Volvo vs Subaru Brand Comparison at Motorcars Volvo

Now more than ever before, shoppers looking for their next vehicle have more brands and more vehicles to choose from. If you're searching for a vehicle that combines safety, versatility, value, and cutting-edge technology -- the first two manufacturers that come to mind are often Volvo and Subaru. While they might appear as equals at first glance, a closer look reveals some key differences between them. To help illustrate why Volvo is the better choice compared to Subaru, our team at Motorcars Volvo Cars has assembled this informative brand comparison guide.

Volvo XC40 Recharge

Electric Powertrain Innovation

It's hard to ignore the benefits of making the switch to an all-electric vehicle. From smooth, seamless power delivery to benefits that impact both your wallet and the environment -- it's only natural that driving an EV has sparked your interest. Volvo continues to set the benchmark for the industry when it comes to pioneering electrified powertrains. If you look at the Subaru lineup, you'll be disappointed to find just a single plug-in hybrid model.

For comparison, Volvo currently fields a comprehensive lineup of five hybrid models along with two all-electric models ranging from sedans and wagons to SUVs. Regardless of your lifestyle or driving habits, Volvo is the clear choice when it comes to electrified efficiency.

Current Volvo Hybrids & EVs
  • S60 Recharge
  • S90 Recharge
  • V60 Recharge
  • XC40 Recharge
  • XC60 Recharge
  • XC90 Recharge
  • C40 Recharge
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Volvo Model Lineup


No brand has become more synonymous with pioneering life-saving safety technologies quite like Volvo. From day one, Volvo has remained committed to protecting the lives of its drivers and that very same dedication continues to this very day. When tested by experts at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the results clearly speak for themselves.

For 2021, Volvo earned a 5-star safety rating for a total of 11 models. The 5-Star Safety Ratings program evaluates how vehicles perform in crash tests. NHTSA performs frontal, side, and rollover tests because these types account for the majority of crashes on America's roadways.

The following Volvo models received 5-Star ratings:
  • 2021 Volvo S60 T5
  • 2021 Volvo S60 T6 AWD
  • 2021 Volvo V60 T5
  • 2021 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD
  • 2021 Volvo V60 T5 AWD Cross Country
  • 2021 Volvo XC40 T4
  • 2021 Volvo XC60 T5 / T5 AWD
  • 2021 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD
  • 2021 Volvo XC90 T5 / T5 AWD
  • 2021 Volvo XC90 T6 AWD
  • 2021 Volvo XC90 Recharge T8 eAWD

Volvo XC40 vs Subaru Forester

Volvo XC40 Subaru Forester
2021 Volvo XC40 T4 Momentum VS. 2021 Subaru Forester Touring
$33,700 ✓ MSRP $34,895
187 HP / 221 LB-FT TQ ✓ Horsepower / Torque 182 HP / 176 LB-FT TQ
9-inch ✓ Touchscreen Display Size 8-inch
Standard ✓Traffic Sign Recognition Not Available
Standard ✓ Power Folding Mirrors Not Available
Standard ✓Auto-Dimming Rear-View Mirror Optional
Standard ✓Rain-Sensing Windshield Wipers Not Available
Standard Rear Park Assist ✓Parking Sensors Not Available
Volvo Care Key ✓Restricted Driving Mode Not Available
4 Years / 50,000 Miles ✓Basic Warranty Coverage3 Years / 36,000 Miles

In this matchup of compact SUVs, the luxurious Volvo XC40 takes on the Subaru Forester. Even with over $1,000 in savings right from the start, the benefits of choosing Volvo over Subaru continue to add up as we take a closer look at these two SUVs side-by-side.

When it comes to performance, the clear choice is the XC40. It delivers superior horsepower and torque ratings compared to the Forester for a more rewarding experience behind the wheel. Power-folding exterior mirrors are another reason to choose the XC40 over the Forester.

Transitioning to the interior, you'll also enjoy a larger 9-inch touchscreen display. Rain-sensing windshield wipers also offer both convenience and additional safety during rainy or snowy driving conditions. Similarly, standard Rear Park Assist can be especially helpful when trying to squeeze in or out of a tight parking space. Perfect for a teen driver, the XC40 comes standard with the innovative Volvo Care Key with pre-configured settings and tracking capabilities to help encourage safe driving. Finally, the standard basic warranty coverage provided by Volvo far exceeds what you'll get from Subaru.

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Volvo XC60 vs Subaru Ascent

Volvo XC60 Subaru Ascent
2021 Volvo XC60 T6 Momentum VS. 2021 Subaru Ascent Touring
$47,500 MSRP $45,445
316 HP / 295 LB-FT TQ ✓ Horsepower / Torque 260 HP / 277 LB-FT TQ
Geartronic 8-speed automatic ✓ Transmission CVT
Corner Traction Control (brake actuated) ✓Limited Slip Differential (Torque Vectoring) Not Available
20 / 27 / 23 ✓ MPG (city/hwy/combined) 20 / 26 / 22
9-inch ✓Touchscreen Display Size 8-inch
Standard ✓Traffic Sign Recognition Not Available
Standard Rear Park Assist ✓Parking Sensors Not Available
Volvo Care Key ✓Restricted Driving Mode Not Available
4 Years / 50,000 Miles ✓Basic Warranty Coverage 3 Years / 36,000 Miles
3 Years / 36,000 Miles ✓Complimentary Scheduled Maintenance Not Available
4 Years / Unlimited Mileage ✓Roadside Assistance 3 Years / 36,000 Miles

In our second matchup, the dynamic Volvo XC60 goes up against another one of its most formidable rivals -- the Subaru Ascent. While the Ascent has an ever so slight price advantage over the XC60, a closer look reveals that choosing the Subaru can actually be a costly mistake.

Beneath the hood, the XC60 T6 Momentum delivers a robust 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. That's a sizable advantage compared to the Ascent. Similarly, you'll enjoy the responsiveness and efficiency that comes from its standard Geartronic 8-speed automatic transmission. The CVT included on the Ascent offers questionable long-term durability and lack of response under acceleration. Corner Traction Control included as standard on the XC60 helps improve stability in slippery conditions. To top it all off, the Volvo XC60 offers superior highway and combined fuel economy ratings compared to the Ascent.

Shifting focus towards the interior, the 9-inch Sensus touchscreen display inside the Volvo XC60 is larger and more elegantly integrated into the dashboard. Traffic Sign Recognition, also included as standard, helps you stay informed of local speed limits. Rear Park Assist helps add confidence when squeezing in or out of a tight parking space. Volvo Care Key offers the perfect solution for helping a teen driver learn safe driving habits. These great features are not offered on the Subaru Ascent.

Helping to bolster long-term peace of mind and confidence behind the wheel, the Volvo basic warranty coverage far exceeds what you'll receive from Subaru. You'll also appreciate a longer coverage term for roadside assistance. Last but certainly not least, Volvo includes complimentary scheduled maintenance for your first three years of ownership. Subaru drivers will have to pay out of pocket for scheduled maintenance services.

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Volvo XC90 Car of the Decade Award

Car of the Decade Award - Volvo XC90

Volvo has continued to engineer some of the most desirable, innovative, and stylish vehicles in the industry. The team of expert designers and engineers at Volvo work tirelessly to produce some of the most coveted luxury models available on the market. Their efforts have certainly not gone unnoticed by top automotive critics.

Autotrader, the most recognized third-party car listings brand, has recently given Volvo some of the highest praise that a manufacturer can receive. A truly remarkable honor, the Volvo XC90 luxury SUV was named a Car of the Decade by experts at Autotrader. The current generation XC90 debuted in 2015, was refreshed in 2020, and remains the brand's best-selling model.

"The Volvo XC90 is one of the best cars of the decade because it's a spectacular luxury SUV that kicked off a long line of fresh new vehicles forever changing the course of the Volvo brand," said Brian Moody, executive editor for Autotrader. "The XC90 effectively elevates the entire brand to a true luxury position, it's the full embodiment of all that Volvo can do right. The XC90 is a perfect example of how design restraint actually adds to the allure of a given vehicle. Both inside and out, the Volvo XC90 is tasteful and luxurious."