Volvo Penta vs Mercruiser: Which One Is Better? Comparison Guideline

Comparison Guideline Boat penta

If you’re a boat enthusiast, Volvo Penta and Mercruiser must be on your list. Every boat owner wants the best power source for their boats. Volvo Penta and Mercruiser both have good competition among consumers for their sterndrive motor quality.

But you obviously can’t get both. You have to pick one among these two.

So, which one is better, Volvo Penta vs Mercruiser?

Volvo is leveraging the auto industry. And it is more advanced in new techniques, cone clutch shifting, and fuel efficiency. The best thing that makes Volvo Penta different from others is its lightweight. On the other hand, Mercruiser has more excellency in power, usage, budget-friendly, and boost in performance.

If you want to get a proper comparison guideline, this article is right for you.

Like the overview? Then let’s dive into the depth of the Volvo Penta vs Mercruiser comparisons.

What is a Stern Drive?

Stern Drive

A Stern Drive Engine is a type of engine that utilizes the Stern principle. The Stern principle states that the pressure in a vessel increases as the flow rate through the vessel decreases. This principle is used to create an engine with a more efficient design.

The Stern drive engine uses this principle to create an engine with a more efficient design. The engine has two pistons located on each side of the cylinder head, and these pistons are connected by a connecting rod.

The piston on one side of the cylinder head moves up and down, while the piston on the other side moves up and down. The difference in movement between these two pistons creates a flow of air into and out of the cylinder, which powers the engine.

Volvo Penta vs Mercruiser: Basic Differences

Volvo Penta introduced the sterndrive before Mercruiser in 1982. Following that, Mercruiser later launched the sterndrive. Comparing Mercruiser and Volvo Penta is like comparing marine tex and JB weld. They both have healthy consumer competition in the market. There are certain specific differences between them.

Let’s discuss some of their essential characteristics before jumping straight to the technical stuff.

Differences: Volvo Penta Mercruiser
Weight: Lighter Heavier
Corrosion Resistance: More resistant Less Resistant
Features: More unique Less unique
Cost: Expensive Budget-friendly
Usage: Less user-friendly More user-friendly

Volvo Penta vs Mercruiser: Detailed Comparison

The basic characteristics and differences may not be enough for you to make a decision. That’s why we got into the depth of these factors and compared the features This will help you get a detailed idea about them, and you’ll be able to make your choice.

Let’s get started!

Corrosion resistance

Volvo Penta and Mercruiser both companies have good corrosion-resistant quality in their sterndrives. But earlier versions of Mercruisers did have some corrosion problems.

However, they now supply excellent corrosion-resistant sterndrives. The bravo models are good corrosion-resistant. Although Volvo Penta has always performed better in this case.

So, it’s obvious that Volvo Penta is a step ahead in this section

Unique Features

Volvo Penta has quite a few unique features. It has a patented hydraulic as well as an X-act steering system.

Mercruiser on the other hand does not have many unique features. Their limiter switch and warning alarm are mentionable.

So, Volvo Penta takes the lead in terms of having unique features.


Volvo Penta has more unique features and premium parts. That is why it is comparatively costly.

On the other hand, Mercruiser is less expensive than Volvo Penta. The parts and tools are easily affordable and available on Mercruiser boards. And Mercruiser is more budget-friendly.

So, Mercruiser is more budget-friendly than Volvo Penta.


Volvo Penta

The function of the Volvo Penta is quite complicated. Many people don’t get the operating system easily.

On the other hand, Mercruiser has a simple operative system. And anyone can easily use it.

So Mercruiser is comparatively more user-friendly than Volvo Penta.

Maintenance & Cost

Maintenance is another important factor when it comes to choosing the better sterndrive. The maintenance cost is not similar for Volvo Penta and Mercruiser. Since Mercruiser is less expensive than Volvo Penta, it is easier to maintain. Also, the availability is better for Mercruiser body parts and mechanical tools.

On the other hand, the maintenance cost is a little higher for Volvo Penta. However, it differs from place to place. And it is not available everywhere. Moreover, you might extra maintenance tools for them.


You can be quite confused while comparing their weight just like Simrad and Lowrance.

Generally, a 5.7 Volvo Penta weighs 1070 IBs and Mercruiser weighs 1122 Ibs. Volvo Penta sterndrives are comparatively lighter in weight. However, there are lots of models available in both Volvo Penta and Mercruiser, so it can vary.

But comparatively, Mercruiser sterndrives are heavier than Volvo Penta.


Volvo Penta and Mercruiser both have a good service and both the companies provide 4-5 years warranty. Though experienced consumers share that Volvo Penta doesn’t need servicing much.

Mercruiser on the other hand often needs servicing. And the clients often complain about technical problems or outboard problems of Mercruiser. However, most of the time, you can solve mercury outboard problems on your own.

These are the differences we can mention while comparing Volvo Penta and Mercruiser boat engines.

Final Verdict

Considering the discussion above, you can now differentiate the inboards easily. However, which one will be better for you, depends on your requirements.

If you’re looking for the best quality, high maintenance, and a premium level inboard, go for Volvo Penta. But it’ll cost you more.

If you’re looking for a mid-range budget inboard, Mercruiser is the right choice for you. It is also a good quality sterndrive. However, it may face technical problems, like Yamaha outboards. But it lasts for a long time if you take care of it.

So now you can make your choice quite easily. Hope this was helpful!


1. Is Volvo Outdrives worth buying?

Yes, they are worth buying. The product quality and service are very appreciated. But they are a little expensive and unaffordable for some people. So, if you want to buy it, you have set your mind so that you will be able to bear the cost.

2. How many hours does a Mercruiser last?

Generally, a standard Mercruiser inboard or sterndrive engine lasts for around 1000 hours. However, different models have different durability. Also, it highly depends on the maintenance and the running hours.

3. Is Volvo Penta out of business?

Currently, Volvo Penta has put on hold their outboard development. They had decided to call off seven marine engine production on 1st January 2024. And also, they will phase out the product when they will meet all the customers’ demands.

4. Who makes Volvo Penta engines?

Volvo Penta engines are made by two different companies, Volvo Penta and Saab. Volvo Penta engines are built in Trollhättan, Sweden, and Saab engines are built in Linköping, Sweden.

5. What is the most reliable boat motor brand?

There are many boat motor brands that are reliable and provide quality boats. Some of the more popular boat motor brands include Johnson, Yamaha, Mercury, and of course, Volvo Penta. These brands offer a variety of motors that can be used in a variety of boats. It is important to choose a boat motor brand that is reliable and has a reputation for providing high-quality products.

6. Are MerCruiser engines reliable?

MerCruiser engines have been a popular choice for boaters for many years, and for good reason. They are reliable and provide plenty of power. However, there are some things you can do to help ensure that your MerCruiser engine is always running smoothly.

Here are some tips:

  • Regularly check the oil level and filter
  • Check the spark plugs and replace them as needed
  • Perform regular maintenance


We hope we were able to help you to clear the confusion on Volvo Penta vs. Mercruiser. The requirement varies from person to person.

Choose the suitable one according to your needs, knowing the proper comparison of these two inboards.

All the best with your new sterndrive!

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