2019 Volvo S90 vs. 2018 Acura RLX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/02

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo S90 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Acura RLX doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

Both the S90 and RLX have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The S90 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The RLX’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The Volvo S90 offers optional built in child booster seats. They’re more crash worthy than an added child seat because of their direct attachment to the seat. Acura doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the RLX. Their owners must carry a heavy booster seat in and out of the vehicle; S90 owners can just fold their built-in child seat up or down.

The S90 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The RLX doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The S90’s 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 RLX doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the S90 and the RLX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

Warranty

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The S90’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the RLX’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the S90 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Acura doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the RLX.

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the S90 has a standard 800-amp battery. The RLX’s 550-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

Engine

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The S90 has more powerful engines than the RLX:

 

Horsepower

Torque

S90 T6 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

316 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

S90 T8 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid

400 HP

472 lbs.-ft.

RLX 3.5 SOHC V6

310 HP

272 lbs.-ft.

RLX Sport Hybrid 3.5 SOHC V6

377 HP

341 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the S90 T8 running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the RLX Sport Hybrid (70 city/72 hwy MPGe vs. 28 city/29 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the S90 T8 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the RLX Sport Hybrid (26 city/33 hwy vs. 28 city/29 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the S90 T5 FWD gets better fuel mileage than the RLX FWD (23 city/35 hwy vs. 20 city/29 hwy).

The S90 T8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 14 miles. The RLX must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regardless of its engine, regenerative brakes improve the S90’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. Acura only offers a regenerative brake system on the RLX Sport Hybrid.

Regardless of its engine, the S90’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Acura only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the RLX Sport Hybrid.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the S90’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the RLX:

 

S90 T5

S90 T6/T8

RLX

RLX Sport Hybrid

Front Rotors

12.7 inches

13.6 inches

12.3 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

12.6 inches

12.2 inches

12.2 inches

The S90’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the RLX are solid, not vented.

The S90 stops much shorter than the RLX:

 

S90

RLX

 

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

166 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

107 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the S90’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the RLX (255/35R20 vs. 245/40R19).

The S90’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the RLX’s 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S90 offers optional 20-inch wheels. The RLX’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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The S90 offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The RLX’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S90’s wheelbase is 8.3 inches longer than on the RLX (120.5 inches vs. 112.2 inches).

The S90 T6 Inscription handles at .88 G’s, while the RLX pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The S90 T6 Inscription executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the RLX (26.3 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 27.3 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the S90 18” wheels’ turning circle is 1.8 feet tighter than the RLX’s (38.7 feet vs. 40.5 feet). The S90 19” wheels’ turning circle is .5 feet tighter than the RLX’s (40 feet vs. 40.5 feet).

Passenger Space

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The S90 has .2 inches more front headroom, .5 inches more front hip room, .9 inches more rear headroom, 1.6 inches more rear legroom and .4 inches more rear hip room than the RLX.

Cargo Capacity

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The S90 has a much larger trunk than the RLX Sport Hybrid (13.5 vs. 11.6 cubic feet).

The S90’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The RLX doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the S90’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The RLX doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just waving your foot can open the S90’s power trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The S90’s power trunk can also be opened or closed by pressing a button. The RLX doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Towing

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The S90 has a 3700 lbs. towing capacity. The RLX has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the RLX, the S90 Inscription has a passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The power windows standard on both the S90 and the RLX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the S90 is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The RLX prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the S90 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The RLX doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The S90 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The RLX doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the S90 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The RLX doesn’t offer cornering lights. The S90 also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The S90 Inscription has standard front air-conditioned seats and offers them optionally in the rear. This keeps the passengers comfortable and takes the sting out of hot seats in summer. The RLX doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats in the rear.

The S90 has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The RLX doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The S90’s optional Park Assist Pilot can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The RLX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the S90 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the S90 will cost $1070 to $4510 less than the RLX over a five-year period.

The S90 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the S90 will retain 37.83% to 40.23% of its original price after five years, while the RLX only retains 33.29% to 35.23%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Volvo S90 will be $10785 to $15777 less than for the Acura RLX.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/02

J.D. Power and Associates rated the S90 third among midsize premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The RLX isn’t in the top three in its category.

The S90 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2017. The RLX has never been an “All Star.”

The Volvo 90 Series outsold the Acura RLX by almost 9 to one during 2017.

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

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