2019 Volvo XC90 vs. 2018 Lincoln Navigator

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC90 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 Navigator doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

The XC90’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Navigator doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC90 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Lincoln Navigator doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle seat belts.

Both the XC90 and Navigator have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC90 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 Navigator’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 XC90 offers an optional built in child booster seat. It’s more crash worthy than an added child seat because of its direct attachment to the seat. Lincoln doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the Navigator. Their owners must carry a heavy booster seat in and out of the vehicle; XC90 owners can just fold their built-in child seat up or down.

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the XC90 deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The XC90’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The Navigator’s side airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The XC90 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The Navigator doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The XC90 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 Navigator 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.

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the XC90 uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The Navigator uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

Both the XC90 and the Navigator 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, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and available 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 XC90 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 149 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Navigator has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The XC90’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Navigator’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC90 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 Navigator.

Reliability

The battery on the XC90 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures which can degrade battery life. By keeping the XC90’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Navigator’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 T8 running on a full charge gets better fuel mileage than the Navigator 4WD (63 city/61 hwy MPGe vs. 16 city/21 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 T8 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the Navigator 4WD (26 city/30 hwy vs. 16 city/21 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 gets better fuel mileage than the Navigator:

 

 

XC90

Navigator

 

2WD

T5/Auto

21 city/29 hwy

16 city/23 hwy

Turbo V6/Auto

4WD

T5/Auto

20 city/27 hwy

16 city/21 hwy

Turbo V6/Auto

 

T6/Auto

20 city/27 hwy

n/a

 

The XC90 T8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 14 miles. The Navigator must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the XC90 T8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Navigator doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the XC90 T8’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Navigator:

 

XC90 T8

Navigator

Front Rotors

14.4 inches

13.8 inches

Rear Rotors

13.4 inches

13.2 inches

Tires and Wheels

The XC90’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 Navigator Select/Reserve/Black Label’s 45 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The XC90 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The XC90’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Navigator doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For better maneuverability, the XC90’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the Navigator’s (38.7 feet vs. 41 feet). The XC90’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the Navigator’s (39.7 feet vs. 41 feet).

For greater off-road capability the XC90 w/Air Suspension has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Navigator (10.5 vs. 9.6 inches), allowing the XC90 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The Volvo XC90 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 800 to 950 pounds less than the Lincoln Navigator.

The XC90 is 1 foot, 3.1 inches shorter than the Navigator, making the XC90 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Unibody construction lowers the XC90’s center of gravity significantly without reducing ground clearance. This contributes to better on the road handling and better off-road performance and stability. In addition, unibody construction makes the chassis stiffer, improving handling and reducing squeaks and rattles. The Navigator uses body-on-frame design instead.

Ergonomics

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the XC90 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Navigator 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 XC90 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Navigator doesn’t offer headlight washers.

Optional air-conditioned the front and second row seats keep the XC90’s passengers comfortable and take the sting out of hot leather in summer. The Navigator doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats for the second row.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC90 is less expensive to operate than the Navigator because it costs $81 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the XC90 than the Navigator, including $387 less for a timing belt/chain and $104 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Volvo XC90, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels. The Lincoln Navigator isn't recommended.

Motor Trend selected the XC90 as their 2016 Sport Utility of the Year. The Navigator has never been chosen.

The XC90 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2016. The Navigator has never been an “All Star.”

The Volvo XC90 outsold the Lincoln Navigator/Navigator L by almost three to one during 2017.

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

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