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Both the Stelvio and the Outback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear cross-path warning and driver alert monitors.
The Stelvio comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Outback’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
The engine in the Stelvio has a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engines in the Outback have dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.
The battery on the Stelvio is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the Stelvio’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Outback’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.
The Stelvio’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 98 more horsepower (280 vs. 182) and 130 lbs.-ft. more torque (306 vs. 176) than the Outback 2.5i’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The Stelvio’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 20 more horsepower (280 vs. 260) and 29 lbs.-ft. more torque (306 vs. 277) than the Outback XT’s standard 2.4 turbo 4 cyl.
For better stopping power the Stelvio’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Outback:
For better traction, the Stelvio has larger standard tires than the Outback (235/60R18 vs. 225/65R17). The Stelvio’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Outback (255/45R20 vs. 225/65R17).
The Stelvio’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Outback Base/Premium’s standard 65 series tires. The Stelvio’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Outback Onyx Edition XT/Limited/Touring’s 60 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Stelvio has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Outback Base/Premium. The Stelvio’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Outback Onyx Edition XT/Limited/Touring.
The Stelvio offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Outback’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
The Stelvio has vehicle speed-sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Outback doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Stelvio’s wheelbase is 2.8 inches longer than on the Outback (110.9 inches vs. 108.1 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Stelvio is 1.7 inches wider in the front and 2.2 inches wider in the rear than on the Outback.
The Stelvio is 6.7 inches shorter than the Outback, making the Stelvio easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The Stelvio’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Outback’s (3000 vs. 2700 pounds).
The Stelvio uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Outback uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.
The Stelvio has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Outback doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
The power windows standard on both the Stelvio and the Outback have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Stelvio is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Outback prevents the driver from operating the rear windows just as it does the other passengers.
The Stelvio’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Outback’s standard rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.
The Stelvio’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Outback’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the Stelvio to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Outback doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The Stelvio offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Outback doesn’t offer headlight washers.
The Stelvio’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the Outback Premium/Limited/Touring/Onyx.
The Stelvio has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Outback Premium/Limited/Touring/Onyx.
Both the Stelvio and the Outback offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Stelvio has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Outback doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.
The Stelvio offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet in the cargo area, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Outback doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.
The Stelvio is available in both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Outback doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.
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