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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes GLC Coupe have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Subaru Outback doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
The GLC Coupe’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Outback doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
The GLC Coupe offers an optional Surround View System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Outback only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.
The GLC Coupe’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 GLC Coupe and the Outback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, all-wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
The GLC Coupe 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.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the GLC Coupe third among compact premium suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Outback isn’t in the top three in its category.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 19 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.
The GLC Coupe’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 80 more horsepower (255 vs. 175) and 99 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 174) than the Outback 2.5i’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The GLC Coupe’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 26 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 247) than the Outback 3.6R’s standard 3.6 DOHC 6 cyl.
As tested in Motor Trend the Mercedes GLC Coupe is faster than the Subaru Outback:
Zero to 60 MPH
Speed in 1/4 Mile
On the EPA test cycle the GLC 300 Coupe gets better fuel mileage than the Outback 3.6R CVT 6 cyl. (21 city/28 hwy vs. 20 city/27 hwy).
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the GLC Coupe’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 GLC Coupe’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Outback:
For better traction, the GLC Coupe has larger standard tires than the Outback (235/55R19 vs. 225/65R17). The GLC Coupe’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Outback (F:255/45R20 & R:285/40R20 vs. 225/65R17).
The GLC Coupe’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 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 GLC Coupe’s optional 255/45R20 front and 285/40R20 rear tires have a lower 45 series front and 40 series rear profile than the Outback Limited/Touring’s 60 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLC Coupe has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Outback 2.5i/2.5i Premium. The GLC Coupe’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Outback Limited/Touring.
Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the GLC Coupe can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Outback doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
The GLC Coupe has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Outback’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.
The GLC Coupe’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Outback doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLC Coupe’s wheelbase is 5 inches longer than on the Outback (113.1 inches vs. 108.1 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the GLC Coupe is 2 inches wider in the front and 1.5 inches wider in the rear than on the Outback.
The GLC 300 Coupe handles at .79 G’s, while the Outback 3.6R Limited pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.
The GLC 300 Coupe executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Outback 2.5i Limited (27.6 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .57 average G’s).
The GLC Coupe is 3.2 inches shorter than the Outback, making the GLC Coupe easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the GLC Coupe’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Outback doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the GLC Coupe’s available liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Outback doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
The GLC Coupe’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Outback’s (3500 vs. 2700 pounds).
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Subaru. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 41% lower rating, Subaru is ranked 19th.
Unlike the driver-only memory seat in the Outback Limited, the GLC Coupe offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.
The GLC Coupe’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Outback doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
The GLC Coupe 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 GLC Coupe and the Outback have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the GLC Coupe 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 GLC Coupe’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 GLC Coupe the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or 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 GLC Coupe’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Outback’s passenger power window switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.
The GLC Coupe’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 standard on the GLC Coupe 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.
The GLC Coupe’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 GLC Coupe is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Outback’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.
Optional air-conditioned seats in the GLC Coupe 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 GLC Coupe 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 GLC Coupe and the Outback offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the GLC Coupe has available 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 Mercedes GLC offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Outback doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
The GLC Coupe has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, 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 GLC Coupe’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting and stopping automatically, with the driver only responsible for switching from reverse to drive. The Outback doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the GLC Coupe is less expensive to operate than the Outback because it costs $127 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the GLC Coupe than the Outback, including $234 less for a timing belt/chain.
Motor Trend selected the GLC Coupe as their 2017 Sport Utility of the Year. The Outback has never been chosen.
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