2020 Toyota Prius Prime 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 Prius Prime Limited has standard Parking Support Brake 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 Prius Prime and the S90 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, its “Acceptable” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Prius Prime the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 138 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The S90 was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

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Toyota’s powertrain warranty covers the Prius Prime 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 Prius Prime’s warranty.

Reliability

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The S90’s redline is at 6000 RPM, which causes more engine wear, and a greater chance of a catastrophic engine failure. The Prius Prime has a 4000-RPM redline.

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 Prius Prime’s reliability 61 points higher than the S90.

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 Prius Prime running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the S90 T8 running on electricity (145 city/121 hwy vs. 58 city/64 hwy MPGe).

On the EPA test cycle the Prius Prime running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the S90 running its gasoline engine:

MPG

Prius Prime

1.8 4-cyl. Hybrid

55 city/53 hwy

S90

T6 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl.

21 city/31 hwy

T8 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl. Hybrid

28 city/31 hwy

The Prius Prime’s maximum driving range in pure electric mode is 25 miles, 19% further than the S90 T8’s 21-mile range.

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

Transmission

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The Prius Prime has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The S90 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Suspension and Handling

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The front and rear suspension of the Prius Prime 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 Prius Prime’s turning circle is 5.3 feet tighter than the S90 18” wheels’ (33.4 feet vs. 38.7 feet). The Prius Prime’s turning circle is 6.6 feet tighter than the S90 19” wheels’ (33.4 feet vs. 40 feet).

Chassis

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The Toyota Prius Prime may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 500 to 1200 pounds less than the Volvo S90.

The Prius Prime is 1 foot, 5.2 inches shorter than the S90, making the Prius Prime easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Toyota Prius Prime amounts to more than styling. The Prius Prime has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .25 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 Prius Prime get better fuel mileage.

The front grille of the Prius Prime uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The S90 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The Prius Prime has 1.6 inches more front headroom and 1 inch more front legroom than the S90.

Cargo Capacity

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The Prius Prime has a much larger trunk than the S90 (19.8 vs. 13.5 cubic feet).

The Prius Prime’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 Prius Prime to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes 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 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 Prius Prime’s headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the S90’s headlights are rated “Marginal.”

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Toyota Prius Prime XLE/Limited has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The S90 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

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 2020/05/30

Consumer Reports® chose the Toyota Prius Prime 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 Prius outsold the Volvo 90 Series by over 17 to one during 2019.

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