2019 Lexus RX Series vs. 2019 Mercedes GLE

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The RX Series offers optional Auto Brake that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The GLE doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

To help make backing safer, the RX Series’ 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 RX Series 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, 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

Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the RX Series 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.

The RX Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the GLE’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the RX Series’ reliability 16 points higher than the GLE.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the RX Series second among midsize premium SUVs in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The GLE isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 14th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 48 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Mercedes is ranked 17th.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the RX 450h gets better fuel mileage than the AMG GLE 43 (31 city/28 hwy vs. 17 city/23 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the RX 350 AWD gets better fuel mileage than the AMG GLE 43 (19 city/26 hwy vs. 17 city/23 hwy).

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Lexus RX Series at emission levels ranging from “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) to “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV). The Mercedes GLE is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

Transmission

The RX 450h has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The GLE doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

The RX Series stops shorter than the GLE:

 

RX Series

GLE

 

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

The RX 350 handles at .79 G’s, while the GLE pulls only .71 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The RX 350 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.7 seconds quicker than the GLE (27.1 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 29.8 seconds @ .57 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the RX Series has a greater minimum ground clearance than the GLE (8.2 vs. 8 inches), allowing the RX Series to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The Lexus RX Series may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 550 pounds less than the Mercedes GLE.

The design of the Lexus RX Series amounts to more than styling. The RX Series has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .33 Cd. That is significantly lower than the GLE (.37) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the RX Series get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

The RX Series has .5 inches more front headroom, 3.8 inches more front legroom and .6 inches more rear headroom than the GLE.

Cargo Capacity

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the RX Series’ optional rear seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The GLE doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just holding your hand near the emblem on the trunk can open the RX Series’ available liftgate, leaving your hands completely free. The GLE doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Mercedes. J.D. Power ranks Lexus third in service department satisfaction. With a 3% lower rating, Mercedes is ranked 6th.

Ergonomics

The RX Series offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation 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 RX Series 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 RX Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The GLE doesn’t offer headlight washers.

Model Availability

The RX Series 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 RX Series owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the RX Series with a number “5” insurance rate while the GLE is rated higher at a number “8” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RX Series is less expensive to operate than the GLE because it costs $153 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the RX Series than the GLE, including $170 less for a muffler, $97 less for front brake pads, $262 less for fuel injection, $91 less for a fuel pump and $332 less for front struts.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus RX Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Lexus RX Series outsold the Mercedes GLE by 81% during 2018.

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

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