2021 Volvo S60 vs. 2020 Lexus ES Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 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

The S60’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The ES Series doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the S60 and ES Series 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 ES Series’ 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 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 ES Series doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The S60 offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The ES Series doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the S60 and the ES Series have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors and available around view monitors.

Warranty

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The S60’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the ES Series’ (12 vs. 6 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the S60 for 2 years and 26000 miles longer than Lexus pays for maintenance for the ES Series (3/36,000 vs. 1/10,000).

There are over 16 percent more Volvo dealers than there are Lexus dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the S60’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the S60 has a standard 800-amp battery. The ES Series’ 603-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the S60 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the S60’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The ES Series’ battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

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The S60 has more powerful engines than the ES Series:

Horsepower

Torque

S60 T5 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

250 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

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.

ES 300h 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid

215 HP

n/a

ES 350 3.5 DOHC V6

302 HP

267 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the S60 T6 is faster than the ES 300h:

S60

ES Series

Zero to 60 MPH

5.9 sec

7.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14.3 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

99.2 MPH

90.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the S60 Recharge running on electricity running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the ES Series:

MPGe

S60

AWD

Electric Motor

70 city/68 hwy

ES Series

MPG

FWD

300h 2.5 4-cyl. Hybrid

43 city/44 hwy

350 3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/32 hwy

350 F Sport 3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/31 hwy

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

MPG

S60

FWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/34 hwy

AWD

T6 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl.

21 city/32 hwy

ES Series

FWD

350 3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/32 hwy

350 F Sport 3.5 DOHC V6

22 city/31 hwy

The S60 Recharge’s maximum driving range in pure electric mode is 22 miles, about 14 times as far as the ES 300h’s 1.6-mile range.

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.) Lexus only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the ES Series Hybrid.

The S60 FWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the ES Series Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (14.5 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The S60 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 ES Series doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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

S60 T5

S60 Polestar

ES Series

Front Rotors

12.7 inches

14.6 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

12.6 inches

11.1 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 ES Series are solid, not vented.

The S60 stops much shorter than the ES Series:

S60

ES Series

60 to 0 MPH

110 feet

140 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the S60 has larger tires than the ES Series (235/45R18 vs. 215/55R17).

The S60’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the ES Series’ standard 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S60 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the ES Series.

Suspension and Handling

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The S60’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (55% to 45%) than the ES Series’ (59% to 41%). This gives the S60 more stable handling and braking.

The S60 R-Design AWD handles at .91 G’s, while the ES 300h pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The S60 Polestar executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 3 seconds quicker than the ES 300h (25.4 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .6 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the S60’s turning circle is .9 feet tighter than the ES Series’ (37.1 feet vs. 38 feet). The S60’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the ES Series w/18-19” wheels’ (37.1 feet vs. 38.8 feet).

Chassis

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The S60 is 8.5 inches shorter than the ES Series, making the S60 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The S60 has .3 inches more front hip room, .2 inches more front shoulder room and .2 inches more rear shoulder room than the ES Series.

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the S60 easier. The S60’s trunk lift-over height is 26 inches, while the ES Series’ liftover is 27.4 inches.

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the S60’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. The ES Series’ useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.

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

Towing

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The S60 has a 2000 lbs. towing capacity. The ES Series has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the ES Series, 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 S60’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The ES Series’ standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 ES Series doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Consumer Reports rated the S60’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the ES Series’ headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

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 ES Series doesn’t offer headlight washers.

Both the S60 and the ES Series offer optional heated front seats. The S60 T6/Recharge also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the ES Series.

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 ES Series.

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 ES Series doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the S60 is less expensive to operate than the ES Series because typical repairs cost much less on the S60 than the ES Series, including $24 less for a starter, $30 less for fuel injection, $232 less for front struts, $1034 less for a timing belt/chain and $873 less for a power steering pump.

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

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its January 2019 issue and they ranked the Volvo S60 R-Design AWD higher than the Lexus ES 300h.

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 ES Series isn’t in the top three.

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

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