2019 Mercedes GLE vs. 2018 Tesla Model X

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes GLE have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Tesla Model X doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

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

The GLE has standard NECK-PRO front head restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the NECK-PRO front head restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Model X doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the GLE’s standard Downhill Speed Regulation allows you to creep down safely. The Model X doesn’t offer Downhill Speed Regulation.

The GLE’s optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Model X doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The GLE offers an optional Surround View System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Model X only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The GLE’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Model X doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The GLE has standard Mercedes-Benz Emergency Call, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Model X doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the GLE and the Model X have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available blind spot warning systems.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the GLE the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 85 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Model X has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The GLE’s corrosion warranty is 1 year and unlimited miles longer than the Model X’s (5/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).

There are over 6 times as many Mercedes dealers as there are Tesla dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the GLE’s warranty.

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 GLE’s reliability 44 points higher than the Model X.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Tesla vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 7 places higher in reliability than Tesla.

Fuel Economy and Range

The AMG GLE 43’s maximum EPA estimated driving range on a full tank of fuel is 565.8 miles, after which it can be refueled at any gas station in minutes. The Model X’s range is only 237 to 295 miles, after which the minimum recharge time is 30 minutes for only a 54% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 82 hours and 53 minutes.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the AMG GLE 43’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Model X:

 

AMG GLE 43

Model X

Front Rotors

14.8 inches

14 inches

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The GLE has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Model X doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

Tires and Wheels

The GLE has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Model X; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

The GLE has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Model X’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The GLE offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The Model X doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

For better maneuverability, the GLE’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the Model X’s (38.7 feet vs. 40.7 feet).

For greater off-road capability the GLE has a 1.8 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Model X (8 vs. 6.2 inches), allowing the GLE to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The GLE AIRMATIC’s minimum ground clearance is 1.1 inches higher than on the Model X (10 vs. 8.9 inches).

Chassis

The Mercedes GLE may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 400 to 500 pounds less than the Tesla Model X.

The GLE is 9.2 inches shorter than the Model X, making the GLE easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The GLE is 5.3 inches narrower than the Model X, making the GLE easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the AMG GLE 43 is quieter than the Model X (38 vs. 44 dB).

Cargo Capacity

The GLE has a much larger cargo area than the Model X with its rear seat up (38.2 vs. 26 cubic feet).

The GLE’s standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Model X 6-Passenger doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

Towing

The GLE’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Model X’s (7200 vs. 5000 pounds).

While the Model X w/22” wheels can only tow 3500, any GLE can tow a minimum of 7200 pounds.

Servicing Ease

An ASSYST PLUS is standard on the GLE to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Tesla doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Model X.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Model X, the GLE offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The GLE’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Model X doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

If the windows are left open on the GLE the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote (remote must be aimed at door sensor). On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Model X can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

Heated windshield washer fluid is optional on the GLE to defrost the washer nozzles and quickly clear ice and frost from the windshield without scraping. The Model X doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid. Its optional heated washer nozzles will defrost the washer fluid but not the windshield.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the GLE has a standard rear wiper. The Model X doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

The GLE’s standard side window demisters help clear frost or condensation from the side windows in the winter. The Model X doesn’t even offer side window demisters, so the driver may have to wipe the windows from the outside to gain side vision.

To better shield the driver and front passenger’s vision, the GLE has standard dual-element sun visors that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The Model X doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

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

Optional air-conditioned seats in the GLE keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Model X doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The GLE has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Model X doesn’t offer a middle row seat center armrest.

The GLE offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Model X doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the GLE is less expensive to operate than the Model X because typical repairs cost much less on the GLE than the Model X, including $429 less for a water pump and $50 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

The Mercedes GLE outsold the Tesla Model X by almost two to one during the 2018 model year.

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

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