2021 Volvo S60 vs. 2020 Acura RLX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo S60 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 Acura RLX doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

Both the S60 and RLX have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The S60 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 RLX’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 S60 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 RLX 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.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The S60 offers optional CTA Auto Brake that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The RLX doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The S60’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 RLX doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the S60 and the RLX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and available around view monitors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, with its optional vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the S60 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 32 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The RLX has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

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The S60’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the RLX’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the S60 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Acura doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the RLX.

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the S60 has a standard 210-amp alternator. The RLX’s 150-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the S60 has a standard 800-amp battery. The RLX’s 550-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Volvo vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Volvo 4 places higher in reliability than Acura.

Engine

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The S60 has more powerful engines than the RLX:

Horsepower

Torque

S60 T6 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder

316 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

S60 Recharge 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid

400 HP

472 lbs.-ft.

RLX 3.5 SOHC V6

310 HP

272 lbs.-ft.

RLX Sport Hybrid 3.5 SOHC V6

377 HP

341 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the S60 Recharge running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the RLX Sport Hybrid (70 city/68 hwy MPGe vs. 28 city/29 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the S60 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the RLX:

MPG

S60

FWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/34 hwy

AWD

T8 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl. Hybrid

28 city/33 hwy

T6 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl.

21 city/32 hwy

RLX

FWD

3.5 SOHC V6

20 city/29 hwy

AWD

3.5 SOHC V6 Hybrid

28 city/29 hwy

The S60 Recharge can drive on battery power alone for up to 22 miles. The RLX must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regardless of its engine, the S60’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.) Acura only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the RLX Sport Hybrid.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volvo S60 higher (5 to 7 out of 10) than the Acura RLX (3 to 7). This means the S60 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the RLX every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the S60’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the RLX:

S60 T5

S60 Polestar

RLX

RLX Sport Hybrid

Front Rotors

12.7 inches

14.6 inches

12.3 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

12.6 inches

12.2 inches

12.2 inches

The S60’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the RLX are solid, not vented.

The S60 stops shorter than the RLX:

S60

RLX

70 to 0 MPH

163 feet

166 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

110 feet

119 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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The S60 has a standard space-saver spare (not available on Recharge) so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the RLX; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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The S60 R-Design AWD handles at .91 G’s, while the RLX pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The S60 Polestar executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.9 seconds quicker than the RLX (25.4 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 27.3 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the S60’s turning circle is 3.4 feet tighter than the RLX’s (37.1 feet vs. 40.5 feet).

Chassis

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The Volvo S60 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 300 pounds less than the Acura RLX.

The S60 is 10.7 inches shorter than the RLX, making the S60 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity

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The S60’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The RLX doesn’t offer folding rear seats, only a ski pass-through.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the S60’s optional rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The RLX doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the S60’s power trunk can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The RLX doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Towing

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The S60 has a 2000 lbs. towing capacity. The RLX has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the RLX, the S60 R-Design/Inscription 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 power windows standard on both the S60 and the RLX have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the S60 is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The RLX prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the S60 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The RLX doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

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 S60’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the RLX’s headlights are rated “Acceptable.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The S60 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The RLX doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the S60 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The RLX doesn’t offer cornering lights. The S60 also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The S60 Inscription offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the RLX.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Volvo S60 offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The RLX doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The S60’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 RLX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the S60 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the S60 will cost $3825 less than the RLX over a five-year period.

The S60 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the S60 will retain 40.05% to 43.62% of its original price after five years, while the RLX only retains 36.43% to 37.49%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Volvo S60 will be $2562 to $19493 less than for the Acura RLX.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/10/29

J.D. Power and Associates rated the S60 second among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The RLX isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Volvo 60 Series outsold the Acura RLX by almost 20 to one during 2019.

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

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