2021 Volvo XC90 vs. 2020 Rolls-Royce Cullinan

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 2020/10/20

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. Rolls-Royce doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the Cullinan. 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 Cullinan’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

Both the XC90 and the Cullinan have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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, driver alert monitors 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 Cullinan has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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The XC90’s corrosion warranty is 8 years longer than the Cullinan’s (12 vs. 4 years).

There are almost 8 times as many Volvo dealers as there are Rolls-Royce dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the XC90’s warranty.

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 Cullinan (58 city/53 hwy MPGe vs. 12 city/20 hwy).

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

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

Cullinan

AWD

6.8 turbo V12

12 city/20 hwy

The XC90 Recharge can drive on battery power alone for up to 18 miles. The Cullinan 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 Cullinan doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the XC90’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 Cullinan doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

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 Cullinan 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 Rolls-Royce Cullinan (3). This means the XC90 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Cullinan every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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For more complete vehicle control the XC90 has a manually controlled automatic, with the available convenience of an automatic transmission and the complete gear control of a manual transmission without the inconvenience of a clutch. A manually controlled automatic allows the driver to eliminate unwanted shifts and maximize engine braking by down shifting while cornering. The Cullinan doesn’t offer a transmission that allows complete gear control.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the XC90’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Cullinan (275/45R20 vs. 255/50R21).

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 Cullinan’s optional 45 series tires.

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 Cullinan; 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.

Suspension and Handling

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For better maneuverability, the XC90 w/19” wheels’ turning circle is 4.7 feet tighter than the Cullinan’s (38.7 feet vs. 43.4 feet). The XC90 w/22” wheels’ turning circle is 3.7 feet tighter than the Cullinan’s (39.7 feet vs. 43.4 feet).

Chassis

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The Volvo XC90 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 950 to 1750 pounds less than the Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

The XC90 is 1 foot, 3.3 inches shorter than the Cullinan, making the XC90 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

For excellent aerodynamics, the XC90 has standard flush composite headlights. The Cullinan has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.

Passenger Space

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The XC90 has standard seating for 7 passengers; the Cullinan can only carry up to 5.

Cargo Capacity

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The XC90’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Cullinan w/Executive Rear Seats doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

The XC90’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The Cullinan’s tailgate’s top part raises up, but the bottom part lowers, getting in the way of loading and making an uneven surface for sliding cargo.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the XC90’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Cullinan doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its tailgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

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The XC90 has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Cullinan doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

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

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 Cullinan doesn’t offer headlight washers.

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

Model Availability

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The XC90 is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Cullinan 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 2020/10/20

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

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

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

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