2019 Volvo S90 vs. 2019 Lincoln MKZ

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 Lincoln MKZ doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The S90’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The MKZ doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the S90 and MKZ 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 MKZ’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. Lincoln doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the MKZ. 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 MKZ 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 MKZ 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 offers an optional 360° Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The MKZ only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the S90 and the MKZ 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, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, driver alert monitors and available all wheel drive.

Warranty

The S90’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the MKZ’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. Lincoln only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the MKZ.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the S90 has a standard 800-amp battery. The MKZ’s 500-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

Engine

The S90 has more powerful engines than the MKZ:

 

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.

MKZ Hybrid 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

188 HP

n/a

MKZ 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

245 HP

275 lbs.-ft.

MKZ 3.0 turbo V6

350 HP

400 lbs.-ft.

MKZ 3.0 turbo V6

400 HP

400 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the S90 T6 is faster than the Lincoln MKZ turbo 4 cyl.:

 

S90

MKZ

Zero to 60 MPH

5.6 sec

7.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.9 sec

21.6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.1 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

101 MPH

88 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the S90 T8 running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the MKZ Hybrid (70 city/72 hwy MPGe vs. 42 city/39 hwy).

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

 

 

 

MPG

S90

 

FWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

23 city/35 hwy

 

AWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

24 city/32 hwy

 

 

T6 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4 cyl.

23 city/32 hwy

MKZ

 

FWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

20 city/31 hwy

 

 

3.0 turbo V6

18 city/27 hwy

 

AWD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

20 city/29 hwy

 

 

3.0 turbo V6

17 city/26 hwy

The S90 T8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 21 miles. The MKZ 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. Lincoln only offers a regenerative brake system on the MKZ 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.) Lincoln only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the MKZ Hybrid.

Transmission

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

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

S90 T5

S90 T6/T8

MKZ Hybrid

MKZ 2.0T/3.0T

Front Rotors

12.7 inches

13.6 inches

11.8 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

12.6 inches

11.9 inches

12.4 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 MKZ are solid, not vented.

The S90 stops much shorter than the MKZ:

 

S90

MKZ

 

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

170 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

107 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the S90’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the MKZ (255/35R20 vs. 245/45R18).

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 MKZ’s optional 40 series tires.

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

Suspension and Handling

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

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the S90 is 1.6 inches wider in the front and 1.9 inches wider in the rear than the track on the MKZ.

The S90 T6 Momentum handles at .90 G’s, while the MKZ Hybrid pulls only .83 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The S90 T6 Inscription executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.3 seconds quicker than the MKZ Premiere (26.3 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The S90 has 5.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the MKZ (102 vs. 96.6).

The S90 has 1.3 inches more front hip room, 1.2 inches more rear headroom, 3.4 inches more rear legroom, 1.1 inches more rear hip room and .1 inches more rear shoulder room than the MKZ.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the S90 easier. The S90’s trunk lift-over height is 26.5 inches, while the MKZ’s liftover is 30.5 inches.

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

With its sedan body style, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the S90 offers cargo security. The MKZ’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just waving your foot can open the S90’s trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The MKZ doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

The S90’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the MKZ’s (3700 vs. 1000 pounds). Maximum trailer towing in the Lincoln MKZ is only 1000 pounds. The S90 offers up to a 4600 lbs. towing capacity.

While the MKZ Hybrid is not recommended to tow, any S90 can tow a minimum of 3700 pounds.

Ergonomics

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

The S90 has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The MKZ doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

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 MKZ doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Consumer Reports rated the S90’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the MKZ’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

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 MKZ doesn’t offer headlight washers.

When the S90 is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The MKZ’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

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 MKZ doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats in the rear.

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 MKZ isn’t in the top three in its category.

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

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

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