2019 Mercedes GLE vs. 2019 Mazda CX-9

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 Mazda CX-9 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 CX-9 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 CX-9 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 CX-9.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the GLE’s standard Downhill Speed Regulation allows you to creep down safely. The CX-9 doesn’t offer Downhill Speed Regulation.

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 CX-9 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the GLE and the CX-9 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

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 CX-9’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

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 31 points higher than the CX-9.

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 Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 14th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 22nd, below the industry average.

Engine

The GLE 400’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 79 more horsepower (329 vs. 250) and 44 lbs.-ft. more torque (354 vs. 310) than the CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. The AMG GLE 43’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 135 more horsepower (385 vs. 250) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (384 vs. 310) than the CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the AMG GLE 43 is faster than the Mazda CX-9:

 

GLE

CX-9

Zero to 30 MPH

1.9 sec

2.3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

7.2 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.7 sec

21.3 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.5 sec

7.7 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.4 sec

3.6 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.4 sec

4.9 sec

Quarter Mile

14.1 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98 MPH

88 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 CX-9 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 CX-9 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The GLE has 5.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-9 FWD’s standard fuel tank (24.6 vs. 19 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The GLE has 5.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-9 AWD’s standard fuel tank (24.6 vs. 19.5 gallons).

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes GLE, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the CX-9.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the GLE’s brake rotors are larger than those on the CX-9:

 

GLE

AMG GLE 43

CX-9

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

14.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

12.8 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 CX-9 are solid, not vented.

The GLE stops shorter than the CX-9:

 

GLE

CX-9

 

70 to 0 MPH

172 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

126 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the GLE’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the CX-9 (265/45R20 vs. 255/60R18).

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 CX-9 Sport/Touring’s standard 60 series tires. The AMG GLE 43’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the CX-9 Grand Touring/Signature’s 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 CX-9 Sport/Touring. The AMG GLE 43’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels on the CX-9 Grand Touring/Signature.

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 CX-9 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 CX-9’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 CX-9 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 CX-9 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The GLE’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (52.6% to 47.4%) than the CX-9’s (54.7% to 45.3%). This gives the GLE more stable handling and braking.

For greater off-road capability the GLE AIRMATIC has a 1.2 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the CX-9 (10 vs. 8.8 inches), allowing the GLE to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The GLE is 10.3 inches shorter than the CX-9, making the GLE easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

The GLE has .6 inches more front shoulder room and .3 inches more rear shoulder room than the CX-9.

Cargo Capacity

The GLE has a much larger cargo area with its rear seat folded than the CX-9 with all its rear seats folded (80.3 vs. 71.2 cubic feet).

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the GLE. The CX-9 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

The GLE’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the CX-9’s (7200 vs. 3500 pounds).

Servicing Ease

The GLE uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The CX-9 uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the GLE is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the CX-9. 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 Mazda. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 82% lower rating, Mazda is ranked 27th.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory seat in the CX-9 Grand Touring/Signature, 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 CX-9 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the GLE and the CX-9 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the GLE is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The CX-9 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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 CX-9 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 CX-9’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 CX-9 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid.

The GLE has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The CX-9 only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

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 CX-9 doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

The GLE’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Mazda charges extra for heated mirrors on the CX-9.

When the GLE is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The CX-9’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

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 CX-9 offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

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 CX-9 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 CX-9 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 CX-9 is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

The GLE will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the GLE will retain 46.84% to 49.97% of its original price after five years, while the CX-9 only retains 42.75% to 43.92%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the GLE is less expensive to operate than the CX-9 because typical repairs cost much less on the GLE than the CX-9, including $472 less for a water pump, $12 less for a fuel pump and $726 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

The Mercedes GLE outsold the Mazda CX-9 by 73% during the 2018 model year.

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

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