2019 Volvo S90 vs. 2019 Nissan Maxima

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 Nissan Maxima 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 Maxima doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the S90 and Maxima 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 Maxima’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. Nissan doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the Maxima. 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 Maxima 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 all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Maxima doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the S90 and the Maxima have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear 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, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors and available around view monitors.

Warranty

The S90 comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Maxima’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The S90’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Maxima’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. Nissan doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Maxima.

Engine

The S90 T6’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 16 more horsepower (316 vs. 300) and 34 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 261) than the Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6. The S90 T8’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 100 more horsepower (400 vs. 300) and 211 lbs.-ft. more torque (472 vs. 261) than the Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the S90 T6 is faster than the Nissan Maxima:

 

S90

Maxima

Zero to 30 MPH

2 sec

2.4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.6 sec

6 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

9.3 sec

9.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.5 sec

14.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.1 sec

14.5 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the S90 T8 running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Maxima (70 city/72 hwy MPGe vs. 20 city/30 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the S90 T8 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the Maxima (26 city/33 hwy vs. 20 city/30 hwy).

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

 

 

 

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

Maxima

 

FWD

3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/30 hwy

The S90 T8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 21 miles. The Maxima 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 Maxima doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the S90’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Maxima doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

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 Maxima doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

S90 T5

S90 T6/T8

Maxima

Front Rotors

12.7 inches

13.6 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

12.6 inches

12.13 inches

The S90 stops much shorter than the Maxima:

 

S90

Maxima

 

70 to 0 MPH

161 feet

168 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

107 feet

125 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the S90’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Maxima (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 Maxima SR/Platinum’s 40 series tires.

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

Suspension and Handling

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 Maxima’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 Maxima (120.5 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the S90 is 1.5 inches wider in the front and 1.5 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Maxima.

The S90 T6 Inscription handles at .88 G’s, while the Maxima Platinum pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The S90 T6 Inscription executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Maxima Platinum (26.3 seconds @ .68 average G’s vs. 27 seconds @ .67 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The S90 has 3.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Maxima (102 vs. 98.5).

The S90 has 2.2 inches more front hip room, .8 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom, 6.2 inches more rear legroom and 1.4 inches more rear hip room than the Maxima.

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 Maxima’s liftover is 28.8 inches.

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

Towing

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

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the Maxima (except S/SV/SL), 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 Maxima doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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

The S90’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Maxima’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

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 Maxima’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 Maxima 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 Maxima 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 Maxima 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’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Nissan only offers heated mirrors on the Maxima SV/SL/SR/Platinum.

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

Economic Advantages

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 39.02% to 41.61% of its original price after five years, while the Maxima only retains 36.9% to 38.7%.

Recommendations

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

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

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