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  5. 2020 Subaru Outback vs. 2020 Volvo V60

John Coyle | Oct 16, 2019

Today, we've got a face off between two relative rarities in the American market - station wagons!

In this corner, we have the 2020 Subaru Outback, a go-anywhere wagon that's been rocking the longroof style for over a quarter century, and it's all new for the model year.

In the opposing corner, we have the 2020 Volvo V60, a machine that's as sleek as the company's '80s efforts were boxy. 2020 models get a new trim level and a plug-in hybrid option.

Both the Subaru and the Volvo are great choices if you want crossover cargo room and car-like handling. So let's take a look at the engines, cabins, infotainment, and price to determine a winner!


First, let’s look at the powertrains. With the Subaru drivers get a choice of two engines, a 2.5-liter four cylinder good for 182 horsepower, and a turbocharged 2.4-liter unit which produces 260 horsepower. A CVT is the only transmission, and power gets routed to all four wheels through Subaru’s legendary all-wheel system. The base engine delivers 26 miles per gallon and 33 highway, which drops to 23 city 30 highway with the more robust engine.

The Volvo V60 also offers two powertrains. Base models come with turbocharged 2.0-liter four cylinder which pumps out 250 horsepower. There's also a plug-in hybrid model, which ups the ante to 415 horsepower. Both models feature a conventional eight-speed automatic transmission. At that point, there aren't any EPA numbers on the beefier set up, but base model is rated at 23 city, 34 highway in two-wheel drive spec, and 22 city, 31 highway when equipped with all-wheel drive.

While the base Subaru is tad more powerful and fuel efficient, we like the big power and hybrid option Volvo offers, along with the eight-speed auto. So we’re going to give the win to Volvo.

Shop Subaru Outback Inventory

Cabin Interiors

Next, let’s look at the cabins. In recent years, Subaru has put a lot of effort into giving the interiors of its vehicles a premium feel, and all the effort has paid off handsomely. Every trim level of the Outback is loaded with soft-tough materials, and while large, the infotainment screen is well integrated. There’s also plenty of room in the cabin, and even drivers on the taller side will be more than comfortable. This also translated to cargo room, as there’s 35.4 cubic-feet available with the rear seat up, and 76.1 with it folded.

The cabin of the Volvo is also a nice place to be. Volvo no longer wants to be a niche player, and its new vehicles are decidedly upscale. Leather is standard, there’s a modern feel throughout, and the attractive wood accents provide a touch of old-world luxury. That said, cargo space isn’t nearly as generous as the Subaru’s. With the rear seats up, there’s 23 cubic-feet of space, which climbs to 51 cubic-feet with them lowered.

While we like the feel of the Volvo’s cabin, overall we’re going to give the win to the Subaru. It might not have all the style of the Volvo, but with high-quality materials, comfortable seats, and cavernous storage, it won us over.

Shop Volvo V6 Inventory

Infotainment Systems

In regards to infotainment, the Subaru comes standard with a 9-inch touchscreen, along with must-haves like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, and satellite radio. But tech fans will want to upgrade to the larger 11.6-inch screen, which along with looking trick makes it easier to navigate all the various menus.

At nine inches, the Volvo’s screen is bigger than the Outback’s standard unit, but significantly smaller than the upgraded one. Apple CarPlay and Android auto are standard here as well, as is satellite radio. Unfortunately, there are no physical buttons or dials for the climate control.

While each of these systems will take some getting used to, overall, we like the execution in the Outback better. So Subaru gets the win here.

Shop Subaru Outback Inventory

Value and Price

Now, let’s look at safety. Since the Outback is brand new, it hasn’t been tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. However, it does come standard with Subaru’s EyeSight suite of safety systems, which includes, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, and lane departure warning. Additional safety features like blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert are optional.

Crash tests aren’t yet available for the Volvo either. But it also comes standard with a long list of safety features, including forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, road departure mitigation, and forward automatic emergency braking. Additional features, like reverse automatic emergency braking and automatic headlights are available as options.

Since neither vehicle has been safety rated as of yet, and since both come with loads of safety tech, we’re going to call the safety comparison a draw.

Shop Volvo V6 Inventory
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Overall, this is a tough comparison, particularly because we love wagons, and don't like to see them fight. But while we like the power of the Volvo's available plug-in hybrid, we think the Subaru's lower cost of entry, fantastic cargo capacity, and better infotainment win the day.

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Of course, you shouldn't buy a truck without a thorough test drive. So if you're looking to check out a Subaru Outback or the Volvo V60, find an AutoNation dealership near you!

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