2021 Volvo S60 vs. 2020 Subaru Legacy

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The S60’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Legacy doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the S60 and Legacy have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The S60 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 Legacy’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 S60 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Legacy doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The S60 offers an optional 360° Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Legacy only offers a rear monitor.

Both the S60 and the Legacy have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear 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, lane departure warning systems and rearview cameras.

Warranty

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The S60 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Legacy’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The S60’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Legacy’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the S60 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Subaru doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Legacy.

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the S60 has a standard 210-amp alternator. The Legacy’s standard 150-amp alternator and largest (XT) 190-amp alternator aren’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the S60 has a standard 800-amp battery. The Legacy’s 620-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the S60 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the S60’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Legacy’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

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The S60 has more powerful engines than the Legacy:

Horsepower

Torque

S60 T5 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

250 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

S60 T6 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder

316 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

S60 Recharge 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid

400 HP

472 lbs.-ft.

Legacy 2.5i 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder

182 HP

176 lbs.-ft.

Legacy XT 2.4 turbo 4-cylinder

260 HP

277 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the S60 T5 is faster than the Legacy 2.5i:

S60

Legacy

Zero to 30 MPH

2.3 sec

3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.2 sec

22 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7 sec

8.6 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.5 sec

4.5 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.7 sec

5.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

16.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98 MPH

88 MPH

Top Speed

131 MPH

130 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/21

On the EPA test cycle the S60 Recharge running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Legacy 2.5i CVT (70 city/68 hwy MPGe vs. 27 city/35 hwy).

The S60 Recharge can drive on battery power alone for up to 22 miles. The Legacy must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the S60 T8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Legacy doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The S60 has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Legacy doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volvo S60 higher (5 to 7 out of 10) than the Subaru Legacy (3 to 7). This means the S60 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Legacy every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the S60’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Legacy:

S60 T5

S60 Polestar

Legacy

Front Rotors

12.7 inches

14.6 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

12.6 inches

11.8 inches

The S60 stops much shorter than the Legacy:

S60

Legacy

70 to 0 MPH

163 feet

174 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

110 feet

128 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

139 feet

141 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the S60 has larger tires than the Legacy (235/45R18 vs. 225/55R17).

The S60’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Legacy Base/Premium’s standard 55 series tires. The S60’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Legacy Sport/Limited/Touring’s 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S60 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Legacy Base/Premium. The S60’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Legacy Sport/Limited/Touring.

Suspension and Handling

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The S60 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 Legacy doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S60’s wheelbase is 4.8 inches longer than on the Legacy (113.1 inches vs. 108.3 inches).

The S60’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (55% to 45%) than the Legacy’s (58.7% to 41.3%). This gives the S60 more stable handling and braking.

The S60 R-Design AWD handles at .91 G’s, while the Legacy Touring XT pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The S60 Polestar executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.9 seconds quicker than the Legacy Sport (25.4 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Chassis

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The S60 is 3.2 inches shorter than the Legacy, making the S60 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the S60 Momentum is quieter than the Legacy Sport (75 vs. 76 dB).

Cargo Capacity

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Pressing a switch automatically lowers the S60’s optional rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Legacy doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the S60 offers cargo security. The Legacy’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the S60’s power trunk can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Legacy doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Towing

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The S60 has a 2000 lbs. towing capacity. The Legacy has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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The S60 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Legacy 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.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the Legacy Limited/Touring, the S60 R-Design/Inscription has a 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 S60 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 Legacy doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the S60 and the Legacy have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the S60 is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Legacy prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The S60’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 Legacy’s standard rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the S60 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 lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Legacy can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The S60’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 Legacy’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the S60 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Legacy doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Consumer Reports rated the S60’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the Legacy’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The S60 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Legacy doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The S60’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Subaru only offers heated mirrors on the Legacy Premium/Sport/Limited/Touring.

The S60 Inscription offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Legacy.

The S60 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 Legacy Premium/Sport/Limited/Touring.

Both the S60 and the Legacy offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the S60 has available rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Legacy doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

The S60’s optional Park Assist Pilot can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Legacy doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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The S60 is available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The Legacy doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the S60 is less expensive to operate than the Legacy because it costs $282 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the S60 than the Legacy, including $104 less for front struts and $127 less for a timing belt/chain.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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