2021 Volvo XC90 vs. 2020 Cadillac XT5

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 2020/10/21

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC90 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 Cadillac XT5 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

Both the XC90 and XT5 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC90 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The XT5’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

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. Cadillac doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the XT5. 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 XT5’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 XT5 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The XC90 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 XT5 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 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 XT5 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the XC90 and the XT5 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, 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 Cadillac XT5:

XC90

XT5

OVERALL 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.

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 Cadillac XT5:

XC90

XT5

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

51

112

Chest Movement

.7 inches

.9 inches

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

94

183

Spine Acceleration

40 G’s

43 G’s

Hip Force

608 lbs.

825 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

12 inches

HIC

209

399

Spine Acceleration

29 G’s

39 G’s

Hip Force

383 lbs.

799 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 XT5 was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

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The XC90’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the XT5’s (12 vs. 6 years).

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. Cadillac only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the XT5.

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the XC90 has a standard 210-amp alternator. The XT5’s standard 170-amp alternator and largest (V6 without Towing Package) 155-amp alternator aren’t as powerful.

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 XT5’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Volvo vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Volvo 6 places higher in reliability than Cadillac.

Engine

© 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 2020/10/21

The XC90 has more powerful engines than the XT5:

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.

XT5 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

237 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

XT5 3.6 DOHC V6

310 HP

271 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the Volvo XC90 is faster than the Cadillac XT5 V6:

XC90 T6

XC90 Recharge

XT5

Zero to 60 MPH

6 sec

5.3 sec

6.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.5 sec

14.6 sec

17.8 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.6 sec

n/a

4.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

14 sec

15.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97 MPH

98 MPH

93 MPH

Top Speed

132 MPH

132 MPH

130 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 2020/10/21

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 Recharge running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the XT5:

MPGe

XC90

AWD

Electric Motor

58 city/53 hwy

XT5

MPG

FWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/28 hwy

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/26 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/26 hwy

3.6 DOHC V6.

18 city/25 hwy

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the XT5:

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

XT5

FWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/28 hwy

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/26 hwy

AWD

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/26 hwy

3.6 DOHC V6.

18 city/25 hwy

The XC90 Recharge can drive on battery power alone for up to 18 miles. The XT5 must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the XC90 T8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The XT5 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the XC90 Recharge’s brake rotors are larger than those on the XT5:

XC90 Recharge

XT5

Front Rotors

14.4 inches

13.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.4 inches

12.4 inches

The XC90 stops much shorter than the XT5:

XC90

XT5

70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

174 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

128 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the XC90’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the XT5 (275/45R20 vs. 235/65R18).

The XC90’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the XT5’s standard 65 series tires. The XC90’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the XT5’s optional 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XC90 has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the XT5. The XC90’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the XT5.

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 XT5 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the XC90’s wheelbase is 5 inches longer than on the XT5 (117.5 inches vs. 112.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the XC90 is 1 inch wider in the front and 1 inch wider in the rear than the track on the XT5.

The XC90’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51.7% to 48.3%) than the XT5’s (58.2% to 41.8%). This gives the XC90 more stable handling and braking.

The XC90 T6 AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the XT5 pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For greater off-road capability the XC90 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the XT5 (8.3 vs. 7.8 inches), allowing the XC90 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The XC90 w/Air Suspension’s minimum ground clearance is 2.1 inches higher than on the XT5 (9.9 vs. 7.8 inches).

Chassis

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As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the XC90 T6 AWD is quieter than the XT5 AWD:

XC90

XT5

Full-Throttle

71 dB

77 dB

70 MPH Cruising

67 dB

68 dB

Passenger Space

© 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 2020/10/21

The XC90 has standard seating for 7 passengers; the XT5 can only carry 5.

The XC90 has .1 inches more rear headroom, 1.7 inches more rear hip room and .2 inches more rear shoulder room than the XT5.

Cargo Capacity

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The XC90’s cargo area provides more volume than the XT5.

XC90

XT5

Third Seat Folded

35.6 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

30.2 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

65.5 cubic feet

63 cubic feet

Towing

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The XC90’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the XT5’s (4000 vs. 1000 pounds).

Ergonomics

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If the windows are left open on the XC90 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. 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 XT5 can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The XC90’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 XT5’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 XT5 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The XC90’s headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the XT5’s headlights are rated “Marginal.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The XC90 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The XT5 doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The XT5’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The XC90’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

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 XT5 doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The XC90 Inscription offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the XT5.

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 XT5 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

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The XC90 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the XC90 will retain 45.56% to 49.47% of its original price after five years, while the XT5 only retains 38.6% to 39.93%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC90 is less expensive to operate than the XT5 because it costs $210 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the XC90 than the XT5, including $381 less for a muffler, $9 less for fuel injection and $522 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 2020/10/21

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Volvo XC90, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels. The Cadillac XT5 isn't recommended.

Motor Trend selected the XC90 as their 2016 Sport Utility of the Year. The XT5 has never been chosen.

The XC90 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2016. The XT5 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 XT5 has never been chosen.

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

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