The 2021 Volvo XC90 is a dynamic, powerful SUV with a refined interior, tablet touchscreens and an outstanding safety record. But how does it fair against the 2021 Land Rover Defender, a highly respected sport utility vehicle with multiple customization options, formidable turbo 6 engine and relaxing cabin?

Design & Style

The Land Rover Defender is tall with a stance that is upright yet blunt. The front is boxy and features an inset in the lower bumper. Short overhangs are visible in the rear and front, which improves its appearance from multiple angles. Overall, it has a chiseled, manly look that will appeal to many drivers. The cabin is both contemporary and utilitarian, with a broad touchscreen that acts as the centerpiece. The layout is horizontal and straightforward, with fabrics that are inspired by the outdoors. The Volvo XC90 has a sleek exterior, with curves in all the right places. The light signatures in the front and back are a nice touch, and the cabin is airy with upmarket materials and the minimalism that Scandinavians have become known for. Buyers get the option of open pore wood and leather that is soft to the touch.

Technology & Safety

Safety is paramount in every vehicle, and the Volvo XC90 doesn't disappoint. In fact, it is one of the safest SUVs on the road, so much so that the NHTSA gave it a perfect five star rating. It is packed with lots of active safety tech such as emergency automatic brakes, parking sensors, lane and cruise control, and the ability to automatically detect road signs while mitigating rear impacts. Amenities within the cabin include nine inch touchscreens, Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, and sound from Bowers & Wilkins. The Land Rover Defender is equipped with many of the safety features found in the XC90, along with a mechanism that monitors the attention of the driver to ensure they are paying attention at all times. It also has a camera with surround view, and perks within the cabin include ten inch infotainment screens, satellite radio, wireless charging for smartphones, and front seats that can be power adjusted eight ways.

Performance

The Land Rover Defender is equipped with a turbo 4, 2 liter engine that can generate 296 horsepower with 295 pounds of torque, which enables it to accelerate from zero to sixty in 7.7 seconds. The Volvo XC90 is also equipped with a turbo 4, 2 liter engine that can generate 250 horsepower with 258 pounds of torque.

The Bottom Line

This is truly a battle of the titans. Although the Land Rover Defender is impressive, its powertrains aren't up to snuff, and some of the materials in its cabin are flimsy, which is absolutely unacceptable for a vehicle of its price range and stature, so the Volvo XC90 wins.

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