2019 Volvo XC90 vs. 2019 Lincoln MKT

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 MKT 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 MKT 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 MKT doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle seat belts.

Both the XC90 and MKT 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 MKT’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 MKT. 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 MKT’s 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 MKT doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The XC90 has standard City Safety and Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The MKT offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

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 MKT 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.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the XC90’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The MKT doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

The Volvo XC90 has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The MKT doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The XC90 offers an optional 360-Degree Surround View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The MKT 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.

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 MKT doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the XC90 and the MKT have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras and rear cross-path warning.

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 154 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The MKT has not been fully tested, yet, but doesn’t qualify for 2017 “Top Pick.”

Warranty

The XC90’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the MKT’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 MKT.

Reliability

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the XC90 has a standard 210-amp alternator. The MKT’s 200-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the XC90 has a standard 800-amp battery. The MKT’s 650-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

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 MKT’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

The XC90 T8’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 35 more horsepower (400 vs. 365) and 122 lbs.-ft. more torque (472 vs. 350) than the MKT’s 3.5 turbo V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Volvo XC90 is faster than the Lincoln MKT:

 

XC90 T6

XC90 T8

MKT

Zero to 60 MPH

6 sec

5.3 sec

6.1 sec

Top Speed

132 MPH

132 MPH

123 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 T8 running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the MKT (59 city/56 hwy MPGe vs. 15 city/21 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 T8 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the MKT (24 city/27 hwy vs. 15 city/21 hwy).

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

 

 

 

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

MKT

 

AWD

3.5 turbo V6

15 city/21 hwy

The XC90 T8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 17 miles. The MKT 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 MKT doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the XC90’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 MKT doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volvo XC90 higher (5 to 7 out of 10) than the Lincoln MKT (3). This means the XC90 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the MKT every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Volvo XC90, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the MKT.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

XC90 T8

MKT

Front Rotors

14.4 inches

13.86 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the XC90’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the MKT (275/45R20 vs. 255/45R20).

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 MKT’s optional 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XC90 offers optional 21-inch wheels. The MKT’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 MKT doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The XC90 T6 AWD handles at .84 G’s, while the MKT pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The XC90 T6 AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.9 seconds quicker than the MKT (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.7 seconds @ .57 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the XC90’s turning circle is 2.8 feet tighter than the MKT AWD’s (38.7 feet vs. 41.5 feet). The XC90’s turning circle is 1.8 feet tighter with 22-inch wheels than the MKT AWD’s (39.7 feet vs. 41.5 feet).

Chassis

The Volvo XC90 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 200 pounds less than the Lincoln MKT.

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

Passenger Space

The XC90 has .3 inches more front hip room, .6 inches more rear hip room, 2.8 inches more third row headroom and 4.3 inches more third row hip room than the MKT.

Cargo Capacity

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

 

XC90

MKT

Third Seat Folded

41.8 cubic feet

39.6 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

85.7 cubic feet

75.9 cubic feet

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the XC90’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by waving your foot, leaving your hands completely free. The MKT doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

The XC90’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the MKT’s (4000 vs. 2000 pounds).

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the MKT, 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.

The XC90 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The MKT doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 MKT 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 MKT doesn’t offer headlight washers.

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

When the XC90 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 MKT’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Standard Sensus Connected Touch for the XC90 allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including reading text messages aloud, playing internet radio stations, searching the internet and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The MKT doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

Model Availability

The XC90 is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The MKT doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

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 MKT has never been chosen.

The XC90 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2016. The MKT hasn’t been picked since 2009.

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

The Volvo XC90 outsold the Lincoln MKT by almost 14 to one during 2018.

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

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