2019 Volvo XC90 vs. 2019 Toyota 4Runner

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 Toyota 4Runner 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 4Runner 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 Toyota 4Runner doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle seat belts.

Both the XC90 and 4Runner 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 4Runner’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. Toyota doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the 4Runner. 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 4Runner’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The XC90 has standard City Safety and Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The 4Runner doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

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 4Runner 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’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The XC90 offers an optional 360-Degree Surround View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The 4Runner only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The XC90’s blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them and moves the vehicle back into its lane. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

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 4Runner 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 4Runner doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the XC90 uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The 4Runner uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

The XC90 has standard Volvo On Call, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the XC90 and the 4Runner have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Volvo XC90 is safer than the Toyota 4Runner:

 

XC90

4Runner

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

3 Stars

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Volvo XC90 is safer than the 4Runner:

 

XC90

4Runner

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

GOOD

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

37

142

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

12 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

16 cm

18 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

.4/.7 kN

3.9/2.4 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

1%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Tibia index R/L

.24/.41

.95/.85

Tibia forces R/L

1.1/.2 kN

5/2.9 kN

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Volvo XC90 is safer than the Toyota 4Runner:

 

XC90

4Runner

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.7 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

153 G’s

179 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

20 inches

HIC

209

507

Spine Acceleration

29 G’s

43 G’s

Hip Force

383 lbs.

895 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

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 4Runner was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

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 4Runner’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The XC90’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the 4Runner’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC90 for 1 year and 11000 miles longer than Toyota pays for maintenance for the 4Runner (3/36,000 vs. 2/25000).

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 4Runner’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

The XC90 T6’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 46 more horsepower (316 vs. 270) and 17 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 278) than the 4Runner’s 4.0 DOHC V6. The XC90 T8’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 130 more horsepower (400 vs. 270) and 194 lbs.-ft. more torque (472 vs. 278) than the 4Runner’s 4.0 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Volvo XC90 is faster than the Toyota 4Runner:

 

XC90 T6

XC90 T8

4Runner

Zero to 60 MPH

6 sec

5.3 sec

7.8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.5 sec

14.6 sec

22 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.1 sec

5.8 sec

7.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

14 sec

16.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97 MPH

98 MPH

88 MPH

Top Speed

132 MPH

132 MPH

105 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 T8 running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the 4Runner 4WD (59 city/56 hwy MPGe vs. 17 city/20 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 T8 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the 4Runner 4WD (24 city/27 hwy vs. 17 city/20 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 gets better fuel mileage than the 4Runner:

 

 

 

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

4Runner

 

RWD

4.0 DOHC V6

17 city/21 hwy

 

AWD

4.0 DOHC V6

17 city/20 hwy

The XC90 T8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 17 miles. The 4Runner 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 4Runner doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the XC90’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The 4Runner doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop 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 4Runner doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

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 Toyota 4Runner (3). This means the XC90 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the 4Runner every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Volvo XC90, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a five-speed automatic is available for the 4Runner.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the XC90’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 4Runner:

 

XC90 T5/T6

XC90 T8

4Runner

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

14.4 inches

13.3 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

13.4 inches

12.3 inches

The XC90 stops much shorter than the 4Runner:

 

XC90

4Runner

 

70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

201 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

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 4Runner (275/45R20 vs. 265/70R17).

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 4Runner’s standard 70 series tires. The XC90’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the 4Runner Limited’s 60 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 4Runner. The XC90’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels on the 4Runner Limited.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Volvo XC90 has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Toyota 4Runner has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

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 4Runner’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 4Runner doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the XC90’s wheelbase is 7.7 inches longer than on the 4Runner (117.5 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the XC90 is 2.1 inches wider in the front and 2.1 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the 4Runner.

The XC90’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51.7% to 48.3%) than the 4Runner’s (53.6% to 46.4%). This gives the XC90 more stable handling and braking.

The XC90 T6 AWD handles at .84 G’s, while the 4Runner TRD Off-Road pulls only .71 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The XC90 T6 AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.7 seconds quicker than the 4Runner TRD Off-Road (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 29.5 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the XC90 w/Air Suspension has a greater minimum ground clearance than the 4Runner (10.5 vs. 9.6 inches), allowing the XC90 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

Unibody construction lowers the XC90’s center of gravity significantly without reducing ground clearance. This contributes to better on the road handling and better off-road performance and stability. In addition, unibody construction makes the chassis stiffer, improving handling and reducing squeaks and rattles. The 4Runner uses body-on-frame design instead.

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 4Runner (.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 while under full throttle, the interior of the XC90 T6 AWD is quieter than the 4Runner TRD Off-Road (71 vs. 76 dB).

Passenger Space

The XC90 has 4.1 inches more rear legroom, .8 inches more rear hip room, 2 inches more third row headroom, 2.6 inches more third row legroom and 1.6 inches more third row hip room than the 4Runner.

Cargo Capacity

The XC90’s cargo area provides more volume than the 4Runner.

 

XC90

4Runner

Behind Third Seat

15.9 cubic feet

9 cubic feet

The XC90’s cargo area is larger than the 4Runner’s in almost every dimension:

 

XC90

4Runner

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

21.8”/49.6”/80.3”

n.a./42”/66.3”

Max Width

54.7”

57.7”

Min Width

44.5”

42.4”

Height

35”

39.5”

The XC90 has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The 4Runner doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the XC90’s optional third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The 4Runner doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the XC90’s power liftgate can be opened or closed just by waving your foot, leaving your hands completely free. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.

Servicing Ease

The XC90 has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The 4Runner doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

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 4Runner doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The engine computer on the XC90 automatically engages the starter until the car starts with one twist of the key and disables the starter while the engine is running. The 4Runner’s starter can be accidentally engaged while the engine is running, making a grinding noise and possibly damaging the starter and ring gear.

Unlike the driver-only memory seat in the 4Runner 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’s standard Easy Ingress and Egress Seat glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The 4Runner doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

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 4Runner doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the XC90 and the 4Runner have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the XC90 is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The 4Runner prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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 4Runner’s 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 4Runner doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

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 4Runner only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

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 4Runner 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 4Runner has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Limited/TRD Pro.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the XC90 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The 4Runner doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the XC90 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The 4Runner 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 4Runner doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The XC90’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 4Runner’s power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

When the XC90 is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The 4Runner’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The XC90 has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The 4Runner offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Both the XC90 and the 4Runner offer optional heated front seats. The XC90 also offers optional heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated second row seats aren’t available in the 4Runner.

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 4Runner doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats for the second row.

On extremely cold winter days, the XC90’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The XC90 has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the 4Runner Limited.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the XC90 has a standard Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The 4Runner doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

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 4Runner doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC90 is less expensive to operate than the 4Runner because typical repairs cost much less on the XC90 than the 4Runner, including $1110 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 4Runner has never been chosen.

The XC90 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2016. The 4Runner 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 4Runner has never been chosen.

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

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