2021 Volvo XC90 vs. 2021 Chrysler Pacifica

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 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 Chrysler Pacifica 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 Pacifica doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

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

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

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 Pacifica doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the XC90 and the Pacifica 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, 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 available around view monitors.

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 Pacifica’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 Pacifica’s (12 vs. 5 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. Chrysler doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Pacifica.

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the XC90 has a 210-amp alternator. The Pacifica’s standard 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 Pacifica’s 730-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 Pacifica’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

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The XC90 has more powerful engines than the Pacifica:

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.

Pacifica Hybrid 3.6 DOHC V6

260 HP

n/a

Pacifica 3.6 DOHC V6

287 HP

262 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the Volvo XC90 is faster than the Chrysler Pacifica V6:

XC90 T6

XC90 Recharge

Pacifica

Zero to 30 MPH

2.3 sec

n/a

2.6 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6 sec

5.3 sec

7.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.5 sec

14.6 sec

19.8 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.1 sec

5.8 sec

7.8 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.4 sec

n/a

4.3 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.6 sec

n/a

5.5 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

14 sec

15.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97 MPH

98 MPH

91 MPH

Top Speed

132 MPH

132 MPH

111 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the XC90 T5 FWD gets better fuel mileage than the Pacifica V6 (21 city/30 hwy vs. 19 city/28 hwy).

The XC90 Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Pacifica Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (18.5 vs. 16.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

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

XC90 T5/T6

XC90 Recharge

Pacifica

Pacifica AWD

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

14.4 inches

13 inches

13.8 inches

The XC90’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Pacifica are solid, not vented.

The XC90 stops much shorter than the Pacifica:

XC90

Pacifica

70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

180 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

126 feet

145 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

145 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the XC90’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Pacifica (275/45R20 vs. 245/50R20).

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 Pacifica’s standard 65 series tires. The XC90’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Pacifica’s optional 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XC90 has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Pacifica. The XC90’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the Pacifica.

Suspension and Handling

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The XC90 offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Pacifica’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

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 Pacifica doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The XC90’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51.7% to 48.3%) than the Pacifica’s (55% to 45%). This gives the XC90 more stable handling and braking.

For better maneuverability, the XC90 w/19” wheels’ turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the Pacifica’s (38.7 feet vs. 39.7 feet). The XC90 w/22” wheels’ turning circle is .5 feet tighter than the Pacifica AWD’s (39.7 feet vs. 40.2 feet).

For greater off-road capability the XC90 has a 2.9 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Pacifica (8.3 vs. 5.4 inches), allowing the XC90 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The XC90 w/Air Suspension’s minimum ground clearance is 4.5 inches higher than on the Pacifica (9.9 vs. 5.4 inches).

Chassis

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The XC90 is 9.3 inches shorter than the Pacifica, making the XC90 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The front step up height for the XC90 is .5 inches lower than the Pacifica (15.8” vs. 16.3”). The XC90’s rear step up height is 2.2 inches lower than the Pacifica’s (16” vs. 18.2”).

Towing

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The XC90’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the Pacifica’s (4000 vs. 3600 pounds).

While the Pacifica Hybrid is not recommended to tow, any XC90 can tow a minimum of 4000 pounds.

Servicing Ease

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The XC90 uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Pacifica uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

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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 Pacifica doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The XC90’s front power windows open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Pacifica’s standard power windows’ front passenger window doesn’t close automatically.

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 Pacifica can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 Pacifica doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

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 Pacifica doesn’t offer headlight washers.

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

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 Pacifica only retains 38.51% to 47.08%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC90 is less expensive to operate than the Pacifica because typical repairs cost much less on the XC90 than the Pacifica, including $397 less for a muffler, $34 less for front brake pads and $360 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

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The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Volvo XC90, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels.

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

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

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

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