Jones Ford Verde Valley Compares 2014 Ford Explorer VS 2013 Volvo XC90 Near Verde Valley, AZ

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2014 Ford Explorer

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2013 Volvo XC90

Safety Comparison

The middle row seatbelts optional on the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The XC90 doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The Explorer Limited/Sport offers an optional collision warning system, which detects an impending crash through forward mounted sensors and flashes a bright light and sounds a loud, distinctive tone to warn the driver to brake or maneuver immediately to avoid a collision. The system also pre-charges the brakes to begin deceleration more quickly. The XC90 doesn't offer a collision warning system.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Explorer 4WD’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The XC90 doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

The Explorer Limited’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The XC90 doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

To help make backing safer, the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The XC90 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The Explorer’s optional 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 XC90 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The Explorer offers optional SYNC ®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The XC90 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 Explorer and the XC90 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available all wheel drive.

Warranty Comparison

Ford’s powertrain warranty covers the Explorer 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Volvo covers the XC90. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the XC90 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The Explorer’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the XC90’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

There are over 11 times as many Ford dealers as there are Volvo dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Explorer’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Explorer has a standard 540 amp battery. The XC90’s 520 amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2012 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Ford vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 19 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 14th.

Engine Comparison

The Explorer’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 34 lbs.-ft. more torque (270 vs. 236) than the XC90’s 3.2 DOHC 6 cyl. The Explorer’s standard 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 50 more horsepower (290 vs. 240) and 19 lbs.-ft. more torque (255 vs. 236) than the XC90’s 3.2 DOHC 6 cyl. The Explorer Sport’s standard 3.5 turbo V6 produces 125 more horsepower (365 vs. 240) and 114 lbs.-ft. more torque (350 vs. 236) than the XC90’s 3.2 DOHC 6 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Explorer 2.0 ECOBoost gets better fuel mileage than the XC90 FWD (20 city/28 hwy vs. 16 city/23 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the Explorer 4WD with its standard engine gets better fuel mileage than the XC90 AWD (17 city/23 hwy vs. 16 city/23 hwy).

The Explorer 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 XC90 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Explorer stops shorter than the XC90:



70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

180 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Explorer has larger standard tires than the XC90 (245/65R17 vs. 235/60R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Explorer offers optional 20-inch wheels. The XC90’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Explorer has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The XC90’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Explorer is 2.7 inches wider in the front and 3.1 inches wider in the rear than on the XC90.

The Explorer Limited 4WD handles at .77 G’s, while the XC90 AWD pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Explorer 4WD’s turning circle is 1.1 feet tighter than the XC90’s (38.9 feet vs. 40 feet). The Explorer Sport’s turning circle is .2 feet tighter than the XC90’s (39.8 feet vs. 40 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The Ford Explorer may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 250 pounds less than the Volvo XC90.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Explorer has 20.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the XC90 (151.7 vs. 131).

The Explorer has 1.7 inches more front headroom, 1.9 inches more front hip room, 3 inches more front shoulder room, 2.1 inches more rear headroom, 5.2 inches more rear legroom, 2.6 inches more rear hip room, 3.6 inches more rear shoulder room, 2.3 inches more third row headroom and 3.1 inches more third row legroom than the XC90.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Explorer’s available middle row seats recline. The XC90’s middle row seats don’t recline.

The Explorer offers an optional rear tailgate seat that can be flipped rearward and used for tailgate picnics. (Do not use seat reversed while vehicle in motion.) The XC90 doesn’t offer a rear tailgate seat.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Explorer’s cargo area provides more volume than the XC90.



Behind Third Seat

21 cubic feet

8.8 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

43.8 cubic feet

43.3 cubic feet

The Explorer’s cargo area is larger than the XC90’s in almost every dimension:



Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)



Max Width



Min Width






Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Explorer Limited’s optional third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The XC90 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

The Explorer’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The XC90’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 and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults or children, the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport offers an optional power rear liftgate, which opens and closes completely automatically by pressing a button on the key fob. The XC90 doesn’t offer a power tailgate.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Explorer (except Base/XLT) offers a 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 driver can also remotely turn on the heater or air conditioner. The XC90 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport’s exterior keypad. The XC90 doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system.

Intelligent Access standard on the Explorer Limited/Sport allows the driver to unlock the doors, cargo door and start the engine all without removing a key from pocket or purse. This eliminates searching for keys before loading groceries, getting in the car in bad weather or making a hurried start to your trip. The Volvo XC90 doesn’t offer an advanced key system.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Explorer Limited detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The XC90 doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Explorer has standard extendable sun visors. The XC90 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Both the Explorer and the XC90 offer available heated front seats. The Explorer Limited also offers optional heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated second row seats aren’t available in the XC90.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Explorer Limited/Sport offers an optional Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The XC90 doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Optional SYNC AppLink for the Explorer allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including playing internet radio stations and other online activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The XC90 doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

With optional voice command, the Explorer offers the driver hands free control of the radio, climate controls, cell phone and the navigation computer by simply speaking. The XC90 doesn’t offer a voice control system.

The Explorer (except Base/XLT) offers an optional 115 volt a/c outlet in the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters which can break or get misplaced. The XC90 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The Explorer Limited’s optional Active Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The XC90 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Explorer is less expensive to operate than the XC90 because it costs $105 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Explorer than the XC90, including $111 less for an alternator, $164 less for front brake pads, $17 less for a starter, $182 less for fuel injection, $161 less for a fuel pump and $245 less for front struts.

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