2020 Lexus RX Series vs. 2019 Volvo XC90

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/15

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The RX Series offers optional Auto Brake that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The XC90 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the RX Series and the XC90 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, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH, results indicate that the Lexus RX Series is safer than the Volvo XC90:

RX Series

XC90

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.7 inches

.7 inches

Abdominal Force

110 G’s

153 G’s

Hip Force

214 lbs.

255 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

594 lbs.

608 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RX Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 104 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The XC90 was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

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Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the RX Series 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Volvo covers the XC90. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the XC90 ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Reliability

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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 RX Series’ reliability 58 points higher than the XC90.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the RX Series first among midsize premium suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The XC90 isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 24 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 28th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 98 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 29th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Volvo is ranked 29th.

Transmission

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The RX 450h has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The XC90 doesn’t offer a CVT.

Suspension and Handling

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The RX Series has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The XC90’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The front and rear suspension of the RX Series uses coil springs for better ride, handling and control than the XC90, 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

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The Lexus RX Series may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 500 pounds less than the Volvo XC90.

Passenger Space

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The RX Series has .5 inches more front headroom, 3.2 inches more front legroom, .6 inches more front hip room, .1 inches more front shoulder room, .6 inches more rear headroom, 1 inch more rear legroom and 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the XC90.

Cargo Capacity

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The RX Series has a much larger cargo volume than the XC90 with its rear seat up (18.4 vs. 15.9 cubic feet).

Servicing Ease

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A maintenance reminder system is standard on the RX Series to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes based on odometer mileage. 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 XC90.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Volvo. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 41% lower rating, Volvo is ranked 14th.

Ergonomics

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The RX Series’ 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 XC90’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The RX Series has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The XC90 doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

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 RX Series’ available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the XC90’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 RX Series has standard extendable sun visors. The XC90 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the RX Series owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the RX Series with a number “5” insurance rate while the XC90 is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RX Series is less expensive to operate than the XC90 because it costs $145 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the RX Series than the XC90, including $18 less for front brake pads, $110 less for fuel injection, $247 less for a fuel pump and $191 less for front struts.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lexus RX Series will be $1973 to $14191 less than for the Volvo XC90.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/15

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus RX Series, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Volvo XC90 isn't recommended.

The Lexus RX Series outsold the Volvo XC90 by almost three to one during 2018.

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