2019 Mercedes GLE vs. 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid

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 Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

Both the GLE and the Highlander Hybrid 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, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, 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 Highlander Hybrid’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 23 more horsepower (329 vs. 306) than the Highlander Hybrid’s 3.5 DOHC V6 hybrid. The AMG GLE 43’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 79 more horsepower (385 vs. 306) than the Highlander Hybrid’s 3.5 DOHC V6 hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

The GLE has 7.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Highlander Hybrid (24.6 vs. 17.2 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 Highlander Hybrid:

 

GLE

AMG GLE 43

Highlander Hybrid

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

14.8 inches

12.9 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 Highlander Hybrid are solid, not vented.

The GLE stops much shorter than the Highlander Hybrid:

 

GLE

Highlander Hybrid

 

70 to 0 MPH

172 feet

187 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the GLE has larger standard tires than the Highlander Hybrid (255/50R19 vs. 245/55R19). The GLE’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Highlander Hybrid (265/45R20 vs. 245/55R19).

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 Highlander Hybrid LE/XLE’s standard 60 series tires. The AMG GLE 43’s optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLE has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Highlander Hybrid LE/XLE. The AMG GLE 43’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels on the Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum.

Suspension and Handling

The GLE has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Highlander Hybrid’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 Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid’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 Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

The GLE has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

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 Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid (114.8 inches vs. 109.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the GLE is .6 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Highlander Hybrid.

For greater off-road capability the GLE AIRMATIC has a 2 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Highlander Hybrid (10 vs. 8 inches), allowing the GLE to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The GLE is 3.4 inches shorter than the Highlander Hybrid, making the GLE easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Towing

The GLE’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Highlander Hybrid’s (7200 vs. 3500 pounds).

Servicing Ease

The GLE uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid. 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 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 Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum, 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 Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

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

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 Highlander Hybrid’s standard rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

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 Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid’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 Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

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

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 Highlander Hybrid doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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

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