2019 Mercedes GLE vs. 2019 Toyota 4Runner

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 Toyota 4Runner 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 4Runner doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The GLE has standard Active Brake Assist, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The 4Runner doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the GLE. But it costs extra on the 4Runner.

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 4Runner 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 4Runner 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 optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them and moves the vehicle back into its lane. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

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 4Runner doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the GLE uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The 4Runner uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

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 4Runner 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 4Runner 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, daytime running lights and rearview cameras.

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 4Runner:

 

GLE

4Runner

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

GOOD

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

4 cm

12 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

1.5/1.4 kN

3.9/2.4 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

1%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

ACCEPTABLE

ACCEPTABLE

Tibia index R/L

.89/.71

.95/.85

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 4Runner 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 4Runner’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

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 Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 14th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 17th, below the industry average.

Engine

The GLE 400’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 59 more horsepower (329 vs. 270) and 76 lbs.-ft. more torque (354 vs. 278) than the 4Runner’s 4.0 DOHC V6. The AMG GLE 43’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 115 more horsepower (385 vs. 270) and 106 lbs.-ft. more torque (384 vs. 278) than the 4Runner’s 4.0 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the AMG GLE 43 is faster than the Toyota 4Runner:

 

GLE

4Runner

Zero to 60 MPH

5.4 sec

7.8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.7 sec

22 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.5 sec

7.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14.1 sec

16.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98 MPH

88 MPH

Top Speed

130 MPH

105 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the GLE gets better fuel mileage than the 4Runner:

 

 

 

MPG

GLE

 

AWD

400 3.0 twin turbo V6

17 city/23 hwy

 

 

450 3.0 twin turbo V6

17 city/23 hwy

4Runner

 

2WD

4.0 V6

17 city/21 hwy

 

AWD

4.0 V6

17 city/20 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the GLE Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The 4Runner 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 4Runner doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The GLE has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the 4Runner (24.6 vs. 23 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Mercedes GLE as an “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV). The Toyota 4Runner 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 a five-speed automatic is available for the 4Runner.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the GLE’s brake rotors are larger than those on the 4Runner:

 

GLE

AMG GLE 43

4Runner

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

14.8 inches

13.3 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

12.3 inches

The GLE stops much shorter than the 4Runner:

 

GLE

4Runner

 

70 to 0 MPH

172 feet

201 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

126 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the GLE has larger standard tires than the 4Runner (255/50R19 vs. 245/60R20).

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 4Runner’s standard 70 series tires. The AMG GLE 43’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the 4Runner Limited’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLE has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the 4Runner. The AMG GLE 43’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels on the 4Runner Limited.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Mercedes GLE has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Toyota 4Runner has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

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 4Runner’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 4Runner 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 4Runner doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLE’s wheelbase is 5 inches longer than on the 4Runner (114.8 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the GLE is 1.4 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the 4Runner.

The AMG GLE 43 handles at .77 G’s, while the 4Runner TRD Off-Road pulls only .71 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For greater off-road capability the GLE AIRMATIC has a greater minimum ground clearance than the 4Runner (10 vs. 9.6 inches), allowing the GLE to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

Unibody construction lowers the GLE’s center of gravity significantly without reducing ground clearance. This contributes to better on the road handling and better off-road performance and stability. In addition, unibody construction makes the chassis stiffer, improving handling and reducing squeaks and rattles. The 4Runner uses body-on-frame design instead.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the AMG GLE 43 is quieter than the 4Runner TRD Off-Road:

 

GLE

4Runner

At idle

38 dB

43 dB

Full-Throttle

76 dB

76 dB

70 MPH Cruising

66 dB

69 dB

Passenger Space

The GLE has .7 inches more front shoulder room, 5.5 inches more rear legroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the 4Runner.

Cargo Capacity

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the GLE has a standard power liftgate, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a power liftgate.

Towing

The GLE’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the 4Runner’s (7200 vs. 5000 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. Toyota doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the 4Runner.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Toyota. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 41% lower rating, Toyota is ranked 17th.

Ergonomics

The GLE has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Unlike the driver-only memory seat in the 4Runner Limited, 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 4Runner doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the GLE and the 4Runner 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 4Runner prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The GLE has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

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 4Runner’s 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 4Runner 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 4Runner’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

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 4Runner has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Limited/TRD Pro.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the GLE detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The 4Runner doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the GLE offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The 4Runner 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 4Runner doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

The GLE’s power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The 4Runner’s power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

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 4Runner’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 4Runner offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The GLE has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the 4Runner. The GLE also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated second row seats aren’t available in the 4Runner.

On extremely cold winter days, the GLE’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The 4Runner doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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 is only available on the 4Runner Limited.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the GLE offers an optional Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The 4Runner doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

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 4Runner 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 4Runner 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 4Runner because typical repairs cost much less on the GLE than the 4Runner, including $17 less for a water pump, $44 less for a fuel pump and $1276 less for a timing belt/chain.

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

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