2020 Mercedes C-Class Sedan vs. 2020 Volvo S90

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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Both the C-Class Sedan and the S90 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear 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, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the C-Class Sedan its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 54 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The S90 is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.

Warranty

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

Reliability

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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 C-Class Sedan’s reliability 12 points higher than the S90.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 12th in initial quality. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 28th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 70 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volvo is ranked 29th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 3 places higher in reliability than Volvo.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the C 300 Sedan 4MATIC gets better fuel mileage than the S90 T6 AWD (23 city/33 hwy vs. 21 city/31 hwy).

The C-Class Sedan has 4.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the S90 T8 Plug-In Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (17.4 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The C-Class Sedan has 1.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the S90 T6’s standard fuel tank (17.4 vs. 15.9 gallons).

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes C-Class Sedan, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the S90.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the C-Class Sedan’s standard front brake rotors are larger than those on the S90:

C-Class

S90

Front Rotors

13 inches

12.7 inches

The C-Class Sedan stops shorter than the S90:

C-Class

S90

60 to 0 MPH

105 feet

107 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the C-Class Sedan can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The S90 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The front and rear suspension of the C-Class Sedan uses coil springs for better ride, handling and control than the S90, 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 C-Class Sedan’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 S90 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The C 300 Sedan handles at .91 G’s, while the S90 T6 Inscription pulls only .88 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The C 300 Sedan executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the S90 T6 Inscription (25.7 seconds @ .71 average G’s vs. 26.3 seconds @ .68 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the C-Class Sedan’s turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the S90 18” wheels’ (36.8 feet vs. 38.7 feet). The C-Class Sedan’s turning circle is 3.2 feet tighter than the S90 19” wheels’ (36.8 feet vs. 40 feet).

Chassis

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The Mercedes C-Class Sedan may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 400 to 950 pounds less than the Volvo S90.

The C-Class Sedan is 1 foot, 3.6 inches shorter than the S90, making the C-Class Sedan easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the C-Class Sedan uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The S90 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Cargo Capacity

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The C-Class Sedan’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The S90 Luxury Package doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the C-Class Sedan is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the S90. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

An ASSYST PLUS is standard on the C-Class Sedan to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals 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 S90.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Volvo. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 30% lower rating, Volvo is ranked 14th.

Ergonomics

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The C-Class Sedan’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The S90 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

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 C-Class Sedan’s headlights were rated “Good” to “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the S90’s headlights are rated “Acceptable” to “Marginal.”

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the C-Class Sedan has standard extendable sun visors. The S90 doesn’t offer extendable visors.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Mercedes C-Class offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The S90 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The C-Class Sedan’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, stopping and changing direction automatically. The S90’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

Model Availability

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The Mercedes C-Class comes in coupe, convertible and sedan bodystyles; the Volvo S90 isn’t available as a coupe or convertible.

The C-Class Sedan is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The S90 doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the C-Class Sedan owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the C-Class Sedan will cost $900 less than the S90 over a five-year period.

The C-Class Sedan will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the C-Class Sedan will retain 36.56% to 37.71% of its original price after five years, while the S90 only retains 34.71% to 35.74%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Mercedes C-Class Sedan will be $7347 to $8794 less than for the Volvo S90.

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 2020/02/23

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mercedes C-Class Sedan, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Volvo S90 isn't recommended.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the C-Class Sedan first among compact premium cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The S90 isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Mercedes C-Class outsold the Volvo 90 Series by almost 11 to one during the 2019 model year.

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