2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid vs. 2019 Mercedes GLE

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

To help make backing safer, the Highlander Hybrid XLE/Limited/Platinum’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The GLE doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Highlander Hybrid and the GLE have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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 blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

Warranty

Toyota’s powertrain warranty covers the Highlander Hybrid 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the GLE. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the GLE ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Highlander Hybrid for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the GLE.

There are over 3 times as many Toyota dealers as there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Highlander Hybrid’s warranty.

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 Highlander Hybrid’s reliability 29 points higher than the GLE.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Mercedes is ranked 17th.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Highlander Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the AMG GLE 43 (29 city/27 hwy vs. 17 city/23 hwy). The Highlander Hybrid LE gets better fuel mileage than the AMG GLE 43 (30 city/28 hwy vs. 17 city/23 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid uses regular unleaded gasoline. The GLE requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Toyota Highlander Hybrid as a “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV). The Mercedes GLE is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

Transmission

The Highlander Hybrid has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The GLE doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

The Highlander Hybrid stops shorter than the GLE:

 

Highlander Hybrid

GLE

 

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

The Highlander Hybrid Limited handles at .75 G’s, while the GLE pulls only .71 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Highlander Hybrid Limited executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.6 seconds quicker than the GLE (28.2 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 29.8 seconds @ .57 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The Highlander Hybrid has standard seating for 8 passengers; the GLE can only carry 5.

The Highlander Hybrid has 41.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the GLE (144.9 vs. 103).

The Highlander Hybrid has 1.8 inches more front headroom, 3.9 inches more front legroom, .8 inches more front shoulder room, 1.4 inches more rear headroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the GLE.

Cargo Capacity

The Highlander Hybrid’s cargo area provides more volume than the GLE.

 

Highlander Hybrid

GLE

Third Seat Folded

42.3 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

38.2 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

83.7 cubic feet

80.3 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Highlander Hybrid easier. The Highlander Hybrid’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 29.7 inches, while the GLE’s liftover is 30.8 inches.

The Highlander Hybrid’s cargo area is larger than the GLE’s in almost every dimension:

 

Highlander Hybrid

GLE

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

17.5”/43”/80”

n.a./39.5”/68”

Max Width

56”

49”

Min Width

45.6”

40.5”

Height

32.6”

35.5”

The Highlander Hybrid’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The GLE’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

Ergonomics

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Highlander Hybrid has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the GLE only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Highlander Hybrid owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Highlander Hybrid will cost $600 to $4040 less than the GLE over a five-year period.

The Highlander Hybrid will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Highlander Hybrid will retain 51.94% to 53.43% of its original price after five years, while the GLE only retains 46.84% to 49.97%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Toyota Highlander Hybrid will be $18510 to $24817 less than for the Mercedes GLE.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® chose the Toyota Highlander Hybrid as its “Top Pick,” the highest scoring vehicle in its category, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Toyota Highlander outsold the Mercedes GLE by over five to one during 2018.

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

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