2020 Mercedes E-Class Wagon vs. 2020 Volvo XC90

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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

Both the E-Class Wagon 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, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available lane departure warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

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 Mercedes E-Class Wagon is safer than the Volvo XC90:

E-Class Wagon

XC90

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Abdominal Force

149 G’s

153 G’s

Hip Force

223 lbs.

255 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

594 lbs.

608 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

11 inches

12 inches

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

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 E-Class Wagon’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the E-Class Wagon has a standard 850-amp battery. The XC90’s 800-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

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 E-Class Wagon’s reliability 29 points higher than the XC90.

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.

Engine

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The E-Class Wagon’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 112 more horsepower (362 vs. 250) and 111 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 258) than the XC90 T5’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The E-Class Wagon’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 46 more horsepower (362 vs. 316) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 295) than the XC90 T6’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The E-Class Wagon has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the XC90 Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (21.1 vs. 18.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The E-Class Wagon has 2.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the XC90’s standard fuel tank (21.1 vs. 18.8 gallons).

Transmission

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

Brakes and Stopping

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

E-Class Wagon

XC90

Front Rotors

14.2 inches

13.6 inches

Rear Rotors

14.2 inches

12.6 inches

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

E-Class Wagon

XC90

70 to 0 MPH

156 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

108 feet

113 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the E-Class Wagon has larger standard tires than the XC90 (245/45R18 vs. 235/55R19).

The E-Class Wagon’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the XC90’s standard 55 series tires.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the E-Class Wagon can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The XC90 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The E-Class Wagon 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 rear suspension of the E-Class Wagon uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the XC90, which uses transverse leafs springs in the rear. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The E-Class Wagon’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.

The E 450 4MATIC Wagon handles at .87 G’s, while the XC90 T6 AWD pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The E 450 4MATIC Wagon executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the XC90 T6 AWD (25.7 seconds @ .73 average G’s vs. 26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s).

Chassis

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The E-Class Wagon is 12.2 inches shorter in height than the XC90, making the E-Class Wagon much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

Passenger Space

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The E-Class Wagon has .8 inches more front legroom, .1 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the XC90.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the E-Class Wagon 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 E-Class Wagon to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes, tire rotation and brake pad replacement 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 fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 30% lower rating, Volvo is ranked 14th.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the XC90, the E-Class Wagon has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The E-Class Wagon’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 E-Class Wagon 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 standard on the E-Class Wagon 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.

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

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Mercedes E-Class offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The XC90 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The E-Class Wagon’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The XC90 R-Design/Inscription’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

Model Availability

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The Mercedes E-Class comes in coupe, convertible, sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Volvo XC90 isn’t available as a coupe, convertible or sedan.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the E-Class Wagon owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the E-Class Wagon with a number “5” insurance rate while the XC90 is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the E-Class Wagon is less expensive to operate than the XC90 because it costs $27 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the E-Class Wagon than the XC90, including $215 less for a water pump, $58 less for front brake pads, $223 less for a fuel pump, $13 less for front struts and $46 less for a power steering pump.

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 2020/02/17

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mercedes E-Class Wagon, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Volvo XC90 isn't recommended.

The E 450/E 53 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 3 years. The XC90 has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

The Mercedes E-Class outsold the Volvo XC90 by 32% during the 2019 model year.

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

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