2019 Mercedes GLE vs. 2019 Acura RDX

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 Acura RDX 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 RDX 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 RDX doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the GLE. But it costs extra on the RDX.

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 RDX doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the GLE and the RDX 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, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

The Mercedes GLE weighs 683 to 1204 pounds more than the Acura RDX. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

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 RDX has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

There are over 41 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Acura dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the GLE’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 14th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 20th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 15th in reliability. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 20th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 5 places higher in reliability than Acura.

Engine

The GLE 400’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 57 more horsepower (329 vs. 272) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (354 vs. 280) than the RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The AMG GLE 43’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 113 more horsepower (385 vs. 272) and 104 lbs.-ft. more torque (384 vs. 280) than the RDX’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the AMG GLE 43 is faster than the Acura RDX:

 

GLE

RDX

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

6.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.7 sec

18.1 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.5 sec

7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.1 sec

15.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98 MPH

93 MPH

Top Speed

130 MPH

113 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

The GLE has 7.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the RDX (24.6 vs. 17.1 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

GLE

AMG GLE 43

RDX

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

14.8 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

12.2 inches

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

The GLE stops shorter than the RDX:

 

GLE

RDX

 

70 to 0 MPH

172 feet

177 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the GLE has larger standard tires than the RDX (255/50R19 vs. 235/55R19). The GLE’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the RDX (265/45R20 vs. 255/40R20).

The GLE’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the RDX’s standard 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the AMG GLE 43 offers optional 21-inch wheels. The RDX’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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 RDX doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The GLE has a standard automatic load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The RDX doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The GLE’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The RDX doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLE’s wheelbase is 6.5 inches longer than on the RDX (114.8 inches vs. 108.3 inches).

The GLE’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (52.6% to 47.4%) than the RDX’s (57% to 43%). This gives the GLE more stable handling and braking.

For greater off-road capability the GLE AIRMATIC has a 1.8 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the RDX (10 vs. 8.2 inches), allowing the GLE to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The GLE has .2 inches more rear headroom and 1.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the RDX.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the GLE’s rear seats recline. The RDX’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The GLE has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat up than the RDX with its rear seat up (38.2 vs. 31.1 cubic feet). The GLE has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the RDX with its rear seat folded (80.3 vs. 79.8 cubic feet).

Towing

The GLE’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the RDX’s (7200 vs. 1500 pounds).

Servicing Ease

The engine in the GLE is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the RDX. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Acura. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 23% lower rating, Acura is ranked 12th.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the RDX, 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 rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The RDX’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

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 RDX doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the GLE offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The RDX doesn’t offer cornering lights. The GLE also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

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 RDX doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

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 RDX doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The GLE’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The RDX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the GLE owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the GLE with a number “8” insurance rate while the RDX is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the GLE is less expensive to operate than the RDX because typical repairs cost less on the GLE than the RDX, including $65 less for front brake pads and $10 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

The Mercedes GLE outsold the Acura RDX by 6% during 2017.

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

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