2021 Volvo XC90 vs. 2020 Audi Q7

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 2020/10/25

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 Q7 doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle 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 Q7. 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 Q7’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The XC90 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The Q7 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

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 Q7 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the XC90 and the Q7 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear 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, rearview cameras and available around view monitors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Volvo XC90 is safer than the Audi Q7:

XC90

Q7

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

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

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 XC90 is safer than the Q7:

XC90

Q7

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Restraints

GOOD

GOOD

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

37

225

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

16 cm

30 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

4%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Tibia index R/L

.24/.41

.57/.7

Tibia forces R/L

1.1/.2 kN

4.2/.3 kN

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 and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Volvo XC90 is safer than the Audi Q7:

XC90

Q7

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

51

187

Chest Movement

.7 inches

.8 inches

Hip Force

255 lbs.

350 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

94

337

Spine Acceleration

40 G’s

62 G’s

Hip Force

608 lbs.

888 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

13 inches

HIC

209

290

Spine Acceleration

29 G’s

40 G’s

Hip Force

383 lbs.

557 lbs.

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

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 Q7 has not been fully 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 Q7.

Reliability

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The battery on the XC90 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the XC90’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Q7’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

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.

Engine

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The XC90 has more powerful engines than the Q7:

Horsepower

Torque

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 Recharge 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid

400 HP

472 lbs.-ft.

Q7 45 TFSI 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

248 HP

273 lbs.-ft.

Q7 55 TFSI 3.0 turbo V6 hybrid

335 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the XC90 Recharge running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Q7:

MPGe

XC90

AWD

Electric Motor

58 city/53 hwy

Q7

MPG

AWD

45 TFSI 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

19 city/25 hwy

55 TFSI 3.0 turbo V6 Hybrid

17 city/21 hwy

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the Q7:

MPG

XC90

FWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/30 hwy

AWD

T8 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl. Hybrid

26 city/28 hwy

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

T6 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl.

19 city/28 hwy

Q7

AWD

45 TFSI 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

19 city/25 hwy

55 TFSI 3.0 turbo V6 Hybrid

17 city/21 hwy

The XC90 Recharge can drive on battery power alone for up to 18 miles. The Q7 must run its internal combustion engine to move.

The XC90 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 Q7 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 XC90 higher (5 to 7 out of 10) than the Audi Q7 (3). This means the XC90 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Q7 every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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The XC90 stops shorter than the Q7:

XC90

Q7

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

121 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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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 Q7; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed. Some tire options on the Q7 don’t have a run-flat feature, either.

Suspension and Handling

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The XC90 R-Design/Inscription has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The XC90’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Q7 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The XC90 T6 AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the Q7 Premium Plus pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the XC90 w/19” wheels’ turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the Q7’s (38.7 feet vs. 41 feet). The XC90 w/22” wheels’ turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the Q7’s (39.7 feet vs. 41 feet).

For greater off-road capability the XC90 w/Air Suspension has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Q7 w/Air Suspension (9.9 vs. 9.7 inches), allowing the XC90 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The Volvo XC90 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 450 pounds less than the Audi Q7.

The XC90 is 4.3 inches shorter than the Q7, making the XC90 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Volvo XC90 amounts to more than styling. The XC90 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .33 Cd. That is lower than the Q7 (.36) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the XC90 get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

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The XC90 has .4 inches more third row headroom and 2.7 inches more third row legroom than the Q7.

The front step up height for the XC90 is 2.8 inches lower than the Q7 (15.8” vs. 18.6”). The XC90’s rear step up height is 2.7 inches lower than the Q7’s (16” vs. 18.7”).

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the XC90 easier. The XC90’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 30.8 inches, while the Q7’s liftover is 32.5 inches.

The XC90’s cargo area is larger than the Q7’s in almost every dimension:

XC90

Q7

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

21.8”/49.6”/80.3”

19.5”/44.7”/80.7”

Max Width

54.7”

52.5”

Min Width

44.5”

42.6”

Height

35”

30”

The XC90 has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The Q7 doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

Ergonomics

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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 Q7 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 Q7 only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the XC90 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Q7 doesn’t offer cornering lights. The XC90 also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

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 Q7 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 Q7 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 Q7 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC90 is less expensive to operate than the Q7 because it costs $37 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the XC90 than the Q7, including $433 less for a muffler, $30 less for front brake pads, $420 less for a starter, $354 less for fuel injection, $408 less for front struts and $899 less for a timing belt/chain.

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 2020/10/25

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Volvo XC90, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels. The Audi Q7 isn't recommended.

Motor Trend selected the XC90 as their 2016 Sport Utility of the Year. The Q7 has never been chosen.

The XC90 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2016. The Q7 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 Q7 has never been chosen.

The Volvo XC90 outsold the Audi Q7 by 1111 units during 2019.

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

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