2020 Mercedes GLS 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 GLS. But it costs extra on the XC90.

Both the GLS 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, rear cross-path warning, driver alert monitors and available lane departure warning systems.

The Mercedes GLS weighs 596 to 1374 pounds more than the Volvo XC90. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

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 GLS’ warranty.

Reliability

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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.

Engine

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The GLS has more powerful engines than the XC90:

Horsepower

Torque

GLS 450 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid

362 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

GLS 580 4.0 turbo V8 hybrid

483 HP

516 lbs.-ft.

XC90 T5 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

250 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

XC90 T6 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

316 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

XC90 T8 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid

400 HP

472 lbs.-ft.

Fuel Economy and Range

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The GLS has 5.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the XC90 Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (23.8 vs. 18.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The GLS has 5 gallons more fuel capacity than the XC90’s standard fuel tank (23.8 vs. 18.8 gallons).

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes GLS, 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 GLS’ brake rotors are larger than those on the XC90:

GLS

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

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the GLS has larger tires than the XC90 (255/50R19 vs. 235/55R19).

The GLS’ tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the XC90’s standard 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLS offers optional 23-inch wheels. The XC90’s largest wheels are only 22-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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

The GLS 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 GLS’ 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 a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLS’ wheelbase is 5.9 inches longer than on the XC90 (123.4 inches vs. 117.5 inches).

For greater off-road capability the GLS has a 1.8 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the XC90 (10.1 vs. 8.3 inches), allowing the GLS to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The GLS Off-Road Package’s minimum ground clearance is 1.4 inches higher than on the XC90 w/Air Suspension (11.3 vs. 9.9 inches).

Passenger Space

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The GLS has .5 inches more front headroom, 1.6 inches more front shoulder room, 1.7 inches more rear headroom, 4.9 inches more rear legroom, 2 inches more rear shoulder room and 2.7 inches more third row legroom than the XC90.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the GLS’ middle and third row seats recline. The XC90’s third row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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The GLS’ cargo area provides more volume than the XC90.

GLS

XC90

Behind Third Seat

17.4 cubic feet

12.6 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

42.7 cubic feet

35.6 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

84.7 cubic feet

65.5 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the GLS’ second and third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The XC90 doesn’t offer automatic folding second row seats.

Towing

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The GLS’ standard towing capacity is much higher than the XC90’s (7700 vs. 4000 pounds).

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the GLS 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 GLS 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 GLS has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position, suspension setting, power steering assist, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The GLS’ 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.

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

The GLS has standard heated front and optional heated second and third row seats, which keep the driver and passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Volvo doesn’t offer heated seats in the third row of the XC90.

Optional air conditioned the front and second row seats keep the GLS’ passengers comfortable and take the sting out of hot leather in summer. The XC90 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats for the second row.

Both the GLS and the XC90 offer available massaging front seats. The GLS also offers optional massaging second row seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging second row seats aren’t available in the XC90.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Mercedes GLS has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console and for the rear passengers. The XC90 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The GLS’ 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.

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