2020 Mercedes GLC vs. 2020 Honda Passport

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 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 2020/07/03

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes GLC have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Honda Passport doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The GLC’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Passport doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The GLC has standard NECK-PRO front head restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the NECK-PRO front head restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Passport doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The GLC offers an optional Surround View System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Passport only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The GLC’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Passport doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the GLC and the Passport have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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, available all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems 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, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the GLC its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 87 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Passport is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.

Warranty

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The GLC comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Passport’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Reliability

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A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the GLC’s engine. A rubber cam drive belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Passport’s camshafts. If the Passport’s belt breaks, the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the GLC has a standard 150-amp alternator. The Passport’s 130-amp alternator 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 GLC’s reliability 26 points higher than the Passport.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the GLC third among compact premium suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Passport isn’t in the top three in its category.

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 Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th.

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 Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th.

Engine

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The GLC’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 11 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 262) than the Passport’s 3.5 SOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Mercedes GLC is faster than the Honda Passport:

GLC

Passport

Zero to 60 MPH

6.3 sec

6.6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.9 sec

15.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90.7 MPH

89.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the GLC gets better fuel mileage than the Passport:

GLC

Passport

2WD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./9-Spd.Auto

22 city/29 hwy

20 city/25 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

4WD

2.0 turbo 4 cyl./9-Spd.Auto

21 city/28 hwy

19 city/24 hwy

3.5 V6/Auto

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes GLC higher (5 out of 10) than the Honda Passport (3). This means the GLC produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Passport every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the GLC’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Passport:

GLC

Passport

Front Rotors

13.5 inches

12.6 inches

The GLC’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Passport are solid, not vented.

The GLC stops much shorter than the Passport:

GLC

Passport

60 to 0 MPH

110 feet

135 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 standard on the GLC can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Passport doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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

The GLC offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Passport’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The GLC has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The GLC’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Passport doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The GLC’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 Passport doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLC’s wheelbase is 2.2 inches longer than on the Passport (113.1 inches vs. 110.9 inches).

The GLC’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (53% to 47%) than the Passport’s (58% to 42%). This gives the GLC more stable handling and braking.

The GLC 300 4MATIC handles at .83 G’s, while the Passport Elite AWD pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The GLC 300 4MATIC executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.5 seconds quicker than the Passport Elite AWD (26.6 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the GLC’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Passport AWD’s (38.7 feet vs. 39.3 feet). The GLC’s turning circle is .8 feet tighter than the Passport’s (38.7 feet vs. 39.5 feet).

Chassis

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The GLC is 7.2 inches shorter than the Passport, making the GLC easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

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

Servicing Ease

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The GLC uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Passport uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the GLC is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Passport. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Honda. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 55% lower rating, Honda is ranked 23rd.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the Passport EX-L/Touring/Elite, the GLC offers an optional 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 GLC offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Passport doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The GLC’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Passport’s parking brake has to released manually.

The power windows standard on both the GLC and the Passport have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the GLC is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Passport prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The GLC’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 Passport’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The GLC’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Passport’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the GLC to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Passport doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

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 GLC’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Passport’s headlights are rated “Acceptable.”

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the GLC offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Passport doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The GLC’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Honda only offers heated mirrors on the Passport EX-L/Touring/Elite.

The GLC’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Passport’s power mirror controls are on the dash where they are possibly hidden by the steering wheel and are awkward to manipulate.

The GLC’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting and stopping automatically, with the driver only responsible for switching from reverse to drive. The Passport doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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 2020/07/03

Consumer Reports® recommends the Mercedes GLC, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Honda Passport isn't recommended.

Motor Trend selected the GLC as their 2017 Sport Utility of the Year. The Passport has never been chosen.

The Mercedes GLC outsold the Honda Passport by over two to one during 2019.

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

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