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Old 09-18-2001, 02:23 AM   #12
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Member#: 3996
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Finland, Europe

The original post was by me... a few months back, and it's a swedish test, not german. I couldn't find it on the USMB either, but here's the translation once again. BTW, I read another swedish test also, and that wasn't as "nice" as this one. They took a few AWD's and drove around with them for quite a while in different weather conditions, the Impreza was more or less considered the worst AWD of the bunch... here's the link, in swedish

Another thing, there was a discussion on the USMB after I did the translation that they got the Subaru from 0-100km/h in just 7,7seconds, which sounds weird, go figure...

The translation of the Subaru Outback 2.5 vs. Volvo V70 Cross Country test:

spray bilnytt

Subaru Outback 2.5 vs. Volvo V70 Cross Country

Superiority in the mud
When we tested 5 different four-wheel driven cars a while back, we noticed that Volvo Cross Country refused to pull with its rear wheels. The system didnít put any power to the rear axle even when the front wheels were put on free-rolling rolls to simulate slippery conditions. The other cars performed variously in the test, but Volvo was clearly the worst one. Volvo told us that we couldnít test their four-wheel drive system like we had done, so we did a new test, this time in real-life and under real conditions. Is Cross Country four-wheel driven?

Ring Knutstorp has quite an easy off-road track that resembles a muddy and hilly forest road. A typical terrain for four-wheel driven cars of the type Volvo represents. They are not actual terrain cars, they canít manage climbing over logs and rocks or deep wading, but they should definitely manage a forest road without getting stuck.

Subaru the first one
Subaru was the first one to lift the suspension on their wagon, mount some tough moldings and thus heavily lean towards an off road-look, the new model was named Legacy Outback. Volvo realized the smartness in this concept, and quickly followed with V70 Cross Country, thatís why we wanted to use a Subaru Legacy Outback as comparison.
Outback and Cross Country are quite alike. They are equally long, they both have a similar wheel mounting and suspension, and the engines have almost exactly the same volume. Volvo has a 10cm longer wheelbase and the car is also 10cm wider. Volvo has a 200hp turbo-five engine while Subaru has a nice 156hp boxer-four. Both test cars were also equipped with auto-transmission and rolled on Pirelli friction tires to give good conditions for the comparison.

Heavy pricing
A more effective engine means higher top speed, Cross Country tops 210km/h while Outback is somewhat slower with its 197km/h. Subaru, however, accelerates quicker; 0-100km/h in 7,7 seconds Ė Volvo needs 8,6 seconds. Volvo charges quite a lot for the 44hp power advantage; Cross Country costs 315.900, 61.000 more than Legacy Outback, which costs 254.900. Still the Japanese is more comprehensively equipped than the Swede, air-conditioning and alloy wheels are standard, but cost extra on Volvo. Warranty is also better on Subaru, 3 years or 100.000 km against 1 year on Volvo. Volvo, on the other hand, has a non-rust-warranty good for 8 years compared to 6 year on the Japanese.

Volvo is, however, a much more beautiful car, it looks very cool from a front view with the covered nose, wide wheel track and low roofline, while Subaru is more a car of the 90s with its strict lines. The interior is quite similar on both cars with a plastic touch. Subaru has improved here, while Volvo still is missing the Audi-class on the interior.

Nothing dramatical, no wheel spin
Back to business, or back to the mud would be a more appropriate expression. The conditions were quite dry, it was possible to walk on the forest road without plunging through, and it didnít look very hard to drive on. With the Subaru there were really no problems driving up the hills (the only difficult parts on the track), just in with the gear and then cautiously up the hill. Nothing un-expected here, Subaru behaved exactly like a true four-wheel driven car with some terrain-capability should under theses circumstances.

With the Volvo we got stuck in the first up-hill, you can see from the QuickTime Ėmovie that the hill isnít especially steep or demanding, but Cross Country started to spin the front wheels, and exactly like in our previous test, the rear wheels didnít pull at all. The electronics didnít help whatsoever. The front wheels kept on digging deeper and deeper, smoke was rising from the tires, but the rear wheels didnít pull. After standing there a few minutes with spinning front wheels, there was a feeling that the rear wheels tried to act, but by then we were totally stuck and had to come back down.

Then we tested the cars on the same forest road with a trailer carrying a 200kg load. In other words an easy load for these cars capable of a 1.800kg trailer. No problems for Subaru, it was easy to turn and correct the trailer, a typical action to get a two-wheel driven car stuck. With the Volvo it was the same story all over again. At an early state it started to spin the front wheels and got no help from the rear wheels. The car got hopelessly stuck.

The final result
In conclusion, the results were the same as in laboratory conditions on a road of rolls. Volvo V70 Cross Country might be a nice, good looking and drivable car, but the four-wheel drive system is under all critics. If youíre a really capable driver you can come quite far with the front wheel drive, it really can manage a lot more than one could expect, but the idea with four-wheel drive is that you never get stuck, not even a novice driver on a muddy road with a trailer. Subaru Legacy Outback, however, is a true four-wheel driven car that wonít let you down.

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