2019 Volvo XC90 vs. 2019 Lexus RXL

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 RXL 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 Lexus RXL doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle seat belts.

Both the XC90 and RXL 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 RXL’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. Lexus doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the RXL. 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.

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 RXL 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 XC90’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 RXL doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the XC90 and the RXL have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras and available around view monitors.

Warranty

The XC90’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the RXL’s (12 vs. 6 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. Lexus only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the RXL.

There are over 24 percent more Volvo dealers than there are Lexus dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the XC90’s warranty.

Reliability

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

Engine

The XC90 has more powerful engines than the RXL:

 

Horsepower

Torque

XC90 T6 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

316 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

XC90 T8 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid

400 HP

472 lbs.-ft.

RX 350L 3.5 DOHC V6

290 HP

263 lbs.-ft.

RX 450hL 3.5 DOHC V6 hybrid

308 HP

n/a

As tested in Motor Trend the XC90 T6 is faster than the RX 350L:

 

XC90

RXL

Zero to 60 MPH

6.7 sec

7.6 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90.4 MPH

89.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 T8 running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the RX 450hL (59 city/56 hwy vs. 29 city/28 hwy).

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

 

 

 

MPG

XC90

 

FWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/29 hwy

 

AWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

 

 

T6 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4 cyl.

19 city/26 hwy

RXL

 

FWD

350 3.5 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

 

AWD

350 3.5 DOHC V6

18 city/25 hwy

The XC90 T8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 17 miles. The RXL must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regardless of its engine, the XC90’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.) Lexus only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the RXL Hybrid.

The XC90 Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the RXL Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (18.5 vs. 17.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The XC90 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 RXL doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

XC90 T5/T6

XC90 T8

RXL

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

14.4 inches

12.9 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

13.4 inches

13.3 inches

The XC90 stops much shorter than the RXL:

 

XC90

RXL

 

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

133 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

139 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the XC90’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the RXL (275/45R20 vs. 235/65R18).

The XC90 T5’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the RXL’s standard 65 series tires. The XC90’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the RXL’s optional 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XC90 offers optional 21-inch wheels. The RXL’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

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 RXL doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the XC90’s wheelbase is 7.7 inches longer than on the RXL (117.5 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the XC90 is 1.4 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than the track on the RXL.

The XC90 T6 AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the RX 350L AWD pulls only .75 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The XC90 T6 AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.7 seconds quicker than the RX 350L (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.5 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the XC90 has a 1.2 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the RXL (9.4 vs. 8.2 inches), allowing the XC90 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The XC90 w/Air Suspension’s minimum ground clearance is 2.3 inches higher than on the RXL (10.5 vs. 8.2 inches).

Passenger Space

The XC90 has .2 inches more front hip room, 6.1 inches more rear legroom, .7 inches more rear hip room, 1.5 inches more third row headroom, 8.4 inches more third row legroom, 1.1 inches more third row hip room and 1.2 inches more third row shoulder room than the RXL.

Cargo Capacity

The XC90’s cargo area provides more volume than the RXL.

 

XC90

RXL

Third Seat Folded

41.8 cubic feet

33.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

85.7 cubic feet

70.7 cubic feet

Towing

The XC90’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the RXL’s (4000 vs. 0 pounds).

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the RXL, the XC90 R-Design/Inscription/Excellence 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.

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 RXL doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

A manual rear sunshade is optional in the XC90 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The RXL doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The XC90 Inscription/Excellence has standard front air conditioned seats and the XC90 Excellence also has them in the second row. This keeps the passengers comfortable and takes the sting out of hot seats in summer. The RXL doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats for the second row.

The XC90’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 RXL doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC90 is less expensive to operate than the RXL because typical repairs cost much less on the XC90 than the RXL, including $153 less for a water pump, $117 less for a muffler, $104 less for a starter, $1452 less for a timing belt/chain and $1022 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.

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

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

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the XC90 as the 2016 North American Truck of the Year. The RXL has never been chosen.

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

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