Volvo crossover SUVs have gained a reputation for refinement, safety, and reliability. They’re often pitted against various German rivals, but if you’ve already decided on buying a new Volvo, you’ll have to make the difficult choice between the Volvo XC40, XC60, and XC90.
For many, the subcompact XC40 is too small, leaving behind the Volvo XC60 and Volvo XC90. Unsurprisingly, the Volvo XC90 is the bigger and more powerful Volvo SUV, but with the Volvo XC60 offering ample room for the average family, the decision isn’t a straightforward one. In this Volvo XC60 vs Volvo XC90 comparison, we’ll be comparing the two models across multiple aspects.
Key differences lie in price and size. The Volvo XC90 is a bigger midsize SUV that offers room for up to seven passengers, whereas the compact XC60 can only accommodate 5. Because the smaller XC60 offers equal engine horsepower, it’s a bit more exciting and engaging to drive.
Before we dive into our comparison, it’s important to get comfortable with some hybrid terminology. Volvo has made the pledge to sell 50% fully electric vehicles by 2025, and is charging ahead (pun ahead) with the electrification of its vehicles.
Only the Volvo XC40 has a pure electric form (XC40 electric recharge), but Volvo is heavily pushing the plug-in hybrid XC60 and XC90 models for new buyers.
In fact, only the Volvo XC90 has a pure old-school gasoline model, and for most buyers, it’s a good idea to make the switch to hybrid now if you haven’t already.
The Volvo XC60 either comes as a ‘mild-hybrid’ (think Toyota Prius) or a plug-in hybrid. No pure gasoline model is available.
The Volvo XC60 mild-hybrid versions begin at $42,650 as a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). The Volvo XC60 Recharge plug-in hybrid with the T8 powertrain starts at $54,250.
For the Volvo XC90, the gasoline versions begin at $49,900, whereas the plug-in hybrid version – XC90 Recharge – starts at $63,800.
All in all, expect to pay around $7000-$10000 more for the Volvo XC90.
On the exterior, the most noticeable difference is the size. The Volvo XC90 is built to carry up to 7 people compared to 5 in the Volvo XC60, so it’s not surprising that the exterior dimensions are different. The XC90 is 4.6 inches taller at 69.9 inches, and 10.4 inches longer at 195 inches. It’s also an inch wider, and its 117.5-inch wheelbase is almost 5 inches longer than the XC60.
Besides the dimensions, both SUVs are designed in quite a similar fashion. They retain some of the signature straight edges and boxy dimensions you might expect on a Volvo but with more curvature and rounding than the smaller XC40 Volvo SUV. The front-end LED light signature, for instance, is the same, and the front grilles also look similar. There is some difference in the design of the bumper and intakes, however. What’s more, at the rear end, the Volvo XC60 has a more pronounced slope giving it a slightly sportier look than the XC90.
Related: Volvo XC40 vs XC60
On the inside, the Volvo XC90 features a third seating row, but it’s not a great fit for adult passengers. Having said that, it’s better than many third-row options from competing models. Both feature at least two rows of comfortable adult-friendly seating, though, which is typically enough for a family car. The third row is fine for kids and young teens, or simply fold the seats and use the extra cargo space.
Where the two are quite evenly matched is in their interior materials. The XC90 may appear to be a step up, but the fact is that Volvo haven’s skimped on anything in either XC60 or XC90. The high-quality materials are found in every corner, with no cheap plastic in sight. Fine details abound, from the crystal gear shift, the wood inlays on the dash, and piano black finishes around the technology, to the installation of top-notch gear like a premium sound system (more below).
The main engine in all XC60 and XC90 models is Volvo’s 2.0L inline-4 unit but tweaked in different ways. First, the B5 and B6 powertrains in the XC60 work with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system generating 247-hp and 295-hp respectively. Both are paired with 8-speed automatic transmissions, with both front wheel drive (FWD) and all wheel drive (AWD) drivetrains available. The more powerful T8 plug-in hybrid powertrain is boosted by dual electric motors delivering 415-hp combined and an AWD drivetrain.
The XC90 also has 3 available powertrains. First, there’s the T5 which delivers up to 250-hp and is turbocharged paired with a FWD drivetrain (AWD also optional). Next, there’s the T6 that offers an up to 316-hp turbocharged system. Finally, there’s the T8 plug-in hybrid getting up to 400-hp. All these are paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
On the road, the addition of optional air suspension in the XC90 makes an extremely quiet and comfortable ride only susceptible to very harsh bumps in the road. The XC60 is the more exciting to drive of the two, and handles itself well on the road, perhaps better than Volvo cars are given credit for. Having said that, it’s no sports car and doesn’t like being thrown about the road.
The Volvo XC60 mild-hybrid versions can get about 23-mpg in the city, 30-mpg on the highway and a combined rating of 26-mpg. The small electric motor helps, but it’s hardly groundbreaking. The T8 plug-in hybrid gets a much better 57-MPGe, and has an electric-only range of 19 miles.
The Volvo XC90 gasoline versions get about 21-mpg in the city, 30-mpg on the highway, and 25-mpg combined. Surprisingly, that’s very close to the XC60’s fuel efficiency. The plug-in hybrid gets 55-MPGe and has up to 18 miles electric range.
Charging Time For Plug-In Hybrid Variants
When it comes to charging for the plug-in hybrids, they’re based on the same basic powertrain so charging times are very similar. You can charge it fully overnight with a level-1 120-volt charging system that’s normally factory issued. A home wall box with level-2 charging should complete a full charge in under 4 hours. There’s no option for DC fast charging.
For storage and cargo, both models are somewhat disappointing in their interior storage cubbies. Many owners reveal that cubby space is surprisingly limited, which for the XC90 is a particular blow as the larger of the two vehicles.
For maximum cargo capacity, however, the XC90 offers far more at 85.7 cubic feet compared to just 63.3 on the XC60. It can also tow up to 4,000-lbs compared to just 3,500-lbs on the XC60. The increased space for passengers and cargo is perhaps the biggest differentiator between the XC60 and XC90 Volvo SUVs.
Technology & Key Features
Volvo doesn’t tend to discriminate when it comes to technology offerings in their new models. All XC60 and XC90 models come loaded with their new infotainment system powered by Google technology. The buttons are a little fiddly on-screen while driving, but the system itself is very intuitive and easy to use.
Both get the optional benefit of a Bowers & Wilkins premium sound system, as well as access to “Hey, Google” voice commands to access the many Google services for navigation and entertainment. Each is fitted with a 12.3-inch customizable digital instrument cluster offering a flawless display of all drive, navigation and other info, and there’s also a large vertically oriented central infotainment touchscreen.
Volvo also doesn’t discriminate when it comes to ADAS and safety technology. The packages are very similar on both XC60 and XC90 models, including collision avoidance, 360-degree parking camera, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keep assist.
The Volvo XC60 faces some stiff German competition in the Mercedes GLC, Audi Q5 and BMW X3. Other recommended vehicles include comparable Japanese luxury SUVs, such as the Acura RDX and all-new Lexus NX.
As the Volvo XC90 SUV exists in the bigger size segment, it competes directly with the Mercedes GLE, Audi Q7, and BMW X5.
Volvo XC60 vs XC90: Verdict
It’s hard to declare one of these models an outright winner when they have such different things to offer. The Volvo XC60 is smaller but more dynamic and fun to drive compared to the smoother, more balanced, and calm ride of the XC90. Which luxury SUV is better is more a question of personal taste. The interiors are well-matched, with nothing to really set either apart.
For more comfortable rear seats and increased cargo capacity, one would naturally go with the XC90, but neither has a more practical advantage in fuel economy or even electric range. On top of that, they’re equally furnished with technology and ADAS features, so in the end, the result has to be: choose the XC60 for a more enjoyable drive, but choose the XC90 for the added size and space.
|2022 Volvo XC60||2022 Volvo XC90|
|Engine||2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas||2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas|
|Horsepower||247 hp @ 5400 rpm||250 hp @ 5500 rpm|
|Torque||258 lb-ft @ 1800 rpm||258 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm|
|Transmission||8-Speed Automatic||8-Speed Automatic|
|Drivetrain||Front-Wheel Drive||Front-Wheel Drive|
|Rear Wheel Size||P235/60HR18||P235/55HR19|
|Front Suspension||Double Wishbone||Double Wishbone|
|Front Wheel Size||P235/60HR18||P235/55HR19|
|Turning Diameter (ft.)||37.4||39.7|
|MPG/MPGe - Hwy||30||30|
|MPG/MPGe - City||23||21|
|MPG/MPGe - Combined||26||25|
|Gas Tank Size (gallons)||18.8||18.8|
|Cruising Range - Hwy (miles)||564.0||564.0|
|Size and Weight|
|Max Width (in.)||74.9||79.1|
|Front Seat Leg Room (in.)||41.5||40.9|
|Front Seat Head Room (in.)||38.0||38.9|
|Front Seat Hip Room (in.)||56.4||56.0|
|Front Seat Shoulder Room (in.)||58.2||57.7|
|Rear Seat Leg room (in.)||38.0||37.0|
|Rear Seat Head Room (in.)||38.0||38.5|
|Rear Seat Hip Room (in.)||55.4||56.5|
|Rear Seat Shoulder Room (in.)||56.3||56.5|
|Third Row Leg Room (in.)||-||31.9|
|Third Row Head Room (in.)||-||36.3|
|Third Row Hip Room (in.)||-||44.9|
|Third Row Shoulder Room (in.)||-||46.9|
|Satellite Radio||Not Available||Standard|
|Entertainment System||Not Available||Not Available|
|Premium Sound System||Optional||Optional|
|Auxiliary Audio Input||Standard||Standard|
|Smart Device Integration||Not Available||Standard|
|Hard Disk Drive Media Storage||Not Available||Not Available|
|Premium Synthetic Seats||Standard||Standard|
|Leather Steering Wheel||Not Available||Standard|
|Woodgrain Interior Trim||Not Available||Not Available|
|Rear A/C||Not Available||Standard|
|Seat-Massage||Not Available||Not Available|
|Power Liftgate||Optional||Not Available|
|Automatic Parking||Not Available||Optional|
|Navigation System||Not Available||Standard|
|Power Driver Seat||Standard||Standard|
|Cooled Rear Seat(s)||Not Available||Not Available|
|Hands-Free Liftgate||Not Available||Not Available|
|Heated Rear Seat(s)||Optional||Optional|
|Remote Engine Start||Standard||Standard|
|Cooled Front Seat(s)||Not Available||Not Available|
|Heated Front Seat(s)||Optional||Optional|
|Power Passenger Seat||Standard||Standard|
|Remote Trunk Release||Standard||Not Available|
|Heated Steering Wheel||Optional||Optional|
|Adaptive Cruise Control||Optional||Standard|
|Navigation from Telematics||Not Available||Not Available|
|Universal Garage Door Opener||Standard||Standard|
|Steering Wheel Audio Controls||Standard||Standard|
|Night Vision||Not Available||Not Available|
|Rear Parking Aid||Standard||Standard|
|Blind Spot Monitor||Standard||Standard|
|Cross-Traffic Alert||Not Available||Not Available|
|Lane Keeping Assist||Standard||Standard|
|Tire Pressure Monitor||Standard||Standard|
|Lane Departure Warning||Standard||Standard|
|Knee Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Driver Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Seatbelt Air Bag||Not Available||Not Available|
|Passenger Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Rear Head Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Rear Side Air Bag||Not Available||Not Available|
|Front Head Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Front Side Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Basic||4 Years / 50,000 Miles||4 Years / 50,000 Miles|
|Corrosion||12 Years / Unlimited Miles||12 Years / Unlimited Miles|
|Drivetrain||4 Years / 50,000 Miles||4 Years / 50,000 Miles|
|Maintenance||3 Years / 36,000 Miles||3 Years / 36,000 Miles|
|Roadside Assistance||4 Years / Unlimited Miles||4 Years / Unlimited Miles|