2019 Volvo XC90 vs. 2019 Chrysler Pacifica

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC90 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 Chrysler Pacifica doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

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 Pacifica doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the XC90 and Pacifica have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC90 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 Pacifica’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 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. Chrysler doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the Pacifica. 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 Pacifica’s 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 Pacifica doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The XC90 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 Pacifica 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 XC90 offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Pacifica doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

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 Pacifica doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the XC90 and the Pacifica have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front 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, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and available around view monitors.

Warranty

The XC90 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Pacifica’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The XC90’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Pacifica’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC90 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Chrysler doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Pacifica.

Reliability

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the XC90 has a 210-amp alternator. The Pacifica’s standard 160-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the XC90 has a standard 800-amp battery. The Pacifica’s 730-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the XC90 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the XC90’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Pacifica’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volvo vehicles are more reliable than Chrysler vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volvo 22nd in reliability. With 49 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chrysler is ranked 31st.

Engine

The XC90 has more powerful engines than the Pacifica:

 

Horsepower

Torque

XC90 T5 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

250 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

XC90 T6 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

316 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

XC90 T8 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid

400 HP

472 lbs.-ft.

Pacifica Hybrid 3.6 DOHC V6

260 HP

n/a

Pacifica 3.6 DOHC V6

287 HP

262 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the Volvo XC90 is faster than the Chrysler Pacifica V6:

 

XC90 T6

XC90 T8

Pacifica

Zero to 30 MPH

2.3 sec

n/a

2.6 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6 sec

5.3 sec

7.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.5 sec

14.6 sec

19.8 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.1 sec

5.8 sec

7.8 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.4 sec

n/a

4.3 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.6 sec

n/a

5.5 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

14 sec

15.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97 MPH

98 MPH

91 MPH

Top Speed

132 MPH

132 MPH

111 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

 

MPG

XC90

 

FWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/29 hwy

 

AWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

Pacifica

 

FWD

L 3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/28 hwy

 

 

w/Start/Stop 3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/28 hwy

Regardless of its engine, the XC90’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Chrysler only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Pacifica LX/Touring Plus/Touring L/Limited.

The XC90 Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Pacifica Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (18.5 vs. 16.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

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 Chrysler Pacifica (3 to 7). This means the XC90 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Pacifica every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the XC90’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Pacifica:

 

XC90 T5/T6

XC90 T8

Pacifica

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

14.4 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

13.4 inches

13 inches

The XC90’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Pacifica are solid, not vented.

The XC90 stops much shorter than the Pacifica:

 

XC90

Pacifica

 

70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

180 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

126 feet

145 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

145 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the XC90’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Pacifica (275/45R20 vs. 245/50R20).

The XC90 T5’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Pacifica’s standard 65 series tires. The XC90’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Pacifica Limited’s optional 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XC90 T5 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Pacifica. The XC90’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the Pacifica Limited.

Suspension and Handling

The XC90 has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the XC90 flat and controlled during cornering. The Pacifica’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The XC90 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 or off-road. The Pacifica’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

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 Pacifica doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The XC90’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51.7% to 48.3%) than the Pacifica’s (55% to 45%). This gives the XC90 more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the XC90’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the Pacifica’s (38.7 feet vs. 39.7 feet).

Chassis

The XC90 is 8.9 inches shorter than the Pacifica, making the XC90 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The front step up height for the XC90 is .5 inches lower than the Pacifica (15.8” vs. 16.3”). The XC90’s rear step up height is 2.2 inches lower than the Pacifica’s (16” vs. 18.2”).

Towing

The XC90’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the Pacifica’s (4000 vs. 3600 pounds).

While the Pacifica Hybrid is not recommended to tow, any XC90 can tow a minimum of 4000 pounds.

Servicing Ease

The XC90 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Pacifica uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Pacifica Limited, the XC90 R-Design/Inscription/Excellence 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 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 Pacifica doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The XC90’s front power windows open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Pacifica’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

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 Pacifica can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The XC90’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 Pacifica’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the XC90 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Pacifica 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 XC90 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Pacifica doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The XC90 has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The automatic headlight on/off feature is not available on the Pacifica L.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the XC90 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Pacifica doesn’t offer cornering lights. The XC90 also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

A manual rear sunshade is optional in the XC90 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Pacifica doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The XC90 Inscription/Excellence has standard front air conditioned seats and the XC90 Excellence also has them in the second row. This keeps the passengers comfortable and takes the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Pacifica doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats for the second row.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC90 is less expensive to operate than the Pacifica because typical repairs cost much less on the XC90 than the Pacifica, including $375 less for a muffler, $30 less for front brake pads and $350 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Volvo XC90, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels.

Motor Trend selected the XC90 as their 2016 Sport Utility of the Year. The Pacifica has never been chosen.

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

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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