VW Atlas or Subaru Ascent?

Discussion in 'Tow Vehicles, Hitch & Towing' started by StarSeven7, Oct 17, 2019.

  1. StarSeven7

    StarSeven7 Member

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    We're looking to get a new TV sometime before next summer and we've narrowed it down to the VW Atlas and the Subaru Ascent as the 2 we like the most. Our pup is a 2011 Jayco Sport 10, the dry weight is 1365 lbs. I believe. We currently tow with a 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe (I believe it's rated to tow 3500 lbs. but I'm not positive since my DH added the hitch himself). This set up has been great and we have no issues with towing, even when we drove through the mountains in Tennessee this summer. We're looking to get a new TV because we'd like a 3 row SUV - we only have 2 kids, 9 and 6, but we're starting to car pool now so the extra space would be nice! Also the extra cargo space would be a bonus since we take a least one camping trip a year where we have a LOT of gear along (kayaks, paddleboards, bikes, etc.) We want to get a TV that can tow up to 5000 lbs. because although we have no immediate plans to upgrade to a travel trailer, we have thought about it, and since we keep vehicles a long time, we want to make sure it's equipped if we decide to upgrade in a few years. If we upgraded to a travel trailer, it would most likely be around 20 ft./3000 lbs. dry. Does anyone have experience with either the VW Atlas or the Subaru Ascent for towing something heavier and can give me some feedback? Thank you!
     
  2. NMroamer

    NMroamer Well-Known Member

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    I would reconsider both vehicles if you plan on getting a travel trailer in the future. Here is why I say that, I have a Toyota Tacoma 4.0 liter V6 rated for 6400lbs towing capacity. Real world towing a 3100lb trailer like your are planning to get and it is a 3rd gear 40 mph in the mountains. Seventeen years of pulling popups and now a travel trailer I know what works here on the Southern end of the Rocky Mountains. Towing capacity ratings are a pet peeve of mine, they are a marketing tool not meant for the real world much above sea level.
     
  3. StarSeven7

    StarSeven7 Member

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    Well we want the extra seating capacity (so not a truck) and we want something not super huge and with decent gas mileage. I think if it came between a 3 row midsize SUV and a full size travel trailer, we'd pick the SUV and stay with a popup. But thanks for the input. I know that the towing capacity ratings are not always accurate. We don't usually tow in the mountains (we live in SW Ontario and camp mostly in Michigan) but we would probably do a trip every few years to an area that has more hills and/or mountains.
     
  4. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    My brother had a Subaru Forester and he hated it. His chief complaint was comfort. He ended up driving his girlfriend's Civic more often than his own car if he went anywhere longer than a few minutes. He also complained about how often it was in the shop the second his warranty was up. When his water pump went that was his last straw. His forester was an 08 so things have probably improved since then. He never towed though.
     
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  5. rjhammetter

    rjhammetter Husband, Dad, Engineer & Camper

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    Hi OP. I wasn't sure what sort of input you'd get, but I can try to help as a car guy. Both are probably good candidates for what you need. Test drive and check out both first hand to compare. Re: the VW - It's a German car. German cars have a tendency to break often and be expensive to fix. I know through personal experience owning Audi and BMW, so I will never make that mistake again. The importance of reliability is up to you. Re: the Subaru - We bought a Tribeca in anticipation of having our kids that we drove for several years. It was quirky, underpowered, uncomfortable and the 3rd row was unusable/laughably small. It was called a midsized SUV, but was more like a CUV or wagon, with only 2000# tow capacity. Stuff started breaking right around 100k, so we ended up moving from the Tribeca to our Odyssey, which has been the best vehicle we've ever owned. The Ascent was supposed to fill the void left by discontinuing the Tribeca -and- address the ills of the Tribeca, notably, be a true midsized with higher tow capacity. Most people with Subarus love them. We didn't love our Tribeca nor our Legacy enough to stick with Subaru.

    You will only get a truly usable 3rd row buying a minivan (which you won't get more than 3500# tow capacity) or fullsized SUV like Suburban or Landcruiser. I think other options for you with 3rd rows and decent towing 5000# minimum would be a Pilot, MDX, Lexus GX or LX.
     
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  6. StarSeven7

    StarSeven7 Member

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    Thanks for your input! Acura and Lexus are above our price range and neither of us is crazy about the Pilot. We don't need a "truly usable" 3rd row as it would only be used occasionally but obviously some of the 3rd rows are REALLY cramped so we've eliminated those vehicles as we will probably still be driving whichever vehicle we choose when our kids are teens!

    Good to know about German cars. My DH had a VW Gulf way back in the day before we were married and I hated that car! But the Atlas does seem very nice in comparison. I know 2 people who have bought the Ascent and they love it (so far!) and my aunt has an Outback that she really loves, but we have no experience with Subaru ourselves. We LOVE our Hyundai Santa Fe but we're not crazy about the Palisade's looks.
     
  7. tcbrady

    tcbrady Active Member

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    We've been contemplating upgrading our current Volkswagen Alltrack to an Atlas (we chose this over multiple Subaru models when we were looking for an all wheel drive wagon, no regrets with our choice. The VW felt so much more refined and just a better quality over Subaru.) I've got nothing but good reviews from a current Volkswagen owner who's owned 4 Volkswagen products in the past 15 years - reliable, good customer service and great features on their line up. We'll continue to own at least one Volkswagen in our household, since they released the new Atlas Cross Sport that's really gotten our attention. Can't wait to see one in person. [Guitar]
     
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  8. Rusty2192

    Rusty2192 Well-Known Member

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    If it’s just the looks you don’t like about the Palisade, check out the Kia Telluride, which is the Palisade’s sister.
     
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  9. tcbrady

    tcbrady Active Member

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    I have a cousin who has the Palisade and swears by, so far. I do have to admit it does look nice, inside and out!
     
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  10. Raycfe

    Raycfe Waterford Ct.

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    10 year 100,000 mile warranty
     
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  11. rjhammetter

    rjhammetter Husband, Dad, Engineer & Camper

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    You will inevitably here both sides of the European car story - "nothing but problems" versus "300k and going strong." These cars and motorcycles are hit and miss. When you eventually get a bad one, you'll never forget it. Reliability may not be paramount to everyone, but it is to me, which is why I stick to Asians. Just to give you a little insight on VW:
    I see a lot of really scary first hand reviews here:
    https://www.edmunds.com/volkswagen/atlas/2018/consumer-reviews/
    Subaru is winning a lot of awards:
    https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/best-cars-suvs-autos-spotlight/index.htm
    Both the Atlas and Ascent tied for dead last in the class regarding quality:
    https://www.jdpower.com/business/ratings/study/U.S.-Initial-Quality-Study-(IQS)/10137ENG/Midsize-SUV/1085
    The Ascent problems are likely because it's in its first years of being a brand new model.

    Just food for though.
     
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  12. StarSeven7

    StarSeven7 Member

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    We test drive that one and we’ve ruled it out (which I was bummed about because I thought it was going to be a front runner!) It has a HUGE LCD screen which I didn’t like, I found it very distracting. we test drove it at night and it was so bright, I honestly would have difficulties with it because my night vision is not great when there’s lots of glare and other lights around (I’m only in my 30s but my eyes are terrible!) plus my DH found it very jerky while driving which he didn’t like at all.
     
  13. StarSeven7

    StarSeven7 Member

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    Reliability is definitely important to us because we usually keep cars for 10+ years. I’ll check those articles out, thanks.
     
  14. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    You should be able to adjust the brightness on any car's screen, and they all SHOULD auto dim or switch to red mode at night. Make salespeople earn their keep by asking them to show you how in the manual. :)
     
  15. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Well-Known Member

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    Limited model 4Runner is available with a third row and tows 5K lbs.
     
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  16. mattlreese

    mattlreese Active Member

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    The subaru has a payload between 1400 and 1500 lbs. That is not very much if you are towing near the 5k range. 1400 - 500 hitch weight -400 (two adults) - 250 (two kids) = Leaves you only 250 for gear.

    Now if you plan to town in the 3500 gross range that adds another 150 back so you would be ok.
     
  17. StarSeven7

    StarSeven7 Member

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    We did ask the sales guy about it and he suggested we just turn the screen off! We said, doesn’t that turn the radio off too then and he goes “Well, yeah.” There probably is a way to dim it but if I have to scroll through several screens to dim it every time I get In The car at night, no thanks. We’re picky I guess!
     
  18. StarSeven7

    StarSeven7 Member

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    I don’t know anything about payload! So that’s the weight the vehicle can carry and that includes the hitch weight? That’s something good to keep in mind, I haven’t looked at those specs at all.
     
  19. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    Lazy salesman syndrome. It's adjustable.
    Even my 11 year-old Ford has (permanently) adjustable screens. It even saves the settings when the battery is replaced.
     
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  20. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Well-Known Member

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    Once you set it where you want it the brightness stays the same.
    It also has a night mode, usually the background goes back in night mode.
    My wife's Armada and my work truck also have the big screens and they both have night mode.
     

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