2020 Acura TLX vs. 2019 Volvo S90

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the TLX and the S90 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the TLX 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Volvo covers the S90. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the S90 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the TLX’s reliability 35 points higher than the S90.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Acura vehicles are better in initial quality than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura 24th in initial quality. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 28th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Acura vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Acura 26th in reliability. With 33 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 29th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Acura vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Acura 16 places higher in reliability than Volvo.

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the TLX V6’s fuel efficiency. The S90 doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Acura TLX uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The S90 T5 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The TLX has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the S90 T8 Plug-In Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (17.2 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The TLX has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the S90 T6’s standard fuel tank (17.2 vs. 15.9 gallons).

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Acura TLX V6, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the S90.

The TLX offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The S90 doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Tires and Wheels

The TLX has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The S90 doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The front and rear suspension of the TLX uses coil springs for better ride, handling and control than the S90, which uses transverse leafs springs in the rear. Coil springs compress more progressively and offer more suspension travel for a smoother ride with less bottoming out.

Chassis

The Acura TLX may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 750 pounds less than the Volvo S90.

The TLX is 9.4 inches shorter than the S90, making the TLX easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The TLX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The S90 doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Cargo Capacity

The TLX has a larger trunk than the S90 (14.3 vs. 13.5 cubic feet).

The TLX’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The S90 Luxury Package doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

Servicing Ease

A Maintenance Minder is standard on the TLX to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes, spark plug replacement, air filter replacement, tire rotation, radiator flush, brake pad replacement and transmission fluid replacement based on actual driving conditions. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Volvo doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the S90.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Acura service is better than Volvo. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 26% lower rating, Volvo is ranked 14th.

Ergonomics

The TLX’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The S90 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The TLX’s headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the S90’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the TLX has standard extendable sun visors. The S90 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Acura TLX offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) for the front seat. The S90 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the TLX owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the TLX will cost $1655 to $6530 less than the S90 over a five-year period.

The TLX will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the TLX will retain 48.4% to 50.83% of its original price after five years, while the S90 only retains 39.02% to 41.61%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Acura TLX will be $17969 to $25297 less than for the Volvo S90.

Recommendations

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Acura TLX, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels. The Volvo S90 isn't recommended.

The Acura TLX outsold the Volvo 90 Series by over three to one during 2018.

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

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