2020 Volvo XC40 vs. 2019 Toyota Rav4

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC40 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 Rav4 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The XC40’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Rav4 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the XC40 and Rav4 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC40 offers optional 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 Rav4’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 XC40 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 Rav4 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The XC40 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 Rav4 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 XC40’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 Rav4 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the XC40 and the Rav4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, 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, available 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 front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the XC40 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 46 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Rav4 was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

The XC40 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Rav4’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The XC40’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Rav4’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC40 for 1 year and 11000 miles longer than Toyota pays for maintenance for the Rav4 (3/36,000 vs. 2/25000).

Engine

The XC40 T4’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 184) than the Rav4’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The XC40 T5’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 45 more horsepower (248 vs. 203) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 184) than the Rav4’s 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the XC40 T5 is faster than the Toyota Rav4:

XC40

Rav4

Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

8.1 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

16.4 sec

22.5 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7 sec

8.5 sec

Quarter Mile

14.8 sec

16.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

95 MPH

88 MPH

Top Speed

131 MPH

122 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the XC40’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 Rav4 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The XC40 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 Rav4 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the XC40’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Rav4:

XC40

Rav4

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.1 inches

The XC40 stops shorter than the Rav4:

XC40

Rav4

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

134 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

135 feet

140 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the XC40 has larger standard tires than the Rav4 (235/55R18 vs. 225/65R17). The XC40’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Rav4 (245/45R20 vs. 235/55R19).

The XC40’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Rav4 LE/XLE’s standard 65 series tires. The XC40’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Rav4 XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XC40 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Rav4 LE/XLE. The XC40’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels on the Rav4 XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited.

Suspension and Handling

The XC40 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 Rav4’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The XC40 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The XC40’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 Rav4 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The XC40 has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Rav4 doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The XC40 T5 R-Design AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the Rav4 Adventure pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The XC40 T5 R-Design AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Rav4 Limited (28.1 seconds @ .61 average G’s vs. 28.9 seconds @ .57 average G’s).

Chassis

The XC40 is 6.7 inches shorter than the Rav4, making the XC40 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The XC40 has .4 inches more front hip room and 6.9 inches more rear hip room than the Rav4.

Cargo Capacity

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the XC40’s optional rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Rav4 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the XC40. The Rav4 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

The XC40’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The Rav4’s swing out door blocks loading from the driver’s side.

Towing

The XC40’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Rav4’s (3500 vs. 1500 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Toyota Rav4 Adventure is only 3500 pounds. The XC40 offers up to a 4630 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The XC40’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 Rav4 LE’s standard fixed intermittent wipers only have one fixed delay setting, so the driver will have to manually switch them between slow and intermittent.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the XC40 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Rav4 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Consumer Reports rated the XC40’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Rav4’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

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 XC40’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Rav4’s headlights are rated “Marginal.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The XC40 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Rav4 doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The XC40 has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The Rav4 has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the XLE/XLE Premium/Adventure/Limited.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the XC40 offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Rav4 doesn’t offer cornering lights. The XC40 also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The XC40’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Toyota charges extra for heated mirrors on the Rav4.

When the XC40 with available tilt-down mirrors 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 Rav4’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The XC40 offers optional 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 Rav4 offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The XC40’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 Rav4 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC40 is less expensive to operate than the Rav4 because it costs $235 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the XC40 than the Rav4, including $129 less for a starter, $54 less for fuel injection and $444 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its January 2019 issue and they ranked the Volvo XC40 T5 R-Design AWD higher than the Toyota Rav4 Adventure.

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

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