Volvo Penta Aquamatic Sterndrive vs. Outboard, Inboard and Jetdrive

The benefits of Sterndrive vs. Outboard


Clean transom means more boating fun

With the sterndrive, your boat’s most valuable space – the transom – offers swim platform accessibility and is open for all kinds of fishing, water sports etc. No big engine takes up space and blocks the way.

Lower emission levels

The tougher US and future EU emission regulations on sterndrives result in lower levels of HC, NOx and CO emissions. Catalysts make Volvo Penta sterndrive engines significantly cleaner.

Better fuel efficiency and longer cruising range

Larger effective propeller blade area and Duoprop make sterndrive engines work more efficiently than outboards. The result is lower fuel consumption and more cruising time at sea at the same cost.

Weight distribution makes the sterndrive more seaworthy

Compared with the outboard engine, the sterndrive engine is placed lower and more forward in the boat. In rough sea conditions, this makes for a more comfortable ride in the sterndrive boat.

Higher theft protection

A sterndrive engine is built into the boat which makes an engine theft very complicated. An engine mounted on the outside of the boat is considerably more attractive to thieves.

The benefits of Sterndrive vs. Inboard

Higher fuel efficiency

Inboards suffer from poor thrust angles and can lose 15–20% of available thrust. Compared with a sterndrive, this results in more power being used to obtain the same boat speed. More power requires more fuel.

Longer cruising range

Sterndrive is more fuel-efficient than the inboard, it offers a longer cruising range and more time at sea at the same cost.

Better maneuverability

The inboard depends on a separate rudder for steering. The stern­drive has steerable thrust and the drive acts as a rudder. Steering is far more effective and responsive especially at low speeds.


Lower emission levels

The higher fuel efficiency of the sterndrive engine offers the environmental benefit of lower overall CO2 emissions.


Trimming gives smoother rides

With the trimmable sterndrive, the thrust angle can be constantly optimized providing a smoother ride. An inboard cannot be trimmed.

Shallow-water capability

A sterndrive can be trimmed to reduce the draft while inboard installations have fixed draft and no possibility to adjust when beaching and running in shallow waters. In case of hitting an obstacle, the drive is designed to kick up while a fixed rudder and propeller shaft experience more damage.

Performance and acceleration

The sterndrive with an optimum thrust angle will provide faster acceleration and higher top speed.

The benefits of Sterndrive vs. Jetdrive

Superior low-speed maneuvering

A sterndrive provides better low-speed steering response. Jet drives require higher thrust levels to achieve good steering response.

Higher fuel efficiency

Compared with a sterndrive, a jet requires more power to reach the same speed. More power requires more fuel.

Trimming gives smoother rides

With the trimmable sterndrive, the thrust angle (direction) can be constantly opti­mized providing a smoother ride and lower fuel costs. A jet drive cannot be trimmed.



Enhanced conditions for tow sports

Sterndrive boats create better wakes for watersports. Jet boats make smaller, flatter wakes which are full of “wash”. This significantly reduces the watersports experience.

Acceleration and load handling

The sterndrive provides quick acceleration throughout the rpm range while a jet is optimized for top speed in a narrow rpm range. This makes acceleration more efficient with sterndrives (Duoprop in particular) and can also handle varying loads such as towing a skier or more people onboard.

stern       stern

Powertrim Assistant

An option for Aquamatic drives with Volvo Penta Electronic Vessel Control (EVC), the Powertrim Assistant trims automatically for a safer, more comfortable ride, rapid acceleration and high top speed. It also results in better fuel economy and lower overall exhaust emissions.

Learn more about Powertrain Assistant

Joystick Docking & Driving

The buttons on the joystick put a unique combination of functions within your easy reach. Joystick Driving, Joystick Docking and High Mode offer easier handling, increased safety and more joy.

Learn more about Joystick Driving

Learn more about Joystick Docking
ips       ips

More time for boating
With Volvo Penta, you need just one single contact for the whole package: engines, transmissions, instruments, accessories, service, warranties, etc. This means simpler ownership – and more time for boating.

Learn more about Volvo Penta Dealer Network

    One system – One supplier
All Volvo Penta products – propellers, drives, engines, controls, instruments, accessories, etc. – are developed for perfect interaction and optimal performance. For you, it means one single contact for the whole package, not least service and support. It’s safe, secure and simple.

Learn more about the advantages of Volvo Penta