2019 Mercedes GLE vs. 2019 Dodge Durango

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 Dodge Durango 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 Durango doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Active Brake Assist optional in the GLE as “Superior.” The Durango scores only 1 point and is rated only “Basic.”

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

The GLE offers an optional Surround View System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Durango 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 Durango doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the GLE and the Durango 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, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems and blind spot warning systems.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Mercedes GLE is safer than the Durango:

 

GLE

Durango

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

4 cm

9 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

25 cm

26 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Femur Force R/L

1.5/1.4 kN

5.3/2.5 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

6%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

ACCEPTABLE

POOR

Tibia index R/L

.89/.71

1.53/.59

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 Durango was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2018.

Warranty

The GLE comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Durango’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The GLE’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Durango runs out after 60,000 miles.

Reliability

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the GLE have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the 5.7 V8 in the Durango.

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 15 points higher than the Durango.

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 Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 14th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 19th, 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 Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 15th in reliability. With 19 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 23rd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 10 places higher in reliability than Dodge.

Engine

The GLE has more powerful engines than the Durango:

 

Horsepower

Torque

GLE 400 3.0 turbo V6

329 HP

354 lbs.-ft.

AMG GLE 43 3.0 turbo V6

385 HP

384 lbs.-ft.

Durango 3.6 DOHC V6

293 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

Durango Dual Exhaust 3.6 DOHC V6

295 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

Durango 5.7 V8

360 HP

390 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the AMG GLE 43 is faster than the Durango Dual Exhaust 3.6 V6:

 

GLE

Durango

Zero to 30 MPH

1.9 sec

2.6 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

7.8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.7 sec

20.9 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.5 sec

8.3 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.4 sec

4.2 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.4 sec

5.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.1 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98 MPH

88 MPH

Top Speed

130 MPH

117 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

 

MPG

GLE

 

AWD

400 3.0 twin turbo V6

17 city/23 hwy

 

 

450 3.0 twin turbo V6

17 city/23 hwy

Durango

 

2WD

V8

14 city/22 hwy

 

AWD

V8

14 city/22 hwy

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

Regardless of its engine, the GLE’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Dodge only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Durango V6.

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Mercedes GLE as an “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV). The Dodge Durango is only certified to “Low Emissions Vehicle” (LEV) standards.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes GLE, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Durango.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

GLE

AMG GLE 43

Durango V6

Durango V8

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

14.8 inches

13 inches

13.8 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

13 inches

13 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 standard on the Durango V6 are solid, not vented.

The GLE stops much shorter than the Durango:

 

GLE

Durango

 

70 to 0 MPH

172 feet

190 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

126 feet

142 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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 Durango SXT/GT’s standard 60 series tires. The AMG GLE 43’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Durango’s optional 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLE has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Durango SXT/GT. The AMG GLE 43’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the Durango.

Suspension and Handling

The GLE has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the GLE flat and controlled during cornering. The Durango’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

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 Durango doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The GLE has a standard driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Durango’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

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 Durango doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the GLE is 1.1 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Durango.

The AMG GLE 43 handles at .77 G’s, while the Durango GT pulls only .75 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the GLE’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the Durango’s (38.7 feet vs. 41 feet).

For greater off-road capability the GLE AIRMATIC has a 1.9 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Durango (10 vs. 8.1 inches), allowing the GLE to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The GLE is 1 foot shorter than the Durango, making the GLE easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while cruising at 70 MPH, the interior of the AMG GLE 43 is quieter than the Durango GT 4x4 (66 vs. 67 dB).

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the GLE easier. The GLE’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 30.8 inches, while the Durango’s liftover is 32.2 inches.

Towing

The GLE’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Durango’s (7200 vs. 6200 pounds).

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Dodge. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 87% lower rating, Dodge is ranked 30th.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the Durango, 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 front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Durango’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

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 Durango’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 Durango doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The GLE’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Durango’s headlights are rated “Marginal.”

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the GLE offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Durango 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 Durango doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

Bluetooth wireless connectivity is standard on the GLE, connecting the driver and passenger’s cell phones to the vehicle systems. This allows them to use the vehicle’s stereo and hand controls to place calls safely and easily. Bluetooth costs extra on the Durango.

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 Durango 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 Durango 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 Durango because typical repairs cost much less on the GLE than the Durango, including $561 less for a timing belt/chain.

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

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