2021 GMC Yukon vs. 2020 Volvo XC90

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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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 Yukon 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 Yukon 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.

Both the Yukon and the XC90 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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GMC’s powertrain warranty covers the Yukon 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 almost 6 times as many GMC dealers as there are Volvo dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Yukon’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Yukon has a standard 220-amp alternator (250-amp - Yukon Diesel). The XC90’s 210-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that GMC vehicles are better in initial quality than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks GMC 12th in initial quality. With 20 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 GMC vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks GMC 22nd in reliability. With 43 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 29th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that GMC vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks GMC 2 places higher in reliability than Volvo.

Engine

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The Yukon has more powerful engines than the XC90:

Horsepower

Torque

Yukon 5.3 V8

355 HP

383 lbs.-ft.

Yukon Denali 6.2 V8

420 HP

460 lbs.-ft.

XC90 T5 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

250 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

XC90 T6 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder

316 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

XC90 T8 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid

400 HP

472 lbs.-ft.

The Yukon’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 Yukon’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 Yukon 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 GMC Yukon uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended on Yukon Denali for maximum performance). The XC90 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

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A 10-speed automatic is standard on the GMC Yukon, 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 Yukon has larger standard tires than the XC90 (265/65R18 vs. 235/55R19).

The GMC Yukon’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 Yukon 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 Yukon 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 Yukon 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 Yukon’s wheelbase is 3.4 inches longer than on the XC90 (120.9 inches vs. 117.5 inches).

Chassis

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The front grille of the Yukon 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 Yukon offers optional seating for 9 passengers; the XC90 can only carry 7.

The Yukon has 3.4 inches more front headroom, 3.6 inches more front legroom, .4 inches more rear headroom, 5 inches more rear legroom, 1.9 inches more third row headroom and 3 inches more third row legroom than the XC90.

Cargo Capacity

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

Yukon

XC90

Behind Third Seat

25.5 cubic feet

12.6 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

72.6 cubic feet

35.6 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

122.9 cubic feet

65.5 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Yukon’s (except SLE) optional second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The XC90 doesn’t offer automatic folding second row seats.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the Yukon 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 Yukon to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes and air filter 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.

Ergonomics

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The Yukon’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The XC90 does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The Yukon’s front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The XC90’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open them fully.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Yukon 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 GMC Yukon SLT/AT4/Denali has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) for the front seat. The XC90 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 2020/08/05

The GMC Yukon/Yukon XL outsold the Volvo XC90 by over two to one during 2019.

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