2021 Volvo XC90 vs. 2020 Mercedes GLB

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 2020/10/26

The XC90’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The GLB doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC90 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Mercedes GLB doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle seat belts.

Both the XC90 and GLB have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC90 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The GLB’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The Volvo XC90 offers an optional built in child booster seat. It’s more crash worthy than an added child seat because of its direct attachment to the seat. Mercedes doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the GLB. Their owners must carry a heavy booster seat in and out of the vehicle; XC90 owners can just fold their built-in child seat up or down.

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the XC90 deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The XC90’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The GLB’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The XC90 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The GLB doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The XC90 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The GLB doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

To help make backing safer, the XC90’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The GLB doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the XC90 and the GLB have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, 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, driver alert monitors and available around view monitors.

The Volvo XC90 weighs 436 to 1467 pounds more than the Mercedes GLB. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the XC90 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 132 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The GLB has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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The XC90’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the GLB’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC90 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the GLB.

Reliability

© 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 2020/10/26

The battery on the XC90 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the XC90’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The GLB’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

© 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 2020/10/26

The XC90 T5’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 29 more horsepower (250 vs. 221) than the GLB’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The XC90 T6’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder produces 95 more horsepower (316 vs. 221) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 258) than the GLB’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The XC90 Recharge’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid produces 179 more horsepower (400 vs. 221) and 214 lbs.-ft. more torque (472 vs. 258) than the GLB’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Car and Driver the XC90 Recharge is faster than the Mercedes GLB 250:

XC90

GLB

Zero to 60 MPH

5.3 sec

6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.6 sec

17.1 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

5.8 sec

6.9 sec

Quarter Mile

14 sec

14.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98 MPH

94 MPH

Top Speed

132 MPH

131 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 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 2020/10/26

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 Recharge running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the GLB 250 4MATIC (58 city/53 hwy MPGe vs. 23 city/31 hwy).

The XC90 Recharge can drive on battery power alone for up to 18 miles. The GLB must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the XC90 T8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The GLB doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The XC90 Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the GLB (18.5 vs. 15.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The XC90’s standard fuel tank has 2.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the GLB (18.8 vs. 15.9 gallons).

The XC90 has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The GLB doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the XC90’s brake rotors are larger than those on the GLB:

XC90 T5/T6

XC90 Recharge

GLB

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

14.4 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

13.4 inches

12.6 inches

The XC90’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the GLB are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the XC90’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the GLB (275/45R20 vs. 235/55R18).

The XC90’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the GLB’s optional 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XC90 has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the GLB. The XC90’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the GLB.

The XC90 has a standard space-saver spare (not available on Recharge) so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the GLB; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed. Some tire options on the GLB don’t have a run-flat feature, either.

Suspension and Handling

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The XC90 R-Design/Inscription has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The XC90’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 GLB doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the XC90’s wheelbase is 6.1 inches longer than on the GLB (117.5 inches vs. 111.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the XC90 is 2.5 inches wider in the front and 2.6 inches wider in the rear than the track on the GLB.

For greater off-road capability the XC90 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the GLB (8.3 vs. 7.9 inches), allowing the XC90 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The XC90 w/Air Suspension’s minimum ground clearance is 2 inches higher than on the GLB (9.9 vs. 7.9 inches).

Passenger Space

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The XC90 has 1.8 inches more front shoulder room, 1.6 inches more rear shoulder room, 1.5 inches more third row headroom, 2.8 inches more third row legroom and 3.1 inches more third row shoulder room than the GLB.

The front step up height for the XC90 is 1.2 inches lower than the GLB (15.8” vs. 17”). The XC90’s rear step up height is 1.5 inches lower than the GLB’s (16” vs. 17.5”).

Cargo Capacity

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The XC90’s cargo area provides more volume than the GLB.

XC90

GLB

Behind Third Seat

12.6 cubic feet

5.1 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

35.6 cubic feet

24 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

65.5 cubic feet

62 cubic feet

The XC90’s cargo area is larger than the GLB’s in almost every dimension:

XC90

GLB

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

21.8”/49.6”/80.3”

n.a./32.5”/71”

Max Width

54.7”

41.6”

Min Width

44.5”

41.6”

Height

35”

37.2”

The XC90 has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The GLB doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

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

Ergonomics

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Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the XC90 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The GLB doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the XC90 has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the GLB only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The XC90 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The GLB doesn’t offer headlight washers.

A manual rear sunshade and rear side window sunshades are optional in the XC90 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The GLB doesn’t offer a rear or rear side window sunshades.

Both the XC90 and the GLB offer optional heated front seats. The XC90 also offers optional heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated second row seats aren’t available in the GLB.

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 2020/10/26

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Volvo XC90, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels. The Mercedes GLB isn't recommended.

Motor Trend selected the XC90 as their 2016 Sport Utility of the Year. The GLB has never been chosen.

The XC90 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2016. The GLB has never been an “All Star.”

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the XC90 as the 2016 North American Truck of the Year. The GLB has never been chosen.

The Volvo XC90 outsold the Mercedes GLB by over 30 to one during 2019.

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

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