2021 Volvo S60 vs. 2020 Lexus IS 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 2020/10/26

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

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 IS Series 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 IS Series doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The S60 offers an optional 360° Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The IS Series only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

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 IS Series doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the S60 and the IS Series have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, 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 and rearview cameras.

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 IS Series has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

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The S60’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the IS 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 IS 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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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 IS Series’ battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

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The S60 has more powerful engines than the IS 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.

IS 300 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

241 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

IS 300 AWD 3.5 DOHC V6

260 HP

236 lbs.-ft.

IS 350 3.5 DOHC V6

311 HP

280 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the S60 T6 is faster than the IS 350:

S60

IS Series

Zero to 60 MPH

5.2 sec

5.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

12.8 sec

13.5 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.1 sec

6.2 sec

Quarter Mile

13.8 sec

14 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

103 MPH

102 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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 2020/10/26

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

MPGe

S60

AWD

Electric Motor

70 city/68 hwy

IS Series

MPG

RWD

300 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/30 hwy

350 3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/28 hwy

AWD

300 3.5 DOHC V6

18 city/24 hwy

350 3.5 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

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

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

IS Series

RWD

300 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/30 hwy

350 3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/28 hwy

AWD

300 3.5 DOHC V6

18 city/24 hwy

350 3.5 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

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

Regenerative brakes improve the S60 T8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The IS Series doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the S60’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 IS Series doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

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 IS Series doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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

S60 Polestar

IS Series

Front Rotors

14.6 inches

13.1 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

12.2 inches

The S60 stops much shorter than the IS Series:

S60

IS Series

70 to 0 MPH

163 feet

177 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

110 feet

128 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the S60 has larger tires than the IS Series (235/45R18 vs. 225/45R17). The S60’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the IS Series (235/45R18 vs. 225/40R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the S60 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the IS Series. The S60’s optional 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels optional on the IS Series.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the S60’s wheelbase is 2.9 inches longer than on the IS Series (113.1 inches vs. 110.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the S60 is 2.6 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than on the IS Series.

The S60 R-Design AWD handles at .94 G’s, while the IS Series AWD pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The S60 Polestar executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.7 seconds quicker than the IS Series (25.4 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 27.1 seconds @ .65 average G’s).

Passenger Space

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The S60 has 5.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the IS Series (96 vs. 90.2).

The S60 has 1 inch more front hip room, .2 inches more front shoulder room, .3 inches more rear headroom, 3 inches more rear legroom and 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the IS Series.

Cargo Capacity

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The S60 has a larger trunk than the IS Series (11.6 vs. 10.8 cubic feet).

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the S60’s optional rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The IS Series 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 IS Series doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening trunk.

Towing

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

Ergonomics

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The S60 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The IS Series doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The S60’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The IS Series has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

The power windows standard on both the S60 and the IS Series 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 IS Series prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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 IS 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 IS Series doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

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

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 IS Series’ 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 IS Series doesn’t offer headlight washers.

Both the S60 and the IS 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 IS 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 IS 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 IS Series 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 $4000 less than the IS Series over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the S60 is less expensive to operate than the IS Series because typical repairs cost much less on the S60 than the IS Series, including $63 less for a water pump, $487 less for a starter, $258 less for fuel injection, $125 less for front struts, $849 less for a timing belt/chain and $950 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 2020/10/26

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 IS Series isn’t in the top three.

The Volvo 60 Series outsold the Lexus IS Series by 35% during 2019.

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

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