2021 Volvo XC90 vs. 2020 Lexus GX460

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

Both the XC90 and GX460 have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC90 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 GX460’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 Volvo XC90 offers an optional built in child booster seat. It’s more crash worthy than an added child seat because of its direct attachment to the seat. Lexus doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the GX460. Their owners must carry a heavy booster seat in and out of the vehicle; XC90 owners can just fold their built-in child seat up or down.

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the XC90 deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The XC90’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The GX460’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The XC90 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 GX460 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.

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the XC90 uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The GX460 uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

Both the XC90 and the GX460 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, 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, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, driver alert monitors and available around view monitors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the XC90 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 132 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The GX460 has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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The XC90’s corrosion warranty is 6 years longer than the GX460’s (12 vs. 6 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC90 for 2 years and 26000 miles longer than Lexus pays for maintenance for the GX460 (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 XC90’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the XC90 has a standard 210-amp alternator. The GX460’s 130-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the XC90 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the XC90’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The GX460’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

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The XC90 T6’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder produces 15 more horsepower (316 vs. 301) than the GX460’s 4.6 DOHC V8. The XC90 Recharge’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid produces 99 more horsepower (400 vs. 301) and 143 lbs.-ft. more torque (472 vs. 329) than the GX460’s 4.6 DOHC V8.

As tested in Car and Driver the Volvo XC90 is faster than the Lexus GX460:

XC90 T6

XC90 Recharge

GX460

Zero to 30 MPH

2.3 sec

n/a

2.5 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

6 sec

5.3 sec

7.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

15.5 sec

14.6 sec

21.5 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.1 sec

5.8 sec

7.6 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.4 sec

n/a

3.7 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.6 sec

n/a

5.1 sec

Quarter Mile

14.6 sec

14 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97 MPH

98 MPH

89 MPH

Top Speed

132 MPH

132 MPH

111 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 2020/10/29

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 Recharge running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the GX460 (58 city/53 hwy MPGe vs. 15 city/19 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the GX460:

MPG

XC90

FWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/30 hwy

AWD

T8 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl. Hybrid

26 city/28 hwy

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

T6 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl.

19 city/28 hwy

GX460

AWD

4.6 DOHC V8

15 city/19 hwy

The XC90 Recharge can drive on battery power alone for up to 18 miles. The GX460 must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the XC90 T8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The GX460 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the XC90’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 GX460 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The XC90 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 GX460 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Volvo XC90, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the GX460.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the XC90’s brake rotors are larger than those on the GX460:

XC90 T5/T6

XC90 Recharge

GX460

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

14.4 inches

13.3 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

13.4 inches

12.3 inches

The XC90 stops much shorter than the GX460:

XC90

GX460

70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

126 feet

136 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

143 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the XC90’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the GX460 (275/45R20 vs. 265/60R18).

The XC90’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the GX460’s standard 60 series tires. The XC90’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the GX460’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XC90 has standard 19-inch wheels. Only 18-inch wheels are available on the GX460. The XC90 offers optional 22-inch wheels.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Volvo XC90 has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Lexus GX460 has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the XC90’s wheelbase is 7.7 inches longer than on the GX460 (117.5 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the XC90 is 3.4 inches wider in the front and 3.4 inches wider in the rear than the track on the GX460.

The XC90 T6 AWD handles at .84 G’s, while the GX460 pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The XC90 T6 AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.5 seconds quicker than the GX460 (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.3 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the XC90 w/19” wheels’ turning circle is 2.4 feet tighter than the GX460’s (38.7 feet vs. 41.1 feet). The XC90 w/22” wheels’ turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the GX460’s (39.7 feet vs. 41.1 feet).

For greater off-road capability the XC90 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the GX460 (8.3 vs. 8.1 inches), allowing the XC90 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The XC90 w/Air Suspension’s minimum ground clearance is 1.8 inches higher than on the GX460 (9.9 vs. 8.1 inches).

Chassis

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The Volvo XC90 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 100 to 800 pounds less than the Lexus GX460.

Unibody construction lowers the XC90’s center of gravity significantly without reducing ground clearance. This contributes to better on the road handling and better off-road performance and stability. In addition, unibody construction makes the chassis stiffer, improving handling and reducing squeaks and rattles. The GX460 uses body-on-frame design instead.

The design of the Volvo XC90 amounts to more than styling. The XC90 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .33 Cd. That is lower than the GX460 (.35) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the XC90 get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the XC90 T6 AWD is quieter than the GX460 (71 vs. 73 dB).

Passenger Space

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The XC90 has .9 inches more front headroom, 2.3 inches more front shoulder room, 2.9 inches more rear legroom, 1.3 inches more rear hip room, 1.1 inches more third row headroom, 2.6 inches more third row legroom and 1.8 inches more third row hip room than the GX460.

The front step up height for the XC90 is 5.9 inches lower than the GX460 (15.8” vs. 21.7”). The XC90’s rear step up height is 6 inches lower than the GX460’s (16” vs. 22”).

Cargo Capacity

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The XC90’s cargo area provides more volume than the GX460.

XC90

GX460

Behind Third Seat

12.6 cubic feet

11.6 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

65.5 cubic feet

64.7 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the XC90 easier. The XC90’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 30.8 inches, while the GX460’s liftover is 33.8 inches.

The XC90’s cargo area is larger than the GX460’s in almost every dimension:

XC90

GX460

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

21.8”/49.6”/80.3”

9.8”/39”/75”

Max Width

54.7”

54.6”

Min Width

44.5”

43.4”

Height

35”

35.5”

The XC90’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The GX460’s swing out door blocks loading from the passenger’s side.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the XC90’s power cargo door can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The GX460 doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening cargo door.

Ergonomics

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The XC90 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The GX460 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The XC90’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The GX460’s parking brake has to released manually.

The XC90’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The GX460’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The XC90’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 GX460’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the XC90 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The GX460 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

A manual rear sunshade and rear side window sunshades are optional in the XC90 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The GX460 doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The XC90’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The GX460’s power mirror controls are on the dash where they are possibly hidden by the steering wheel and are awkward to manipulate.

The XC90 Inscription offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the GX460.

The XC90 R-Design/Inscription’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 GX460 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

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The XC90 is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The GX460 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC90 is less expensive to operate than the GX460 because typical repairs cost much less on the XC90 than the GX460, including $185 less for a muffler, $158 less for a starter, $7 less for fuel injection, $715 less for a timing belt/chain and $79 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

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Volvo XC90, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels. The Lexus GX460 isn't recommended.

Motor Trend selected the XC90 as their 2016 Sport Utility of the Year. The GX460 has never been chosen.

The XC90 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2016. The GX hasn’t been picked since 2003.

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the XC90 as the 2016 North American Truck of the Year. The GX460 has never been chosen.

The Volvo XC90 outsold the Lexus GX460 by 38% during 2019.

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

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