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In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Highlander are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The XC90 doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Highlander Limited/Platinum has standard Automated Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The XC90 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
Both the Highlander and the XC90 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.
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 vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Highlander the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The XC90 has not been fully tested, yet.
Toyota’s powertrain warranty covers the Highlander 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Volvo covers the XC90. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the XC90 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 Highlander’s warranty.
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.
The Highlander’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 45 more horsepower (295 vs. 250) and 5 lbs.-ft. more torque (263 vs. 258) than the XC90 T5’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Toyota Highlander uses regular unleaded gasoline. The XC90 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The front and rear suspension of the Highlander uses coil springs for better ride, handling and control than the XC90, 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 Highlander’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the XC90 w/19” wheels’ (37.4 feet vs. 38.7 feet). The Highlander’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the XC90 w/22” wheels’ (37.4 feet vs. 39.7 feet).
The Highlander has standard seating for 8 passengers; the XC90 can only carry 7.
The Highlander has 2.3 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more front legroom, 1.2 inches more front hip room, 1.3 inches more front shoulder room, .9 inches more rear headroom, 4 inches more rear legroom, .5 inches more rear hip room, 2.2 inches more rear shoulder room, .7 inches more third row hip room and 8.1 inches more third row shoulder room than the XC90.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Highlander’s middle and third row seats recline. The XC90’s third row seats don’t recline.
The Highlander’s cargo area provides more volume than the XC90.
Behind Third Seat
16 cubic feet
12.6 cubic feet
Third Seat Folded
48.4 cubic feet
35.6 cubic feet
Second Seat Folded
84.3 cubic feet
65.5 cubic feet
The Highlander’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the XC90’s (5000 vs. 4000 pounds).
The Highlander has a higher standard payload capacity than the XC90 (1330 vs. 1210 lbs.).
A maintenance reminder system is standard on the Highlander to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes, air filter replacement, tire rotation, radiator flush, brake pad replacement and transmission fluid replacement 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 XC90.
The Highlander’s front and rear power windows all 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 XC90’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.
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 Highlander’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the XC90’s headlights are rated “Acceptable.”
To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Highlander has standard extendable sun visors. The XC90 doesn’t offer extendable visors.
To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Toyota Highlander XLE/Limited/Platinum has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The XC90 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
The Toyota Highlander outsold the Volvo XC90 by almost seven to one during 2019.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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