2021 Volvo XC90 vs. 2020 Toyota Sequoia

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 2020/10/27

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 Toyota Sequoia doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

The XC90’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Sequoia doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the XC90 and Sequoia 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 Sequoia’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. Toyota doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the Sequoia. 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 Sequoia’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 Sequoia 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 Sequoia 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.

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 Sequoia.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the XC90’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The Sequoia doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

The XC90 offers an optional 360-Degree Surround View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Sequoia only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the XC90 uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The Sequoia uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

The XC90 has standard Volvo On Call, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Sequoia doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the XC90 and the Sequoia have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and driver alert 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 Sequoia has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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The XC90 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Sequoia’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The XC90’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Sequoia’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC90 for 1 year and 11000 miles longer than Toyota pays for maintenance for the Sequoia (3/36,000 vs. 2/25000).

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 Sequoia’s 180-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the XC90 has a standard 800-amp battery. The Sequoia’s 710-amp battery isn’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 Sequoia’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

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The XC90 Recharge’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid produces 19 more horsepower (400 vs. 381) and 71 lbs.-ft. more torque (472 vs. 401) than the Sequoia’s 5.7 DOHC V8.

As tested in Car and Driver the Volvo XC90 is faster than the Toyota Sequoia:

XC90 T6

XC90 Recharge

Sequoia

Zero to 30 MPH

2.3 sec

n/a

2.4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6 sec

5.3 sec

6.7 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.5 sec

14.6 sec

18.2 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.4 sec

n/a

3.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

14 sec

15.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97 MPH

98 MPH

93 MPH

Top Speed

132 MPH

132 MPH

115 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 2020/10/27

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 Recharge running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Sequoia (58 city/53 hwy MPGe vs. 13 city/17 hwy).

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

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

Sequoia

RWD

5.7 DOHC V8

13 city/17 hwy

AWD

5.7 DOHC V8

13 city/17 hwy

The XC90 Recharge can drive on battery power alone for up to 18 miles. The Sequoia 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 Sequoia 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 Sequoia 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 Sequoia doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Volvo XC90, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Sequoia.

Brakes and Stopping

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

XC90 Recharge

Sequoia

Front Rotors

14.4 inches

13.9 inches

The XC90 stops much shorter than the Sequoia:

XC90

Sequoia

70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

192 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

139 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

163 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

© 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 standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Sequoia SR5’s standard 65 series tires. The XC90’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Sequoia TRD Sport/Limited/Platinum/TRD Pro’s 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 Sequoia SR5. The XC90’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels on the Sequoia TRD Sport/Limited/Platinum/TRD Pro.

Suspension and Handling

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The XC90 T6 AWD handles at .84 G’s, while the Sequoia Platinum 4x4 pulls only .71 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The XC90 T6 AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 3 seconds quicker than the Sequoia Limited 4x4 (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 29.8 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

Chassis

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The Volvo XC90 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 900 to 1400 pounds less than the Toyota Sequoia.

The XC90 is 10.1 inches shorter than the Sequoia, making the XC90 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The XC90 is 7.1 inches shorter in height than the Sequoia, making the XC90 much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

Unibody construction lowers the XC90’s center of gravity significantly without reducing ground clearance. This contributes to better on the road handling and better off-road performance and stability. In addition, unibody construction makes the chassis stiffer, improving handling and reducing squeaks and rattles. The Sequoia uses body-on-frame design instead.

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 Sequoia (.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 4.1 inches more front headroom, 3.6 inches more rear headroom and 1.8 inches more third row headroom than the Sequoia.

The front step up height for the XC90 is 5.2 inches lower than the Sequoia (15.8” vs. 21”). The XC90’s rear step up height is 6.2 inches lower than the Sequoia’s (16” vs. 22.2”).

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 Sequoia’s liftover is 33 inches.

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

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 Sequoia doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

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The engine computer on the XC90 automatically engages the starter until the car starts with one twist of the key and disables the starter while the engine is running. The Sequoia’s starter can be accidentally engaged while the engine is running, making a grinding noise and possibly damaging the starter and ring gear.

The XC90 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Sequoia doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The XC90’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Sequoia’s parking brake has to released manually.

The power windows standard on both the XC90 and the Sequoia have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the XC90 is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Sequoia prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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 Sequoia can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

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 Sequoia’s power window (except driver window), power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

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 Sequoia’s 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 Sequoia doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the XC90 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Sequoia 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.

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 Sequoia doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The XC90’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Sequoia’s power mirror controls are on the dash where they are possibly hidden by the steering wheel and are awkward to manipulate.

On extremely cold winter days, the XC90’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Sequoia doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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 Sequoia.

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 Sequoia doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC90 is less expensive to operate than the Sequoia because typical repairs cost much less on the XC90 than the Sequoia, including $328 less for a starter, $56 less for front struts and $818 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 2020/10/27

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

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

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

The Volvo XC90 outsold the Toyota Sequoia by over three to one during 2019.

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