2020 Volvo XC90 vs 2021 Cadillac Escalade

2020 Volvo XC90
2020 Volvo XC90
$48,350MSRP
Overview
Overview
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2021 Cadillac Escalade
2021 Cadillac Escalade
$76,195MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2020 Volvo XC90
$48,350MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2021 Cadillac Escalade
$76,195MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now

CarGurus highlights

Winning Vehicle Image

According to CarGurus experts, the overall rating for the 2020 Volvo XC90 is 8.5 out of 10, while the 2021 Cadillac Escalade scores 8.2 out of 10. Both vehicles offer incredible features and performance, but the Volvo XC90 edges out slightly due to its balanced approach to luxury, safety, and functionality. For those seeking a more refined and family-oriented luxury SUV, the XC90 is the better choice. However, if you need the sheer presence, power, and advanced tech features of a larger SUV, the Escalade remains an excellent option.

Overview

MSRP

$48,350

MSRP

$76,195

Average price

$32,933

Average price

$73,555

Listings

194

Listings

595
Ratings & Reviews
User Reviews
User Reviews

Expert reviews

8.5 out of 10

Expert reviews

8.2 out of 10
Pros
  • Stylish design
  • Great safety ratings
  • Premium interior materials
Cons
  • Fairly pedestrian performance
  • Underwhelming base engine
Pros
  • Great ride quality
  • Powerful engine
  • Impressive technology
Cons
  • Advanced safety features are not standard
  • Poor fuel economy

2020 Volvo XC90 Reviews Summary

The XC90 has been one of our favorite family shuttles for 18 model years. This 3-row Volvo continues for 2020 as it was during its 2016 redesign, which brought dramatic new design language, chassis architecture, electrified powertrains, infotainment, and semi-automated driving capability. Among midsize SUVs, the XC90 is among the few I would recommend without any hesitation. Families who can afford to splurge will find a stylish and pampering truck that's built upon decades of safety research, which very few automakers can match.

2021 Cadillac Escalade Reviews Summary

Youthful aspiration often translates into adult acquisition. When the first Cadillac Escalade went on sale and quickly became an American popular culture icon, the oldest Millennials were just getting their driver’s licenses, and the youngest weren’t born yet. Today, this “digital native” generation raised on rap music is turning 40, moving to the suburbs, and raising families. Plus, it is poised to inherit a reported $68 trillion from Baby Boomers by 2030, the largest wealth transfer in modern history. Despite suffering through the Great Recession and now a global pandemic, will Millennials spend their passed-down windfalls on a six-figure full-size SUV that gets 16 mpg? Some will, and in so doing, they’ll get a mighty impressive and technologically sophisticated, fifth-generation Cadillac on 22s.
No video found
Popular Features & Specs

Engine

2.0L 250 hp I4

Engine

6.2L 420 hp V8

Drive Train

FWD

Drive Train

RWD

Seating Capacity

7

Seating Capacity

8

Horsepower

250 hp @ 5500 rpm

Horsepower

420 hp @ 5600 rpm

MPG City

21

MPG City

14

MPG Highway

30

MPG Highway

20
2020 Volvo XC90
2020 Volvo XC90
$48,350MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2021 Cadillac Escalade
2021 Cadillac Escalade
$76,195MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2020 Volvo XC90
$48,350MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now
2021 Cadillac Escalade
$76,195MSRP
Overview
Overview
OverviewShop Now

CarGurus highlights

Winning Vehicle Image

According to CarGurus experts, the overall rating for the 2020 Volvo XC90 is 8.5 out of 10, while the 2021 Cadillac Escalade scores 8.2 out of 10. Both vehicles offer incredible features and performance, but the Volvo XC90 edges out slightly due to its balanced approach to luxury, safety, and functionality. For those seeking a more refined and family-oriented luxury SUV, the XC90 is the better choice. However, if you need the sheer presence, power, and advanced tech features of a larger SUV, the Escalade remains an excellent option.

Overview
MSRP
$48,350
$76,195
Average price
$32,933
$73,555
Listings
Ratings & Reviews
User reviews
4.6
4.7
Expert reviews

8.5 out of 10

Read full review

8.2 out of 10

Read full review
Pros & cons
Pros
  • Stylish design
  • Great safety ratings
  • Premium interior materials
Cons
  • Fairly pedestrian performance
  • Underwhelming base engine
Pros
  • Great ride quality
  • Powerful engine
  • Impressive technology
Cons
  • Advanced safety features are not standard
  • Poor fuel economy
Summary
The XC90 has been one of our favorite family shuttles for 18 model years. This 3-row Volvo continues for 2020 as it was during its 2016 redesign, which brought dramatic new design language, chassis architecture, electrified powertrains, infotainment, and semi-automated driving capability. Among midsize SUVs, the XC90 is among the few I would recommend without any hesitation. Families who can afford to splurge will find a stylish and pampering truck that's built upon decades of safety research, which very few automakers can match.
Youthful aspiration often translates into adult acquisition. When the first Cadillac Escalade went on sale and quickly became an American popular culture icon, the oldest Millennials were just getting their driver’s licenses, and the youngest weren’t born yet. Today, this “digital native” generation raised on rap music is turning 40, moving to the suburbs, and raising families. Plus, it is poised to inherit a reported $68 trillion from Baby Boomers by 2030, the largest wealth transfer in modern history. Despite suffering through the Great Recession and now a global pandemic, will Millennials spend their passed-down windfalls on a six-figure full-size SUV that gets 16 mpg? Some will, and in so doing, they’ll get a mighty impressive and technologically sophisticated, fifth-generation Cadillac on 22s.
Video
No video found
Popular Features & Specs
Engine
2.0L 250 hp I4
6.2L 420 hp V8
Drive Train
FWD
RWD
Seating Capacity
7
8
Horsepower
250 hp @ 5500 rpm
420 hp @ 5600 rpm
MPG City
21
14
MPG Highway
30
20
Look and feel
2020 Volvo XC90
10/10
2021 Cadillac Escalade
9/10
The 2020 Volvo XC90 embodied a peak in Volvo’s modern design, reminiscent of their classic ‛80s and ‛90s models but with a contemporary twist. The XC90 managed to blend sophistication with a strong presence. The R-Design trim featured a blacked-out, honeycomb grille, black window surrounds, black mirrors, an aggressive chin spoiler, and stunning 22-inch rims. The "Thor's hammer" LED headlights, standard across trims, and the distinctive thin LED taillights added significant character to the SUV. The subtle yet impactful design details such as the arching shoulder crease emphasized its width and stability, originating from designs dating back to the 1999 S80 sedan. The Thunder Grey Metallic paint with a blue hue against a beige-leather and aluminum interior further accentuated its finely tuned aesthetic. On the other hand, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade's design drew inspiration from the Escala concept vehicle, presenting a modern yet familiar look. While not revolutionary from the rear, the front displayed a bold new face. For the first time, the Escalade rode on standard 22-inch wheels, with sharp creases along its sides. The OLED taillights stretched vertically and faded into the roof, giving it a unique attribute. Depending on the trim, the Escalade’s exterior could vary from the stark black Luxury trim to the more luxurious Platinum versions. The test model's Premium Luxury trim was complemented by Shadow Metallic paint and various premium features including power-retractable side steps with ground lighting, further gasolineing its distinguished look.
Performance
2020 Volvo XC90
7/10
2021 Cadillac Escalade
9/10
Under the hood, the 2020 Volvo XC90 offered three powertrain options. The base T5 came with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 engine, producing 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, which was considered insufficient for the vehicle's size. The T6 variant added a supercharger, resulting in 316 hp and 295 lb-ft, capable of handling high-speed traffic. The T6's Polestar tune upgrade boosted these figures to 330 hp and 325 lb-ft. Despite the hype, the XC90 never offered a linear performance and struggled with its 8-speed automatic transmission. Fuel efficiency remained a drawback with the T6 averaging 20 mpg during a test drive. On the higher spectrum, the T8 plug-in hybrid delivered 400 hp and 472 lb-ft, but its added weight nullified the anticipated speed advantage, averaging just 27 mpg combined. Conversely, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade impressively balanced power and performance with its standard 6.2-liter V8 engine, churning out 420 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque. The 10-speed automatic transmission ensured smooth power delivery to all four wheels. Additionally, Cadillac’s Performance Upgrade Package enhanced the V8's capabilities with a performance air intake kit and cat-back performance exhaust system. The optional 3.0-liter turbo-diesel offered an alternative, providing 277 hp and matching the V8’s 460 lb-ft torque, with better fuel efficiency. The Escalade averaged 15.9 mpg on a 140-mile test loop, aligning well with the EPA's estimates. Its advanced Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) 4.0 adaptive dampers and the new 4-Corner Air Ride suspension significantly improved the ride quality, especially on rough terrains, making it a delight to drive despite its heft.
Form and function
2020 Volvo XC90
8/10
2021 Cadillac Escalade
10/10
The 2020 Volvo XC90's cabin was a testament to its Scandinavian design philosophy of simplicity and functionality. Volvo's Sensus infotainment system, faster and more responsive in this generation, handled all climate controls through the touchscreen, which might have been overwhelming for some. The cabin provided generous legroom in the first and second rows, but the third row was tight, suitable only for small children. Cargo space was commendable, with up to 85.7 cubic feet available when the rear seats were folded. Unique features like the customizable booster cushion showcased Volvo's dedication to family-centric details. In comparison, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade's redesign resulted in a more spacious and functional interior. The new independent rear suspension design allowed a lower cabin floor, enhancing legroom and cargo capacity. The first and second rows offered ample comfort with heated and ventilated seats available across trims, while the optional massaging seats added luxury. The Escalade's third-row significantly improved to accommodate adults comfortably. Cargo capacity shone, with up to 109.1 cubic feet of space available when all rear seats were folded in the standard-length model. The ESV variant further expanded these figures to 126.6 cubic feet.
Technology
2020 Volvo XC90
8/10
2021 Cadillac Escalade
8/10
Volvo equipped the 2020 XC90 with a robust suite of technological features. Volvo Pilot Assist, a semi-automated driving system, combined adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist for a superior driving experience. The four-zone climate control and the exceptional 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins stereo system stood out. This system included a vented subwoofer and surround sound processing, plus the option to simulate the acoustics of the Gothenburg Concert Hall. Despite the high-quality display and touchscreen capabilities, the onboard apps showed some lag in load times, and the digital instrument panel offered limited customization options. The 2021 Cadillac Escalade featured an advanced technological setup, highlighted by its industry-first OLED instrumentation and infotainment screens. This 38-inch curved-glass display presented visuals sharper than a 4K TV, with an innovative film to reduce glare. The 16.9-inch touchscreen, while impressive, had some inconvenient navigation aspects. The Escalade boasted features like Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 19-speaker AKG premium sound system, and the option to upgrade to a 36-speaker AKG Reference system with customizable front and rear volume controls. Voice recognition and AR navigation further enriched the user experience, though the voice control functions occasionally fell short of expectations.
Safety
2020 Volvo XC90
10/10
2021 Cadillac Escalade
8/10
Safety has long been a core strength of the Volvo XC90. It received top marks from both NHTSA and IIHS, though it fell short of the Top Safety Pick+ designation due to headlight performance. Standard features included forward emergency braking, pedestrian detection, a driver-attention monitor, blind-spot monitoring, traffic-sign recognition, and a durable boron steel roof. Volvo’s long history of safety innovations, such as the whiplash protection system and curtain airbags that stay inflated during rollovers, underscored its commitment to protecting passengers. The 2021 Cadillac Escalade also prioritized safety, leveraging its massive size to its advantage. It came equipped with forward collision warning, automatic forward emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, and lane-keeping assistance among numerous other systems. The inclusion of Teen Driver technology, a surround-view camera system, and rear-seat reminders further enhanced its safety credentials. Premium trims offered advanced features like high-speed forward emergency braking and automatic seatbelt tightening. While the advanced systems generally performed well, occasional false alarms were a concern.
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