long trips if I keep it to the speed limit. I wonder how many turbos will be toasted by owners who don't factor in a bit of idle cool down after a time of running them hard. Turbos get very hot and the bearings in addition to being lubricated by oil are also cooled by it. Drive one hard for hours and pull into McD's for a break and just shut it off without a short cool down and you will fry oil sitting in critical but red hot lubrication points. Not necessarily a problem only rarely but day in and day out of this practice and scorched carbon deposits build up on bearing surfaces leading to premature failure.

Subie Fan (not verified)    June 22, 2019 - 8:10PM

In reply to by ET (not verified)

Your info is about 20 years out of date. The Subaru turbo design in the WRX, for example, uses a water cooled turbo. No idle time to cool it after hard driving. Turn it off and the water turns to steam and forces cool water to cycle until it is below the vapor point. No more turbo timers, no more coked engine oil. You are talking about Mazda RX7 design faults, not Subaru issues. All the best...

Cameron Holley (not verified)    March 3, 2018 - 2:53AM

In reply to by Barbara (not verified)

I totally agree, my friends think I’m stupid for not wanting a SUV/Car with a V6. There like V6 will be a thing of the past and I’m like I think there will always be a market for v6. But I love this vehicle, but paying 30,000+ for a base model and not even having a V6 engine, makes this a no go for me. I hope they continue with the v6 legacy has some have said they won’t. Don’t know why they just don’t go back to the days when majority of cars were V6’s

Eric Otteson (not verified)    April 14, 2018 - 5:12PM

In reply to by Barbara (not verified)

"This looks like a good SUV but I will never buy one with a 4 cylinder, I don't care if it has turbo. So just the lack of a V6 would keep me from buying this. I'd look at the Highlander V6 or the Dodge Durango before this, I have had two suburus long ago that I really liked but for an SUV that hauls dogs, I need a V 6".
This is exactly what people said about 6 Cylinders as compared to 8 Cylinders twenty or so years ago. Time and tech move on..... Get the 4 Cylinder!

SteveCro (not verified)    April 24, 2019 - 7:10PM

In reply to by Barbara (not verified)

seems like you have your mind made up Barbara. Pity if you don't decide to at least give the turbo 4 a go. Once upon a time they said the same about cars that didn't have a V8 and so "couldn't tow". Americans LOVE big and it's hard to get a different perspective over a short period of time.
Big manufacturers don't put years of development into these new motors for nothing - it'll be an excellent proposition and I'll be happy to let go of my nearly 10 year old Outback 3.6 Boxer 6 to move on.

Jung Tran (not verified)    October 23, 2023 - 1:25PM

In reply to by SteveCro (not verified)

We/I agree on many Fronts:

Like the New Honda 2.0l but look at the Horsepower and mpg!!

Curb Weight: ATTERY PACK WEIGHT: 68.4 LBS.
Civic e:HEV, expect the Civic Hybrid to develop a combined 181 hp and 232 lb-ft of torque. Although we don't know fuel economy specifics just yet, we anticipate that they'll be on par or slightly better than the existing Honda Insight. For 2022, the Insight was rated at 51/45 mpg city/highway on top-trim models and 55/49 mpg for lower trims with smaller wheels.

[We're anticipating the hybrid Civic will have a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and hybrid system that combine to produce around 180 horsepower.
Fuel economy for combined city/highway driving should be about 50 mpg, which would be competitive with the rival Toyota Corolla Hybrid and Toyota Prius along with the Hyundai Elantra Hybrid. ]

So, 2025 Model of any Brand will have a Larger Battery 🔋 (and a e-Motor) but overall we will Drive Safer, Cheaper on Gasolines and about same powers as those V6 of early 2010's...

Merry Xmas 2024 to all...


pete (not verified)    February 16, 2018 - 8:02PM

lower octane fuel burns producing more carbon than higher octanes,not making this SUV with a six cylinder is less appealing to me also .

Sal (not verified)    February 22, 2018 - 11:28AM

I have a 2004 Odyssey, and I just love this old beauty. Hence, so far, I have been considering the 2018 Odyssey, and I like it too. However, this Ascent seems very appealing as well. I understand that this is a brand new vehicle from Subaru. But, does anyone have any inkling on how reliable it will be? How will the long-term reliability of the Ascent compare to that of the Odyssey, Sienna, Highlander etc.?