2019 Volvo XC90 vs. 2019 Land Rover Discovery

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 Discovery 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 Land Rover Discovery doesn’t offer 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. Land Rover doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the Discovery. 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 Discovery’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 Discovery 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 Discovery 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.

Both the XC90 and the Discovery have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, driver alert monitors 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 154 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Discovery has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The XC90’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the Discovery’s (12 vs. 6 years).

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. Land Rover only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Discovery.

There are over 72 percent more Volvo dealers than there are Land Rover dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the XC90’s warranty.

Reliability

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 Discovery’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the XC90’s reliability 12 points higher than the Discovery.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Volvo vehicles are better in initial quality than Land Rover vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volvo 29th in initial quality. With 38 more problems per 100 vehicles, Land Rover is ranked 31st.

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 Land Rover vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volvo 22nd in reliability. With 42 more problems per 100 vehicles, Land Rover is ranked 30th.

Engine

The XC90 T8’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 60 more horsepower (400 vs. 340) and 140 lbs.-ft. more torque (472 vs. 332) than the Discovery’s 3.0 supercharged V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 T8 running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Discovery Td6 (59 city/56 hwy MPGe vs. 21 city/26 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 T8 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the Discovery Td6 (24 city/27 hwy vs. 21 city/26 hwy).

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

 

 

 

MPG

XC90

 

FWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/29 hwy

 

AWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

 

 

T6 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4 cyl.

19 city/26 hwy

Discovery

 

AWD

3.0 supercharged V6

16 city/21 hwy

The XC90 T8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 17 miles. The Discovery must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the XC90 T8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Discovery doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

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 Discovery doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the XC90 T8’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Discovery:

 

XC90 T8

Discovery

Front Rotors

14.4 inches

14.2 inches

The XC90 stops much shorter than the Discovery:

 

XC90

Discovery

 

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

137 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

148 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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 Discovery’s standard 65 series tires. The XC90’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Discovery’s optional 40 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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 Discovery’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 Discovery doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the XC90’s wheelbase is 2.5 inches longer than on the Discovery (117.5 inches vs. 115 inches).

The XC90 T6 AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the Discovery HSE Luxury pulls only .69 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The XC90 T6 AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.4 seconds quicker than the Discovery HSE (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 29.2 seconds @ .57 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the XC90’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the Discovery’s (38.7 feet vs. 40.4 feet). The XC90’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter with 22-inch wheels than the Discovery’s (39.7 feet vs. 40.4 feet).

For greater off-road capability the XC90 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Discovery (9.4 vs. 8.7 inches), allowing the XC90 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The XC90 is 5.9 inches narrower than the Discovery, making the XC90 easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

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 Discovery (.36) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the XC90 get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

The XC90 has 1.9 inches more front legroom, .8 inches more rear hip room and 2.9 inches more third row hip room than the Discovery.

Cargo Capacity

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

 

XC90

Discovery

Behind Third Seat

15.9 cubic feet

11.8 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

41.8 cubic feet

40.2 cubic feet

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

 

XC90

Discovery

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

21.8”/49.6”/80.3”

11.8”/44.1”/77.3”

Max Width

54.7”

55.6”

Min Width

44.5”

39.3”

Height

35”

37”

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the XC90. The Discovery doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Ergonomics

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 Discovery doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

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. Heated windshield washer nozzles cost extra on the Discovery.

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

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 Discovery doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

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

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 Discovery has never been chosen.

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

The Volvo XC90 outsold the Land Rover Discovery by over three to one during 2018.

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

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