2020 Mercedes GLE vs. 2019 Volvo XC90

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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


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.


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 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Volvo vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 12 places higher in reliability than Volvo.


As tested in Car and Driver the GLE 450 is faster than the XC90 T6:



Zero to 30 MPH

1.9 sec

2.3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.3 sec

6.4 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.9 sec

17.3 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6 sec

7.4 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.2 sec

3.4 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.3 sec

4.7 sec

Quarter Mile

13.9 sec

15 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100 MPH

94 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The GLE has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the XC90 Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (22.5 vs. 18.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The GLE has 3.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the XC90’s standard fuel tank (22.5 vs. 18.8 gallons).


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 450’s brake rotors are larger than those on the XC90:

GLE 450

XC90 T5/T6

XC90 T8

Front Rotors

14.8 inches

13.6 inches

14.4 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

12.6 inches

13.4 inches

The GLE stops much shorter than the XC90:



70 to 0 MPH

174 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 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 450 offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Volvo doesn’t offer an active suspension on the XC90.

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.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the GLE is .3 inches wider in the front and 1 inch wider in the rear than the average track on the XC90.

The GLE 450 handles at .84 G’s, while the XC90 T6 AWD pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.


The design of the Mercedes GLE amounts to more than styling. The GLE has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .29 Cd. That is significantly lower than the XC90 (.33) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the GLE get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the GLE 450 is quieter than the XC90 T6 AWD:



At idle

38 dB

48 dB


70 dB

74 dB

70 MPH Cruising

63 dB

65 dB

Passenger Space

The GLE has 1.6 inches more front headroom, 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom, 3.9 inches more rear legroom and 1.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the XC90.


The GLE’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the XC90’s (7700 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.

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.


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


The Mercedes GLE outsold the Volvo XC90 by 46% during 2018.

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

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