2019 Mercedes GLE vs. 2019 Volvo XC90

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the GLE. But it costs extra on the XC90.

Both the GLE and the XC90 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the GLE the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The XC90 was a “Top Pick” for 2017, but no longer qualifies under the tighter 2018 guidelines.

Warranty

There are over 28 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Volvo dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the GLE’s warranty.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the GLE’s reliability 40 points higher than the XC90.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 14th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 30 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 29th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 15th in reliability. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 22nd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 9 places higher in reliability than Volvo.

Engine

The GLE has more powerful engines than the XC90:

 

Horsepower

Torque

GLE 400 3.0 turbo V6

329 HP

354 lbs.-ft.

AMG GLE 43 3.0 turbo V6

385 HP

384 lbs.-ft.

XC90 T5 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

250 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

XC90 T6 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

316 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the AMG GLE 43 is faster than the XC90 T6:

 

GLE

XC90

Zero to 30 MPH

1.9 sec

2.3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

6.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.7 sec

17.3 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.5 sec

7.4 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.4 sec

4.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.1 sec

15 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98 MPH

94 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The GLE has 6.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the XC90 Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (24.6 vs. 18.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The GLE has 5.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the XC90’s standard fuel tank (24.6 vs. 18.8 gallons).

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes GLE, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the XC90.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

GLE

AMG GLE 43

XC90 T5/T6

XC90 T8

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

14.8 inches

13.6 inches

14.4 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

12.6 inches

13.4 inches

The GLE stops much shorter than the XC90:

 

GLE

XC90

 

70 to 0 MPH

172 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the GLE has larger standard tires than the XC90 (255/50R19 vs. 235/55R19).

The GLE’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the XC90 T5’s standard 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLE has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the XC90 T5.

Suspension and Handling

The GLE has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The XC90’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The GLE offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The XC90 doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The front and rear suspension of the GLE uses coil springs for better ride, handling and control than the XC90, which uses transverse leafs springs in the rear. Coil springs compress more progressively and offer more suspension travel for a smoother ride with less bottoming out.

The GLE’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The XC90 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

Chassis

The GLE is 5.8 inches shorter than the XC90, making the GLE easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the AMG GLE 43 is quieter than the XC90 T6 AWD:

 

GLE

XC90

At idle

38 dB

48 dB

Passenger Space

The GLE has .8 inches more front shoulder room, 1.4 inches more rear legroom and 1.9 inches more rear shoulder room than the XC90.

Towing

The GLE’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the XC90’s (7200 vs. 4000 pounds).

Servicing Ease

The engine in the GLE is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the XC90. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

An ASSYST PLUS is standard on the GLE to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Volvo doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the XC90.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Volvo. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 26% lower rating, Volvo is ranked 14th.

Ergonomics

The GLE’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The XC90’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The GLE has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The XC90 doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

Heated windshield washer fluid is optional on the GLE to defrost the washer nozzles and quickly clear ice and frost from the windshield without scraping. The XC90 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid. Its standard heated washer nozzles will defrost the washer fluid but not the windshield.

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 GLE’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the XC90’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to “Poor.”

To better shield the driver and front passenger’s vision, the GLE has standard dual-element sun visors that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The XC90 doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the GLE has standard extendable sun visors. The XC90 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the GLE owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the GLE with a number “8” insurance rate while the XC90 is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the GLE is less expensive to operate than the XC90 because typical repairs cost much less on the GLE than the XC90, including $378 less for a water pump, $144 less for a fuel pump and $166 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

The Mercedes GLE outsold the Volvo XC90 by 47% during the 2018 model year.

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

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