2020 Toyota Avalon vs. 2020 Volvo S90

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Avalon Limited/Touring offers optional Rear Cross-Traffic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The S90 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the Avalon and the S90 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear 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, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, 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 IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Avalon its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 82 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The S90 was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

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Toyota’s powertrain warranty covers the Avalon 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Volvo covers the S90. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the S90 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 4 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Volvo dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Avalon’s warranty.

Reliability

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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 Avalon’s reliability 48 points higher than the S90.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Avalon second among large cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The S90 isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are better in initial quality than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 28th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 96 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 29th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota third in reliability. Volvo is ranked 24th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Avalon XLE gets better fuel mileage than the S90 T6 4 cyl. (22 city/32 hwy vs. 21 city/31 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Toyota Avalon uses regular unleaded gasoline. The S90 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Avalon XLE’s standard fuel tank has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the S90 T8 Plug-In Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (14.5 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Suspension and Handling

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The front and rear suspension of the Avalon uses coil springs for better ride, handling and control than the S90, which uses transverse leafs springs in the rear. Coil springs compress more progressively and offer more suspension travel for a smoother ride with less bottoming out.

For better maneuverability, the Avalon XLE’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the S90 18” wheels’ (37.7 feet vs. 38.7 feet). The Avalon Limited/Touring’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the S90 19” wheels’ (38.7 feet vs. 40 feet).

Chassis

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The Toyota Avalon may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 900 pounds less than the Volvo S90.

The Avalon is 4.2 inches shorter than the S90, making the Avalon easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Toyota Avalon amounts to more than styling. The Avalon has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .27 Cd. That is lower than the S90 (.28 to .33) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Avalon get better fuel mileage.

The Avalon offers available computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The S90 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The Avalon has 2.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the S90 (104.3 vs. 102).

The Avalon has .8 inches more front shoulder room and 1.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the S90.

Cargo Capacity

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The Avalon has a much larger trunk than the S90 (16.1 vs. 13.5 cubic feet).

The Avalon’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The S90 Luxury Package doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

Servicing Ease

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A maintenance reminder system is standard on the Avalon to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Volvo doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the S90.

Ergonomics

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The Avalon Limited/Touring’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The S90 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Avalon’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the S90’s headlights are rated “Marginal.”

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Avalon has standard extendable sun visors. The S90 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Toyota Avalon offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The S90 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Avalon owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Avalon will cost $2320 to $6880 less than the S90 over a five-year period.

The Avalon will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Avalon will retain 42.3% to 43.91% of its original price after five years, while the S90 only retains 34.71% to 35.74%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Toyota Avalon will be $19369 to $33156 less than for the Volvo S90.

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 2020/05/29

Consumer Reports® chose the Toyota Avalon as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Volvo S90 isn't recommended.

The Toyota Avalon outsold the Volvo 90 Series by almost seven to one during 2019.

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

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