2021 Volvo S90 vs. 2020 Chevrolet Impala

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 2020/10/30

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo S90 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 Chevrolet Impala doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The S90’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Impala doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The Volvo S90 offers optional built in child booster seats. They’re more crash worthy than an added child seat because of their direct attachment to the seat. Chevrolet doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the Impala. Their owners must carry a heavy booster seat in and out of the vehicle; S90 owners can just fold their built-in child seat up or down.

The S90 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The Impala doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The S90 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 Impala 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 S90 has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Impala doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The S90 offers an optional 360° Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Impala only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

The S90’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 Impala doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the S90 and the Impala have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Volvo S90 is safer than the Impala:

S90

Impala

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

76

89

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

1 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

16 cm

17 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Tibia index R/L

.52/.44

.68/.32

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the S90 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 184 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Impala was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

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The S90 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Impala’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The S90’s corrosion warranty is 6 years and unlimited miles longer than the Impala’s (12/unlimited vs. 6/100,000).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the S90 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Chevrolet only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Impala.

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the S90 has a standard 800-amp battery. The Impala’s 512-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Volvo vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Volvo 1 place higher in reliability than Chevrolet.

Engine

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The S90 T6’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder produces 11 more horsepower (316 vs. 305) and 31 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 264) than the Impala’s 3.6 DOHC V6. The S90 Recharge’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid produces 95 more horsepower (400 vs. 305) and 208 lbs.-ft. more torque (472 vs. 264) than the Impala’s 3.6 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the S90 T6 is faster than the Chevrolet Impala:

S90

Impala

Zero to 30 MPH

2 sec

2.4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.6 sec

6.2 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

9.3 sec

10.6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.1 sec

14.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98.9 MPH

96.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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 2020/10/30

On the EPA test cycle the S90 Recharge running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Impala with its standard engine (58 city/64 hwy MPGe vs. 19 city/28 hwy).

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

MPG

S90

AWD

T8 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl. Hybrid

28 city/31 hwy

T6 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl.

21 city/32 hwy

Impala

FWD

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/28 hwy

3.6 DOHC V6 Flex Fuel

18 city/28 hwy

The S90 Recharge can drive on battery power alone for up to 21 miles. The Impala must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the S90’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Impala doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the S90’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 Impala doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The S90 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 Impala doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volvo S90 higher (7 out of 10) than the Chevrolet Impala (5 to 7). This means the S90 produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Impala every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is available on the Volvo S90, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Impala.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the S90’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Impala:

S90

Impala

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

12.4 inches

The S90’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Impala are solid, not vented.

The S90 stops much shorter than the Impala:

S90

Impala

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

107 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the S90 has larger standard tires than the Impala (245/45R18 vs. 235/50R18). The S90’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Impala (255/35R20 vs. 245/45R19).

The S90’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Impala LT’s standard 50 series tires. The S90’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Impala Premier’s optional 40 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The S90 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. The Impala’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S90’s wheelbase is 8.8 inches longer than on the Impala (120.5 inches vs. 111.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the S90 is 1.7 inches wider in the front and 1.9 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Impala.

The S90 T6 Momentum handles at .90 G’s, while the Impala LT pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The S90 T6 Inscription executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Impala Premier (26.3 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 27.1 seconds @ .68 average G’s).

Passenger Space

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The S90 has 1.5 inches more front hip room, .4 inches more rear headroom, .6 inches more rear legroom and .8 inches more rear hip room than the Impala.

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the S90 easier. The S90’s trunk lift-over height is 26.5 inches, while the Impala’s liftover is 29.4 inches.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the S90’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Impala doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

With its sedan body style, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the S90 offers cargo security. The Impala’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the S90’s power trunk can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Impala doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Towing

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The S90’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Impala’s (3700 vs. 1000 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Chevrolet Impala is only 1000 pounds. The S90 offers up to a 4600 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the Impala Premier, the S90 Inscription/T8 has a passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The S90 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Impala doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The S90’s front and rear power windows all open or close 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 Impala’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the S90 the driver can close them all from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Impala can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The S90 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 Impala doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The S90’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 Impala’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the S90 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Impala doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The S90 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Impala doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the S90 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Impala doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the S90 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Impala doesn’t offer cornering lights. The S90 also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

A power rear sunshade is standard in the S90 Inscription to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Impala doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

When the S90 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 Impala’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Both the S90 and the Impala offer optional heated front seats. The S90 also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Impala.

The S90 Inscription has standard front air conditioned seats and offers them optionally in the rear. This keeps the passengers comfortable and takes the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Impala doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats in the rear.

The S90 Inscription offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Impala.

The S90’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 Impala doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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 2020/10/30

The S90 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2017. The Impala has never been an “All Star.”

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

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