2019 Volvo XC90 vs. 2018 Porsche Cayenne

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The XC90’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Cayenne doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC90 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Porsche Cayenne has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

The Volvo XC90 offers an optional built in child booster seat. It’s more crash worthy than an added child seat because of its direct attachment to the seat. Porsche doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the Cayenne. Their owners must carry a heavy booster seat in and out of the vehicle; XC90 owners can just fold their built-in child seat up or down.

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the XC90 deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The XC90’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The Cayenne’s side airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The XC90 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The Cayenne doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

To help make backing safer, the XC90’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Cayenne doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The XC90’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 Cayenne doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the XC90 and the Cayenne have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights 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 XC90 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 149 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Cayenne has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC90 for 2 years and 26000 miles longer than Porsche pays for maintenance for the Cayenne (3/36,000 vs. 1/10,000).

There are over 57 percent more Volvo dealers than there are Porsche dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the XC90’s warranty.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the XC90 T8 running on a full charge gets better fuel mileage than the Cayenne S E-Hybrid running on electricity (63 city/61 hwy MPGe vs. 47 city/46 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 T8 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the Cayenne S E-Hybrid running its gasoline engine (26 city/30 hwy vs. 21 city/24 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 gets better fuel mileage than the Cayenne:

 

 

XC90

Cayenne

 

2WD

T5/Auto

21 city/29 hwy

n/a

 

4WD

T5/Auto

20 city/27 hwy

18 city/24 hwy

V6/Auto

 

T6/Auto

20 city/27 hwy

17 city/24 hwy

S/Auto

 

 

n/a

16 city/23 hwy

GTS/Auto

 

 

n/a

14 city/21 hwy

Turbo/Auto

The XC90 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 Cayenne doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volvo XC90 higher (5 to 7 out of 10) than the Porsche Cayenne (1 to 3). This means the XC90 produces up to 47 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Cayenne every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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The XC90 stops shorter than the Cayenne:

 

XC90

Cayenne

 

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

116 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

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The XC90 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The XC90’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Cayenne doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the XC90’s wheelbase is 3.5 inches longer than on the Cayenne (117.5 inches vs. 114 inches).

For greater off-road capability the XC90 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Cayenne (9.4 vs. 8.5 inches), allowing the XC90 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The design of the Volvo XC90 amounts to more than styling. The XC90 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .33 Cd. That is lower than the Cayenne (.35 to .36) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the XC90 get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the XC90 T6 AWD is quieter than the Cayenne Turbo S:

 

XC90

Cayenne

Full-Throttle

71 dB

81 dB

70 MPH Cruising

67 dB

70 dB

Passenger Space

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The XC90 has standard seating for 7 passengers; the Cayenne can only carry 5.

The XC90 has .3 inches more front legroom and 1 inch more rear legroom than the Cayenne.

The front step up height for the XC90 is 2.9 inches lower than the Cayenne (15.8” vs. 18.7”). The XC90’s rear step up height is 3.5 inches lower than the Cayenne’s (16” vs. 19.5”).

Cargo Capacity

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The XC90’s cargo area provides more volume than the Cayenne.

 

XC90

Cayenne

Third Seat Folded

41.8 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

23.6 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

85.7 cubic feet

62.9 cubic feet

The XC90’s cargo area is larger than the Cayenne’s in every dimension:

 

XC90

Cayenne

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

21.8”/49.6”/80.3”

n.a./38.4”/74”

Max Width

54.7”

45.6”

Min Width

44.5”

44.1”

Height

35”

31”

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the XC90’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by waving your foot, leaving your hands completely free. The Cayenne doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

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While the Cayenne S E-Hybrid is not recommended to tow, any XC90 can tow a minimum of 4000 pounds.

Ergonomics

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The XC90 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 Cayenne doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The XC90’s standard Easy Ingress and Egress Seat glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. An easy entry system costs extra on the Cayenne.

The XC90 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Cayenne doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

If the windows are left open on the XC90 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. 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 Cayenne can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the XC90 has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Cayenne only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

The XC90 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 Cayenne doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The XC90’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 Cayenne doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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The XC90 is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Cayenne doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the XC90 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the XC90 will cost $2869 less than the Cayenne over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Volvo XC90 will be $6054 to $34475 less than for the Porsche Cayenne.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/05/28

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Volvo XC90, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels. The Porsche Cayenne isn't recommended.

Motor Trend selected the XC90 as their 2016 Sport Utility of the Year. The Cayenne was Sport Utility of the Year in 2011.

The XC90 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2016. The Cayenne has never been an “All Star.”

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the XC90 as the 2016 North American Truck of the Year. The Cayenne has never been chosen.

The Volvo XC90 outsold the Porsche Cayenne by over two to one during 2017.

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