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Both the Discovery Sport and Outback have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Discovery Sport has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Outback’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.
The Discovery Sport’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Outback doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the Discovery Sport and the Outback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, all-wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
The Discovery Sport 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 Discovery Sport’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Outback’s (6 vs. 5 years).
The Discovery Sport’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 71 more horsepower (246 vs. 175) and 95 lbs.-ft. more torque (269 vs. 174) than the Outback 2.5i’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The Discovery Sport’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (269 vs. 247) than the Outback 3.6R’s standard 3.6 DOHC 6 cyl. The Discovery Sport P290’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. hybrid produces 30 more horsepower (286 vs. 256) and 48 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 247) than the Outback 3.6R’s standard 3.6 DOHC 6 cyl.
Regenerative brakes improve the Discovery Sport’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Outback doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Discovery Sport’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Outback doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
For better stopping power the Discovery Sport’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Outback:
For better traction, the Discovery Sport has larger tires than the Outback (235/60R18 vs. 225/65R17).
The Discovery Sport’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 2.5i/2.5i Premium’s standard 65 series tires. The Discovery Sport’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Outback Limited/Touring’s 60 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Discovery Sport has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Outback 2.5i/2.5i Premium. The Discovery Sport’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Outback Limited/Touring.
The Discovery Sport offers an optional full size spare tire so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare isn’t available on the Outback, it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which limits mileage and speed before replacement.
The Discovery Sport has standard front gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Outback’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.
The Discovery Sport 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.
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Discovery Sport is 2.4 inches wider in the front and 2.3 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Outback.
The Discovery Sport S handles at .82 G’s, while the Outback 3.6R Limited pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
The Discovery Sport S executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Outback 2.5i Limited (27.4 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .57 average G’s).
The Discovery Sport is 8.9 inches shorter than the Outback, making the Discovery Sport easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The Discovery Sport offers optional seating for 7 passengers; the Outback can only carry 5.
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Discovery Sport with 5+2 Seating’s second row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Outback doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
The Discovery Sport’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Outback’s (4409 vs. 2700 pounds).
The Discovery Sport has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Outback doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.
Unlike the driver-only memory seat in the Outback Limited, the Discovery Sport (except Base) offers an optional driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.
The Discovery Sport offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Outback doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The power windows standard on both the Discovery Sport and the Outback have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Discovery Sport 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 Discovery Sport’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 passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.
If the windows are left open on the Discovery Sport the driver can close them all from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Outback can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The Discovery Sport’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.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The Discovery Sport offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Outback doesn’t offer headlight washers.
The Discovery Sport’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.
When the Discovery Sport with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Outback’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.
Optional air-conditioned seats in the Discovery Sport HSE keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Outback doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
The Discovery Sport 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.
Both the Discovery Sport and the Outback offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Discovery Sport has standard rear air-conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Outback Base/Premium doesn’t offer rear air-conditioning vents, only heat vents.
To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Land Rover Discovery Sport offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) for the front seat. The Outback doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
The Discovery Sport’s optional Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Outback doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
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