2019 Nissan Maxima vs. 2019 Volvo S90

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Maxima are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The S90 doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Maxima (except S/SV/SL) offers optional Rear Automatic Braking which use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The S90 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the Maxima and the S90 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver knee 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Maxima the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The S90 was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

Nissan’s powertrain warranty covers the Maxima 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Volvo covers the S90. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the S90 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 4 times as many Nissan dealers as there are Volvo dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Maxima’s warranty.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Maxima’s reliability 62 points higher than the S90.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Maxima first among large cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The S90 isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 37 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 29th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 29 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 22nd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 15 places higher in reliability than Volvo.

Engine

The Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 50 more horsepower (300 vs. 250) and 3 lbs.-ft. more torque (261 vs. 258) than the S90 T5’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Nissan Maxima is faster than the S90 T6 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.:

 

Maxima

S90

Zero to 30 MPH

2.8 sec

2.9 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6.5 sec

7.2 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.3 sec

4.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.9 sec

15.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

99.1 MPH

98 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The Maxima has 4.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the S90 T8 Plug-In Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (18 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Maxima has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the S90 T6’s standard fuel tank (18 vs. 15.9 gallons).

Transmission

The Maxima has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The S90 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

The Maxima stops shorter than the S90:

 

Maxima

S90

 

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

142 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The Maxima has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The S90 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

The Maxima offers an optional full size spare tire so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare isn’t available on the S90, it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which has mileage and speed limitations, or roadside assistance and a tow-truck.

Suspension and Handling

The front and rear suspension of the Maxima uses coil springs for better ride, handling and control than the S90, which uses transverse leafs springs in the rear. Coil springs compress more progressively and offer more suspension travel for a smoother ride with less bottoming out.

For better maneuverability, the Maxima’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the S90 18” wheels’ (38.1 feet vs. 38.7 feet). The Maxima’s turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the S90 19” wheels’ (38.1 feet vs. 40 feet).

Chassis

The Nissan Maxima may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 900 pounds less than the Volvo S90.

The Maxima is 7.3 inches shorter than the S90, making the Maxima easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The Maxima SL/SR/Platinum uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The S90 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Maxima has 1.6 inches more front headroom, 2.8 inches more front legroom and .3 inches more rear shoulder room than the S90.

Cargo Capacity

The Maxima has a larger trunk than the S90 (14.3 vs. 13.5 cubic feet).

The Maxima’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The S90 Luxury Package doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

Servicing Ease

A maintenance reminder system is standard on the Maxima to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes and tire rotation based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Volvo doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the S90.

Ergonomics

The Maxima Platinum’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The S90 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Maxima’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The S90 does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Maxima’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the S90’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Maxima has standard extendable sun visors. The S90 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Maxima owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Maxima will cost $475 less than the S90 over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Nissan Maxima will be $9334 to $19609 less than for the Volvo S90.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan Maxima, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Volvo S90 isn't recommended.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Maxima second among large cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The S90 was rated third in its category.

The Nissan Maxima outsold the Volvo 90 Series by over four to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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