The 2021 Lexus RX Oddly Lost to the Volvo XC90 in This Contest for Best Value

When it comes to luxury cars that are worth their price, Lexus vehicles often top the list. That’s because the automaker, like its parent company, Toyota, makes reliable and safe cars. But surprisingly, the 2021 Volvo XC90 recently beat the 2021 Lexus RX in a contest for the luxury SUV offering the best value.

The 2021 Lexus RX failed to win this award

Vincentric, a company that measures automotive ownership costs, recently released its 2021 rankings. And it awarded the Volvo XC90, for the third year in a row, the prize for the best value in the midsize luxury SUV category. The plug-in hybrid version of the XC90 also won the best value award for mid-size luxury hybrid SUVs. 

It was a stacked competition too. In fact, Vincentric compared the XC90’s value against 20 other competitors, including the Lexus RX. According to Vincentric, the XC90’s cost to own was about 11.9 percent lower than expected. The numbers came from owning the car for five years, so these numbers may reflect what regular people will get out of their cars.

The 2021 Volvo XC90 is similar to yet different from the 2021 Lexus RX

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What’s interesting about Vincentric’s conclusion is that, generally, cars with great reliability ratings should be cheaper to own. And as U.S. News points out, the Lexus RX is a very reliable car, while the XC90 isn’t. In fact, U.S. News gave the RX a 5 out of 5 in reliability, while the XC90 got only 2 out of 5, a below-average reliability score.

That said, according to U.S. News, two of the Lexus RX’s biggest issues aren’t problems for the Volvo XC90. The RX, despite being a midsize luxury SUV, apparently has “very cramped available third-row seats” and not much cargo space. The three-row version of the RX, for example, gets about 58.5 cubic feet of cargo room when all seats are folded down.

Conversely, the XC90 has “generous seating and cargo space,” according to U.S. News. In fact, when all of its seats are folded down, the XC90 gets a whopping 85.7 cubic feet of cargo room, nearly 30 cubic feet more than the Lexus RX.

Both are solid SUVs nonetheless

But, of course, these midsize crossovers share many similarities too. For instance, U.S. News says the Lexus RX and Volvo XC90 offer plenty of standard safety features. Both also boast luxe interiors, and neither skimps on infotainment features. 

Also, both come with capable yet boring engines. The Lexus RX has a V6, while the Volvo XC90 has a four-cylinder, and both produce under 300 hp. But one benefit of weaker engines is their relative fuel-efficiency. U.S. News says the Lexus RX gets about 20 mph in the city and 27 mph on the highway, while the Volvo XC90 gets about 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway.

And the base price for both SUVs is similar. U.S. News says the Lexus RX’s MSRP is about $45,000 — $4,000 less than the Volvo XC90’s $49,000.