2019 Mercedes GLE vs. 2019 Kia Sorento

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 Kia Sorento 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 Sorento 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 Sorento 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 Sorento.

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 Sorento 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 Sorento have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

The Mercedes GLE weighs 408 to 1177 pounds more than the Kia Sorento. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

The GLE’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Sorento runs out after 100,000 miles.

Engine

The GLE 400’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 144 more horsepower (329 vs. 185) and 176 lbs.-ft. more torque (354 vs. 178) than the Sorento’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. The GLE 400’s 3.0 turbo V6 produces 39 more horsepower (329 vs. 290) and 102 lbs.-ft. more torque (354 vs. 252) than the Sorento’s optional 3.3 DOHC V6. The AMG GLE 43’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 95 more horsepower (385 vs. 290) and 132 lbs.-ft. more torque (384 vs. 252) than the Sorento’s optional 3.3 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the GLE’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Sorento doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The GLE has 5.8 gallons more fuel capacity than the Sorento (24.6 vs. 18.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

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 Sorento.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

GLE

AMG GLE 43

Sorento

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

14.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

12 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 Sorento are solid, not vented.

The GLE stops shorter than the Sorento:

 

GLE

Sorento

 

60 to 0 MPH

126 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the GLE has larger standard tires than the Sorento (255/50R19 vs. 235/65R17). The GLE’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Sorento (265/45R20 vs. 235/65R17).

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 Sorento L/LX’s standard 65 series tires. The AMG GLE 43’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Sorento SX/SXL’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLE has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Sorento L/LX. The AMG GLE 43’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels on the Sorento SX/SXL.

Suspension and Handling

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

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

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLE’s wheelbase is 5.4 inches longer than on the Sorento (114.8 inches vs. 109.4 inches).

For greater off-road capability the GLE has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Sorento (8 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the GLE to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The GLE AIRMATIC’s minimum ground clearance is 2.7 inches higher than on the Sorento (10 vs. 7.3 inches).

Cargo Capacity

The GLE has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the Sorento with all its rear seats folded (80.3 vs. 73 cubic feet).

Towing

The GLE’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Sorento’s (7200 vs. 2000 pounds).

Servicing Ease

The engine in the GLE is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Sorento. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Kia. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 42% lower rating, Kia is ranked 18th.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the Sorento SX/SXL, 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 Sorento’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

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 Sorento can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 Sorento’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 Sorento doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid. Its available heated washer nozzles will defrost the washer fluid but not the windshield.

The GLE’s standard side window demisters help clear frost or condensation from the side windows in the winter. The Sorento 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 Sorento doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

The GLE has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Sorento offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The GLE has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Sorento and isn’t available on the Sorento L.

The GLE’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Sorento L doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

The GLE’s available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Sorento’s navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

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 Sorento doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the GLE is less expensive to operate than the Sorento because typical repairs cost less on the GLE than the Sorento, including $183 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its January 2016 issue and they ranked the Mercedes GLE higher than the Kia Sorento LX.

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

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