2019 Acura MDX vs. 2019 Mercedes GLE

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

To help make backing safer, the MDX’s optional 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 GLE doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the MDX and the GLE have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front 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, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

Warranty

Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the MDX 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the GLE. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the GLE ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Reliability

The engines in the MDX have a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engines in the GLE have dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Acura vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Acura 4 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the MDX Sport Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the GLE 400 (26 city/27 hwy vs. 17 city/23 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the MDX gets better fuel mileage than the GLE:

 

 

 

MPG

MDX

 

FWD

3.5 SOHC V6

20 city/27 hwy

 

AWD

Sport Hybrid 3.0 V6 Hybrid

26 city/27 hwy

 

 

3.5 SOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

 

 

A-Spec 3.5 SOHC V6

19 city/25 hwy

GLE

 

AWD

400 3.0 turbo V6

17 city/23 hwy

 

 

AMG 43 3.0 turbo V6

17 city/23 hwy

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the MDX’s fuel efficiency. The GLE doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The MDX 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.

Transmission

The MDX offers an available sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The GLE doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

The MDX stops shorter than the GLE:

 

MDX

GLE

 

60 to 0 MPH

121 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The MDX has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The GLE doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the MDX is 1.3 inches wider in the front and .8 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the GLE.

The MDX SH-AWD handles at .82 G’s, while the AMG GLE 43 pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The MDX SH-AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.8 seconds quicker than the GLE (27 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 29.8 seconds @ .57 average G’s).

Chassis

The Acura MDX may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 500 to 700 pounds less than the Mercedes GLE.

The MDX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The GLE doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the MDX SH-AWD is quieter than the AMG GLE 43 (36 vs. 38 dB).

Passenger Space

The MDX has standard seating for 7 passengers; the GLE can only carry 5.

The MDX has 29.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the GLE (132.7 vs. 103).

The MDX has 1.1 inches more front legroom, 2.6 inches more front shoulder room and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the GLE.

The front step up height for the MDX is 1 inches lower than the GLE (19” vs. 20”). The MDX’s rear step up height is 2.6 inches lower than the GLE’s (17.4” vs. 20”).

Cargo Capacity

The MDX’s cargo area provides more volume than the GLE.

 

MDX

GLE

Third Seat Folded

43.4 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

38.2 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

90.9 cubic feet

80.3 cubic feet

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

 

MDX

GLE

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

21.05”/47.3”/81.7”

n.a./39.5”/68”

Max Width

55”

49”

Min Width

45.3”

40.5”

Height

29.5”

35.5”

Ergonomics

The MDX offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The GLE doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the MDX 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.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Acura MDX offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) for the front seat. The GLE doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Acura MDX offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) for the front seat. The GLE doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Model Availability

The MDX is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The GLE doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the MDX owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the MDX will cost $1840 to $5165 less than the GLE over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the MDX is less expensive to operate than the GLE because it costs $117 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the MDX than the GLE, including $80 less for a water pump, $134 less for a muffler, $14 less for front brake pads, $104 less for a starter, $181 less for front struts and $146 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Acura MDX will be $8120 to $10165 less than for the Mercedes GLE.

Recommendations

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Acura MDX, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels.

The Acura MDX outsold the Mercedes GLE by 12% during 2018.

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

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