2019 Volvo S90 vs. 2018 Infiniti Q50

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 Infiniti Q50 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

Both the S90 and Q50 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 Q50’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. Infiniti doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the Q50. 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 a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The Q50 doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

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 Q50 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 Q50 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the S90 and the Q50 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the S90 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 149 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Q50 has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

The S90’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the Q50’s (12 vs. 7 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. Infiniti doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Q50.

There are over 39 percent more Volvo dealers than there are Infiniti dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the S90’s warranty.

Engine

The S90 has more powerful engines than the Q50:

 

Horsepower

Torque

S90 T5 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

250 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

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.

Q50 2.0t 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

208 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

Q50 3.0t 3.0 turbo V6

300 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

Q50 Hybrid 3.5 DOHC V6

360 HP

n/a

Q50 Red Sport 400 3.0 turbo V6

400 HP

350 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the S90 T8 running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Q50 Hybrid AWD (70 city/72 hwy MPGe vs. 26 city/30 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the S90 T8 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the Q50 Hybrid AWD (26 city/33 hwy vs. 26 city/30 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the S90 gets better fuel mileage than the Q50:

 

 

S90

Q50

 

2WD

T5/Auto

23 city/35 hwy

23 city/30 hwy

2.0t/Auto

 

 

n/a

20 city/29 hwy

3.0t/Auto

 

 

n/a

20 city/26 hwy

Red Sport 400/Auto

AWD

T5/Auto

22 city/31 hwy

22 city/28 hwy

2.0t/Auto

 

T6/Auto

21 city/31 hwy

19 city/27 hwy

3.0t/Auto

 

 

n/a

19 city/26 hwy

Red Sport 400/Auto

The S90 T8’s maximum driving range in pure electric mode is 14 miles, about 12 times as far as the Q50 Hybrid’s 1.2 mile range.

Regardless of its engine, regenerative brakes improve the S90’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. Infiniti only offers a regenerative brake system on the Q50 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.) Infiniti only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Q50 Hybrid/2.0t.

The S90 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 Q50 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Volvo S90, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the Q50.

Brakes and Stopping

The S90 stops shorter than the Q50:

 

S90

Q50

 

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

165 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

107 feet

115 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the S90 has larger standard tires than the Q50 (245/45R18 vs. 225/55R17). The S90’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Q50 (255/35R20 vs. 245/40R19).

The S90’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Q50’s standard 55 series tires. The S90’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Q50 Red Sport 400’s 40 series front tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S90 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Q50. The S90’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the Q50.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S90’s wheelbase is 8.3 inches longer than on the Q50 (120.5 inches vs. 112.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the S90 is 3.4 inches wider in the front and 2.4 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Q50.

The S90 T6 Momentum handles at .90 G’s, while the Q50 pulls only .88 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Passenger Space

The S90 has 3.2 inches more front hip room, .8 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 5.3 inches more rear legroom and 2.4 inches more rear hip room than the Q50.

Cargo Capacity

The S90 has a larger trunk than the Q50 (13.5 vs. 13.2 cubic feet) The S90 has a much larger trunk than the Q50 Hybrid (13.5 vs. 9.4 cubic feet).

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the S90’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Q50 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 Q50 doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Towing

The S90 has a 3700 lbs. towing capacity. The Q50 has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the Q50 (except 2.0t), 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 S90 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Q50 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the S90 and the Q50 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 Q50 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 Q50 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 Q50 doesn’t offer headlight washers.

A power rear sunshade is standard in the S90 Inscription to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Q50 doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

Both the S90 and the Q50 offer available heated front seats. The S90 Inscription also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Q50.

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 Q50 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

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 Q50 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 Q50 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

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 Q50 isn’t in the top three.

The S90 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2017. The Q50 has never been an “All Star.”

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

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