2021 Volvo XC90 vs. 2020 Audi e-tron Sportback

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC90 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Audi e-tron Sportback has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

The Volvo XC90 offers an optional built in child booster seat. It’s more crash worthy than an added child seat because of its direct attachment to the seat. Audi doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the e-tron Sportback. Their owners must carry a heavy booster seat in and out of the vehicle; XC90 owners can just fold their built-in child seat up or down.

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the XC90 deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The XC90’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The e-tron Sportback’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

Full-time four-wheel drive is optional on the XC90. Full-time four-wheel drive gives added traction for safety in all conditions, not just off-road, like the only system available on the e-tron Sportback.

The XC90’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 e-tron Sportback doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the XC90 and the e-tron Sportback have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee 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, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and available around view monitors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the XC90 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 132 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The e-tron Sportback has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC90 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Audi only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the e-tron Sportback.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2020 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Volvo vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volvo 31st in initial quality. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 32nd.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The XC90 Recharge’s maximum EPA estimated driving range on a full tank of fuel and a full charge is 536 miles, after which it can be refueled at any gas station in minutes. The e-tron Sportback’s range is only 204 miles, after which the minimum recharge time is 30 minutes for only an 80% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 9 hours.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the XC90’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the e-tron Sportback (275/45R20 vs. 265/45R21).

The XC90’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the e-tron Sportback’s optional 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XC90 offers optional 22-inch wheels. The e-tron Sportback’s largest wheels are only 21-inches.

The XC90 has a standard space-saver spare (not available on Recharge) so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the e-tron Sportback; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the XC90’s wheelbase is 2.5 inches longer than on the e-tron Sportback (117.5 inches vs. 115 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the XC90 is 1 inch wider in the front and 65.9 inches wider in the rear than the track on the e-tron Sportback.

For better maneuverability, the XC90 w/19” wheels’ turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the e-tron Sportback’s (38.7 feet vs. 40 feet). The XC90 w/22” wheels’ turning circle is .3 feet tighter than the e-tron Sportback’s (39.7 feet vs. 40 feet).

Chassis

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The Volvo XC90 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 650 to 1450 pounds less than the Audi e-tron Sportback.

Passenger Space

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The XC90 has standard seating for 7 passengers; the e-tron Sportback can only carry 5.

The XC90 has .8 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more front legroom and .6 inches more rear headroom than the e-tron Sportback.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the XC90’s middle row seats recline. The e-tron Sportback’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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The XC90’s cargo area provides more volume than the e-tron Sportback.

XC90

e-tron Sportback

Third Seat Folded

35.6 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

27.2 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

65.5 cubic feet

54.5 cubic feet

Towing

© 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 2020/10/27

The XC90’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the e-tron Sportback’s (4000 vs. 0 pounds).

Ergonomics

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The XC90’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The e-tron Sportback’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the XC90 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The e-tron Sportback doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the XC90 has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the e-tron Sportback only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

A manual rear sunshade and rear side window sunshades are optional in the XC90 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The e-tron Sportback doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The XC90 has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The e-tron Sportback doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The XC90 R-Design/Inscription’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 e-tron Sportback doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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The XC90 is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The e-tron Sportback doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

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 2020/10/27

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Volvo XC90, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels. The Audi e-tron Sportback isn't recommended.

Motor Trend selected the XC90 as their 2016 Sport Utility of the Year. The e-tron Sportback has never been chosen.

The XC90 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2016. The e-tron Sportback has never been an “All Star.”

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the XC90 as the 2016 North American Truck of the Year. The e-tron Sportback has never been chosen.

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