2021 Volvo XC90 vs. 2020 Lincoln Navigator

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 2020/10/23

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC90 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 Lincoln Navigator doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

The XC90’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Navigator doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the XC90 and Navigator 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 Navigator’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. Lincoln doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the Navigator. 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 Navigator’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The XC90 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 Navigator doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

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 Navigator 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 Navigator uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

Both the XC90 and the Navigator have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Volvo XC90 is safer than the Lincoln Navigator:

XC90

Navigator

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

13 inches

Spine Acceleration

29 G’s

47 G’s

Hip Force

383 lbs.

569 lbs.

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

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 Navigator has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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The XC90’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the Navigator’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC90 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Lincoln only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Navigator.

Reliability

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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 Navigator’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

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As tested in Motor Trend the XC90 T6 is faster than the Lincoln Navigator:

XC90

Navigator

Zero to 60 MPH

6.7 sec

6.8 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

11.2 sec

11.4 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.2 sec

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 2020/10/23

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 Recharge running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Navigator:

MPGe

XC90

AWD

Electric Motor

58 city/53 hwy

Navigator

MPG

RWD

3.5 turbo V6

16 city/22 hwy

AWD

3.5 turbo V6

16 city/21 hwy

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

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

Navigator

RWD

3.5 turbo V6

16 city/22 hwy

AWD

3.5 turbo V6

16 city/21 hwy

The XC90 Recharge can drive on battery power alone for up to 18 miles. The Navigator 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 Navigator doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Brakes and Stopping

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

XC90 Recharge

Navigator

Front Rotors

14.4 inches

13.8 inches

Rear Rotors

13.4 inches

13.2 inches

The XC90 stops much shorter than the Navigator:

XC90

Navigator

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

132 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

162 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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The XC90’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Navigator Reserve/Black Label’s 45 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The XC90 R-Design/Inscription has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The XC90’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Navigator doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The XC90 T6 AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the Navigator Black Label 4WD pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The XC90 T6 AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.6 seconds quicker than the Navigator Black Label 4WD (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .61 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the XC90 w/19” wheels’ turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the Navigator’s (38.7 feet vs. 41 feet). The XC90 w/22” wheels’ turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the Navigator’s (39.7 feet vs. 41 feet).

For greater off-road capability the XC90 w/Air Suspension has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Navigator (9.9 vs. 9.6 inches), allowing the XC90 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The Volvo XC90 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 750 to 1350 pounds less than the Lincoln Navigator.

The XC90 is 1 foot, 3 inches shorter than the Navigator, making the XC90 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

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 Navigator uses body-on-frame design instead.

Passenger Space

© 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 2020/10/23

The front step up height for the XC90 is 5.2 inches lower than the Navigator (15.8” vs. 21”). The XC90’s rear step up height is 7 inches lower than the Navigator’s (16” vs. 23”).

Ergonomics

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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 Navigator’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

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 Navigator doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The XC90 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Navigator doesn’t offer headlight washers.

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 Navigator doesn’t offer a rear or rear side window sunshades.

When the XC90 is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Navigator’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Economic Advantages

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The XC90 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the XC90 will retain 45.56% to 49.47% of its original price after five years, while the Navigator only retains 41.62% to 42.57%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC90 is less expensive to operate than the Navigator because it costs $82 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the XC90 than the Navigator, including $398 less for a timing belt/chain and $206 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Volvo XC90 will be $22955 to $27698 less than for the Lincoln Navigator.

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 2020/10/23

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

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

The XC90 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2016. The Navigator has never been an “All Star.”

The Volvo XC90 outsold the Lincoln Navigator/Navigator L by almost two to one during 2019.

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

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