2019 Volvo S90 vs. 2019 Acura TLX

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 2020/06/03

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 TLX doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

Both the S90 and TLX 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 TLX’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 TLX. 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 TLX 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 TLX 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 TLX doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the S90 and the TLX 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, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Volvo S90 is safer than the TLX:

 

S90

TLX

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Head injury index

76

250

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

16 cm

23 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

.9/.7 kN

1.6/2.1 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Tibia index R/L

.52/.44

1.15/.91

Tibia forces R/L

2.9/.6 kN

4.4/5 kN

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 139 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The TLX was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

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The S90’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the TLX’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 TLX.

There are over 10 percent more Volvo dealers than there are Acura dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the S90’s warranty.

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 TLX’s 650-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

Engine

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The S90 has more powerful engines than the TLX:

 

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.

TLX 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

206 HP

182 lbs.-ft.

TLX 3.5 SOHC V6

290 HP

267 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the S90 T6 is faster than the Acura TLX V6:

 

S90

TLX

Zero to 60 MPH

5.6 sec

5.9 sec

Quarter Mile

14.1 sec

14.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98.9 MPH

98.4 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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 2020/06/03

On the EPA test cycle the S90 T8 running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the TLX SH-AWD (70 city/72 hwy MPGe vs. 20 city/29 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the S90 T8 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the TLX SH-AWD (26 city/33 hwy vs. 20 city/29 hwy).

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

 

 

S90

TLX

 

FWD

 

n/a

23 city/33 hwy

4 cyl./Auto

 

T5/Auto

23 city/35 hwy

20 city/31 hwy

V6/Auto

 

 

n/a

20 city/30 hwy

V6/Auto A-Spec

AWD

T5/Auto

22 city/31 hwy

20 city/29 hwy

V6/Auto

 

T6/Auto

21 city/31 hwy

n/a

 

The S90 T8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 21 miles. The TLX must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the S90’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The TLX doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

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 TLX SH-AWD.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the S90 T6/T8’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the TLX:

 

S90 T5

S90 T6/T8

TLX

Front Rotors

12.7 inches

13.6 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

12.6 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 TLX are solid, not vented.

The S90 stops much shorter than the TLX:

 

S90

TLX

 

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

107 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the S90 has larger standard tires than the TLX (245/45R18 vs. 225/55R17). The S90’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the TLX (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 TLX’s standard 55 series tires. The S90’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the TLX A-Spec’s 40 series tires.

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

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 TLX’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S90’s wheelbase is 11.2 inches longer than on the TLX (120.5 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the S90 is 1.1 inches wider in the front and .8 inches wider in the rear than the track on the TLX.

The S90 T6 Momentum handles at .90 G’s, while the TLX V6 SH-AWD pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The S90 T6 Inscription executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the TLX (26.3 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 27 seconds @ .74 average G’s).

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the S90 a Mid-size car, while the TLX is rated a Compact.

The S90 has 8.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the TLX (102 vs. 93.3).

The S90 has .6 inches more front headroom, 1.1 inches more front hip room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom and 5.9 inches more rear legroom than the TLX.

Cargo Capacity

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

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

Towing

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

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the TLX, 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 TLX doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the S90 and the TLX 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 TLX prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The S90’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The TLX’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

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 TLX 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 TLX 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 TLX 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.

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

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 TLX 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 TLX 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 TLX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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 2020/06/03

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 TLX isn’t in the top three.

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

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

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