2019 Volvo XC90 vs. 2019 Mercedes E-Class Wagon

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC90 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Mercedes E-Class Wagon doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle seat belts.

Both the XC90 and E-Class Wagon 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 E-Class Wagon’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. Mercedes doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the E-Class Wagon. 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 E-Class Wagon’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 E-Class Wagon 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 E-Class Wagon 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.

Both the XC90 and the E-Class Wagon 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 and available around view monitors.

The Volvo XC90 weighs 439 to 769 pounds more than the Mercedes E-Class Wagon. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Volvo XC90 is safer than the Mercedes E-Class Wagon:

 

XC90

E-Class Wagon

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

51

132

Chest Movement

.7 inches

1.1 inches

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

94

215

Spine Acceleration

40 G’s

46 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

209

326

Spine Acceleration

29 G’s

43 G’s

Hip Force

383 lbs.

836 lbs.

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

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and its standard front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the XC90 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 154 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The E-Class Wagon has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The XC90’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the E-Class Wagon’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. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the E-Class Wagon.

Reliability

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the XC90 has a standard 210-amp alternator. The E-Class Wagon’s 180-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

Engine

The XC90 T8’s standard 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid produces 38 more horsepower (400 vs. 362) and 103 lbs.-ft. more torque (472 vs. 369) than the E-Class Wagon’s 3.0 turbo V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 T8 running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the E 450 Wagon (59 city/56 hwy MPGe vs. 19 city/26 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 T8 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the E 450 Wagon (24 city/27 hwy vs. 19 city/26 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 gets better fuel mileage than the E-Class Wagon:

 

 

 

MPG

XC90

 

FWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

21 city/29 hwy

 

AWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

 

 

T6 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4 cyl.

19 city/26 hwy

E-Class Wagon

 

AWD

450 3.0 turbo V6

19 city/26 hwy

The XC90 T8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 17 miles. The E-Class Wagon 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 E-Class Wagon doesn’t offer a regenerative braking 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 E-Class Wagon doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the XC90 T8’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the E-Class Wagon:

 

XC90 T8

E-Class

Front Rotors

14.4 inches

14.2 inches

The XC90 stops much shorter than the E-Class Wagon:

 

XC90

E-Class

 

70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

182 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the XC90’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the E-Class Wagon (275/45R20 vs. 245/45R18).

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 E-Class Wagon’s optional 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XC90 offers optional 21-inch wheels. The E-Class Wagon’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

The XC90 has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the E-Class Wagon; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the XC90’s wheelbase is 1.8 inches longer than on the E-Class Wagon (117.5 inches vs. 115.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the XC90 is 3.1 inches wider in the front and 2.4 inches wider in the rear than the track on the E-Class Wagon.

Passenger Space

The XC90 has 1.4 inches more front headroom and 1.2 inches more rear legroom than the E-Class Wagon.

Third row passengers in the XC90 sit facing forward, making them more comfortable and giving them a better view. The third row passengers in the E-Class Wagon face rearward.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the XC90’s middle row seats recline. The E-Class Wagon’s middle row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The XC90’s cargo area provides more volume than the E-Class Wagon.

 

XC90

E-Class Wagon

Behind Third Seat

15.9 cubic feet

0 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

41.8 cubic feet

24.5 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

85.7 cubic feet

64 cubic feet

The XC90’s cargo area is larger than the E-Class Wagon’s in every dimension:

 

XC90

E-Class Wagon

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

21.8”/49.6”/80.3”

n.a./46.3”/78.9”

Max Width

54.7”

43.3”

Min Width

44.5”

32.2”

Height

35”

32.2”

Ergonomics

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the XC90 has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the E-Class Wagon only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

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 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The E-Class Wagon doesn’t offer headlight washers.

A manual rear sunshade is optional in the XC90 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The E-Class Wagon doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

Both the XC90 and the E-Class Wagon offer optional heated front seats. The XC90 also offers optional heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated second row seats aren’t available in the E-Class Wagon.

The XC90 Inscription/Excellence has standard front air conditioned seats and the XC90 Excellence also has them in the second row. This keeps the passengers comfortable and takes the sting out of hot seats in summer. The E-Class Wagon doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats for the second row.

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC90 is less expensive to operate than the E-Class Wagon because typical repairs cost much less on the XC90 than the E-Class Wagon, including $546 less for a muffler, $211 less for a starter, $94 less for fuel injection and $603 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Volvo XC90, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels.

Motor Trend selected the XC90 as their 2016 Sport Utility of the Year. The E-Class was Import Car of the Year in 1996.

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

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

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

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