2021 Volkswagen Atlas 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 2020/08/12

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Atlas SEL/SEL Premium has standard Maneuver 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 Atlas and the XC90 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems and around view monitors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Volkswagen Atlas is safer than the Volvo XC90:

Atlas

XC90

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.5 inches

.7 inches

Abdominal Force

48 G’s

153 G’s

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

39 G’s

40 G’s

Hip Force

527 lbs.

608 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

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There are over 2 times as many Volkswagen dealers as there are Volvo dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Atlas’ warranty.

Reliability

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The Volkswagen Atlas’ engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the XC90’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are better in initial quality than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 25th in initial quality. With 1 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 Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 73 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 29th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

Brakes and Stopping

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The Atlas stops much shorter than the XC90:

Atlas

XC90

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Atlas has larger standard tires than the XC90 (245/60R18 vs. 235/55R19).

Suspension and Handling

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The front and rear suspension of the Atlas 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.

The Atlas’ drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The XC90 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Atlas is 1.5 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the XC90.

The Atlas SEL Premium 4Motion handles at .84 G’s, while the XC90 T6 AWD pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Atlas’ turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the XC90 w/19” wheels’ (38.1 feet vs. 38.7 feet). The Atlas’ turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the XC90 w/22” wheels’ (38.1 feet vs. 39.7 feet).

Chassis

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As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Atlas SEL Premium 4Motion is quieter than the XC90 T6 AWD (41 vs. 48 dB).

Passenger Space

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The Atlas has 2.4 inches more front headroom, .6 inches more front legroom, 2.2 inches more front hip room, 3.8 inches more front shoulder room, 1.9 inches more rear headroom, .6 inches more rear legroom, 1.5 inches more rear hip room, 4.3 inches more rear shoulder room, 2 inches more third row headroom, 1.8 inches more third row legroom, .2 inches more third row hip room and 8 inches more third row shoulder room than the XC90.

Cargo Capacity

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The Atlas’ cargo area provides more volume than the XC90.

Atlas

XC90

Behind Third Seat

20.6 cubic feet

12.6 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

55.5 cubic feet

35.6 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

96.8 cubic feet

65.5 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Atlas easier. The Atlas’ cargo hatch lift-over height is 29.7 inches, while the XC90’s liftover is 30.8 inches.

The Atlas’ cargo area is larger than the XC90’s in every dimension:

Atlas

XC90

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

23.8”/53”/85”

21.8”/49.6”/80.3”

Max Width

61.6”

54.7”

Min Width

45”

44.5”

Height

37.5”

35”

Servicing Ease

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A maintenance reminder system is standard on the Atlas to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes and vehicle inspection 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.

Ergonomics

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The Atlas’ 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 Atlas has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The XC90 doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium 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 Volkswagen Atlas SE/SEL/SEL Premium/R-Line has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The XC90 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Atlas owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Atlas with a number “5” insurance rate while the XC90 is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Atlas is less expensive to operate than the XC90 because typical repairs cost much less on the Atlas than the XC90, including $223 less for a water pump, $11 less for front brake pads and $250 less for a fuel pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Volkswagen Atlas will be $10764 to $12372 less than for the Volvo XC90.

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 2020/08/12

The Volkswagen Atlas outsold the Volvo XC90 by over two to one during 2019.

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