2021 Volvo XC90 vs. 2020 Mercedes GLE

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 2020/10/27

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 GLE doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle seat belts.

Both the XC90 and GLE 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 GLE’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 GLE. 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 GLE’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 GLE 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 GLE 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.

Both the XC90 and the GLE 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, plastic fuel tanks, 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 around view monitors.

Warranty

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The XC90’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the GLE’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 GLE.

Engine

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As tested in Motor Trend the XC90 T6 is faster than the GLE 350:

XC90

GLE

Zero to 60 MPH

6.7 sec

7.6 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90.4 MPH

87.5 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 2020/10/27

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 Recharge running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the GLE:

MPGe

XC90

AWD

Electric Motor

58 city/53 hwy

GLE

MPG

RWD

350 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

AWD

350 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

19 city/26 hwy

450 3.0 turbo 6-cyl. Hybrid

19 city/24 hwy

580 4.0 turbo V8 Hybrid

17 city/21 hwy

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the GLE:

MPG

XC90

FWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/30 hwy

AWD

T8 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl. Hybrid

26 city/28 hwy

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

T6 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl.

19 city/28 hwy

GLE

RWD

350 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

AWD

350 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

19 city/26 hwy

450 3.0 turbo 6-cyl. Hybrid

19 city/24 hwy

580 4.0 turbo V8 Hybrid

17 city/21 hwy

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

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 GLE doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

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

XC90

GLE

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

13 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 standard on the GLE 350 are solid, not vented.

The XC90 stops much shorter than the GLE:

XC90

GLE

70 to 0 MPH

167 feet

174 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

138 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

© 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 2020/10/27

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 GLE’s optional 45 series front and 40 series rear tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The XC90’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51.7% to 48.3%) than the GLE’s (53.5% to 46.5%). This gives the XC90 more stable handling and braking.

The XC90 T6 AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the GLE 350 4MATIC pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The XC90 T6 AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the GLE 350 4MATIC (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.2 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the XC90 w/19” wheels’ turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the GLE’s (38.7 feet vs. 39.4 feet).

For greater off-road capability the XC90 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the GLE (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 .7 inch higher than on the GLE Airmatic (9.9 vs. 9.2 inches).

Chassis

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The Volvo XC90 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 350 pounds less than the Mercedes GLE.

Passenger Space

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The front step up height for the XC90 is 4.2 inches lower than the GLE (15.8” vs. 20”). The XC90’s rear step up height is 4 inches lower than the GLE’s (16” vs. 20”).

Cargo Capacity

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

XC90

GLE

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

21.8”/49.6”/80.3”

n.a./40”/76.5”

Max Width

54.7”

n/a

Min Width

44.5”

43.7”

Height

35”

35.5”

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

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 GLE 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 GLE 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 GLE 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 GLE doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the XC90 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the XC90 will cost $2145 less than the GLE over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC90 is less expensive to operate than the GLE because it costs $10 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the XC90 than the GLE, including $304 less for a muffler, $92 less for front brake pads, $54 less for a starter, $164 less for fuel injection, $143 less for front struts and $106 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Volvo XC90 will be $10243 to $12336 less than for the Mercedes GLE.

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 2020/10/27

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

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

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

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

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