2021 Cadillac Escalade vs. 2020 Volvo XC90

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 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 2020/08/06

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 Escalade 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.

The Escalade has a standard front seat center airbag, which deploys between the driver and front passenger, protecting them from injuries caused by striking each other in serious side impacts. The XC90 doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Escalade offers optional Reverse Automatic 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.

An active infrared night vision system optional on the Escalade Premium/Platinum/Sport helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The XC90 doesn’t offer a night vision system.

Both the Escalade and the XC90 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The Cadillac Escalade weighs 530 to 1496 pounds more than the Volvo XC90. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

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Cadillac’s powertrain warranty covers the Escalade 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Volvo covers the XC90. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the XC90 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 3 times as many Cadillac dealers as there are Volvo dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Escalade’s warranty.

Reliability

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The Escalade has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The XC90 doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Cadillac vehicles are better in initial quality than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Cadillac 17th in initial quality. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 28th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Cadillac vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Cadillac 23rd in reliability. With 38 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 29th.

Engine

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The Escalade’s 6.2 V8 produces 170 more horsepower (420 vs. 250) and 202 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 258) than the XC90 T5’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The Escalade’s 6.2 V8 produces 104 more horsepower (420 vs. 316) and 165 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 295) than the XC90 T6’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder. The Escalade’s 6.2 V8 produces 20 more horsepower (420 vs. 400) than the XC90 T8’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid.

The Escalade’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 27 more horsepower (277 vs. 250) and 202 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 258) than the XC90 T5’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The Escalade’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 165 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 295) than the XC90 T6’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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An engine control system that can shut down some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Escalade V8’s fuel efficiency. The XC90 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Cadillac Escalade uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The XC90 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Escalade has 5.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the XC90 Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (24 vs. 18.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Escalade has 5.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the XC90’s standard fuel tank (24 vs. 18.8 gallons).

Transmission

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A ten-speed automatic is available on the Cadillac Escalade, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the XC90.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Escalade has larger tires than the XC90 (275/50R22 vs. 235/55R19).

The Escalade’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the XC90’s standard 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Escalade has standard 22-inch wheels. Smaller 19-inch wheels are standard on the XC90.

The Cadillac Escalade’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Volvo XC90 only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Escalade has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The XC90 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

The Escalade has a standard full size spare tire so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare isn’t available on the XC90; it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which has mileage and speed limitations, or roadside assistance and a tow-truck.

Suspension and Handling

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The front and rear suspension of the Escalade 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 a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Escalade’s wheelbase is 3.4 inches longer than on the XC90 (120.9 inches vs. 117.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Escalade is 2.7 inches wider in the front and 2.3 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the XC90.

Chassis

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The front grille of the Escalade (except Diesel) uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The XC90 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The Escalade offers optional seating for 8 passengers; the XC90 can only carry 7.

The Escalade has 3.4 inches more front headroom, 3.6 inches more front legroom, 5.7 inches more front hip room, 7.8 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear headroom, 4.7 inches more rear legroom, 4.7 inches more rear hip room, 8.1 inches more rear shoulder room, 1.9 inches more third row headroom, 3 inches more third row legroom, 4.5 inches more third row hip room and 15.8 inches more third row shoulder room than the XC90.

Cargo Capacity

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

Escalade

XC90

Behind Third Seat

25.5 cubic feet

12.6 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

72.9 cubic feet

35.6 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

121 cubic feet

65.5 cubic feet

Payload and Towing

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The Escalade’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the XC90’s (8000 vs. 4000 pounds).

The Escalade has a much higher standard payload capacity than the XC90 (1636 vs. 1210 lbs.).

The Escalade has a much higher maximum payload capacity than the XC90 (1647 vs. 1210 lbs.).

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the Escalade is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the XC90. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

A maintenance reminder system is standard on the Escalade to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes, air filter replacement and brake pad replacement based on actual driving conditions. 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.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Cadillac service is better than Volvo. J.D. Power ranks Cadillac third in service department satisfaction. With a 40% lower rating, Volvo is ranked 14th.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the XC90, the Escalade has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The Escalade’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 Escalade has a standard heated steering wheel to take the chill out of steering on extremely cold winter days before the vehicle heater warms up. A heated steering wheel costs extra on the XC90.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Cadillac Escalade has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The XC90 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The Escalade Premium/Platinum/Sport’s Adaptive Park Assist can parallel park by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The XC90 R-Design/Inscription’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

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