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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo S90 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Toyota Avalon Hybrid doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
The S90’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Avalon Hybrid doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
Both the S90 and Avalon Hybrid have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The S90 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Avalon Hybrid’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.
The Volvo S90 offers optional built in child booster seats. They’re more crash worthy than an added child seat because of their direct attachment to the seat. Toyota doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the Avalon Hybrid. Their owners must carry a heavy booster seat in and out of the vehicle; S90 owners can just fold their built-in child seat up or down.
The S90 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Avalon Hybrid doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.
The S90 offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Avalon Hybrid doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The S90’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Avalon Hybrid doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the S90 and the Avalon Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and available around view monitors.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the S90 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Avalon Hybrid has not been tested, yet.
The S90 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Avalon Hybrid’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
The S90’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Avalon Hybrid’s (12 vs. 5 years).
Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the S90 for 1 year and 11000 miles longer than Toyota pays for maintenance for the Avalon Hybrid (3/36,000 vs. 2/25000).
To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the S90 has a standard 800-amp battery. The Avalon Hybrid’s 582-amp battery isn’t as powerful.
The S90 T5’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 35 more horsepower (250 vs. 215) than the Avalon Hybrid’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid. The S90 T6’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 101 more horsepower (316 vs. 215) than the Avalon Hybrid’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid. The S90 T8’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 185 more horsepower (400 vs. 215) than the Avalon Hybrid’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.
On the EPA test cycle the S90 T8 running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Avalon Hybrid XLE (70 city/72 hwy MPGe vs. 43 city/44 hwy).
The S90 T8’s maximum driving range in pure electric mode is 21 miles, about 13 times as far as the Avalon Hybrid’s 1.6-mile range.
The S90 T6’s standard fuel tank has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Avalon Hybrid (15.9 vs. 13.2 gallons).
The S90 has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Avalon Hybrid doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.
For better stopping power the S90’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Avalon Hybrid:
The S90’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Avalon Hybrid are solid, not vented.
For better traction, the S90 has larger standard tires than the Avalon Hybrid (245/45R18 vs. 215/55R17). The S90’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Avalon Hybrid (255/35R20 vs. 235/40R18).
The S90’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Avalon Hybrid XLE’s standard 55 series tires. The S90’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Avalon Hybrid Limited’s 40 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S90 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Avalon Hybrid XLE. The S90’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Avalon Hybrid Limited.
The S90 offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Avalon Hybrid’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S90’s wheelbase is 7.5 inches longer than on the Avalon Hybrid (120.5 inches vs. 113 inches).
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the S90 is 1.3 inches wider in the front and .3 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Avalon Hybrid.
The S90 has .1 inches more front legroom, .6 inches more front hip room and .1 inches more rear hip room than the Avalon Hybrid.
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the S90’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Avalon Hybrid doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the S90’s power trunk can be opened just by waving your foot, leaving your hands completely free. The S90’s power trunk can also be opened or closed by pressing a button. The Avalon Hybrid doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.
The S90 has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Avalon Hybrid doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Avalon Hybrid Limited, the S90 Inscription has a passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.
The S90 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Avalon Hybrid doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
If the windows are left open on the S90 the driver can close them all from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Avalon Hybrid can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The S90’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Avalon Hybrid XLE/Touring’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the S90 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Avalon Hybrid doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The S90 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Avalon Hybrid doesn’t offer headlight washers.
To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the S90 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Avalon Hybrid doesn’t offer cornering lights. The S90 also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.
A power rear sunshade is standard in the S90 Inscription to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Avalon Hybrid doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.
The S90 Inscription has standard front air conditioned seats and offers them optionally in the rear. This keeps the passengers comfortable and takes the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Avalon Hybrid doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats in the rear.
The S90 has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Avalon Hybrid doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.
The S90’s optional Park Assist Pilot can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Avalon Hybrid doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
The S90 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2017. The Avalon Hybrid has never been an “All Star.”
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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