2021 Volvo V60 vs. 2020 Subaru Outback

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 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

The V60’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.

Both the V60 and Outback have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The V60 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 V60 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 Outback 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 V60 offers an optional 360° Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Outback only offers a rear monitor.

Both the V60 and the Outback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee 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 V60 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car 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 V60’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Outback’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the V60 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 Outback.

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the V60 has a standard 210-amp alternator. The Outback’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 V60 has a standard 800-amp battery. The Outback’s 620-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the V60 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the V60’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Outback’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

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The V60 T5’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 68 more horsepower (250 vs. 182) and 82 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 176) than the Outback 2.5i’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder. The V60 T8 Polestar’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid produces 155 more horsepower (415 vs. 260) and 217 lbs.-ft. more torque (494 vs. 277) than the Outback XT’s standard 2.4 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the V60 T5 is faster than the Outback 2.5i:

V60

Outback

Zero to 60 MPH

6.9 sec

8.7 sec

Quarter Mile

15.3 sec

16.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92.2 MPH

86.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the V60 T8 Polestar running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Outback 2.5i (70 city/68 hwy MPGe vs. 26 city/33 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the V60 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the Outback XT:

MPG

V60

FWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/34 hwy

AWD

T8 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl. Hybrid

28 city/33 hwy

RLX

AWD

2.4 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/30 hwy

The V60 T8 Polestar can drive on battery power alone for up to 22 miles. The Outback must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the V60 T8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Outback doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The V60 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 Outback 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 V60 higher (5 to 7 out of 10) than the Subaru Outback (3 to 7). This means the V60 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Outback every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the V60’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Outback:

V60 T5

V60 Polestar Engineered

Outback

Front Rotors

12.7 inches

14.6 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

12.6 inches

11.8 inches

The V60 stops much shorter than the Outback:

V60

Outback

60 to 0 MPH

121 feet

132 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the V60 has larger tires than the Outback (235/45R18 vs. 225/65R17).

The V60’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 Outback Base/Premium’s standard 65 series tires. The V60’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Outback Onyx Edition XT/Limited/Touring’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the V60 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Outback Base/Premium. The V60’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Outback Onyx Edition XT/Limited/Touring.

Suspension and Handling

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The V60 offers an available set of manually adjustable shock absorbers. They allow the driver the manually set the shock absorbers to a stiff setting for amateur competitions and return them to lower levels for a comfortable ride on normal streets. This allows the driver to choose between a comfortable ride or excellent handling during competitions. The Outback’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The V60 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 V60’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 V60 is 1.2 inches wider in the front and .2 inches wider in the rear than on the Outback.

The V60 Inscription AWD handles at .84 G’s, while the Outback Limited XT pulls only .75 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The V60 Inscription AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.7 seconds quicker than the Outback Limited (26.7 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

Chassis

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The V60 is 3.9 inches shorter than the Outback, making the V60 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The V60 is 9.9 inches shorter in height than the Outback, making the V60 much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the V60 easier. The V60’s trunk lift-over height is 26.7 inches, while the Outback’s liftover is 28.4 inches.

Servicing Ease

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The V60 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.

Ergonomics

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The V60 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 V60 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 V60 and the Outback have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the V60 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 V60’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.

If the windows are left open on the V60 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 Outback can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The V60’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 V60 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 V60 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Outback doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The V60’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 V60 Inscription offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Outback.

The V60 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 V60 and the Outback offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the V60 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 V60’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 Outback doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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The V60 is available in both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The Outback doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the V60 is less expensive to operate than the Outback because it costs $73 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the V60 than the Outback, including $114 less for front struts and $19 less for a timing belt/chain.

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

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