2019 Toyota Highlander vs. 2019 Mercedes GLE

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

To help make backing safer, the Highlander’s optional 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 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, 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 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 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’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’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 gets better fuel mileage than the GLE:

 

 

 

MPG

Highlander

 

FWD

2.7 DOHC 4 cyl.

20 city/24 hwy

 

 

3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/27 hwy

 

 

w/Start/Stop 3.5 DOHC V6

21 city/27 hwy

 

4WD

3.5 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

 

 

LE 3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/27 hwy

 

 

XLE/SE/Limited 3.5 DOHC V6

20 city/26 hwy

GLE

 

4WD

400 3.0 twin turbo V6

17 city/23 hwy

 

 

AMG 43 3.0 twin turbo V6

17 city/23 hwy

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

Brakes and Stopping

The Highlander stops much shorter than the GLE:

 

Highlander

GLE

 

60 to 0 MPH

112 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

The Highlander AWD handles at .80 G’s, while the AMG GLE 43 pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Highlander SE AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.2 seconds quicker than the GLE (27.6 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 29.8 seconds @ .57 average G’s).

Chassis

The Toyota Highlander may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 350 to 600 pounds less than the Mercedes GLE.

Passenger Space

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

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

The Highlander 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 1.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the GLE.

Cargo Capacity

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

 

Highlander

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 easier. The Highlander’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 29.7 inches, while the GLE’s liftover is 30.8 inches.

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

 

Highlander

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’s optional 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 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.

Model Availability

The Highlander is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The GLE doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Highlander owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Highlander will cost $1875 to $5155 less than the GLE over a five-year period.

The Highlander will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Highlander will retain 56.14% to 58.2% of its original price after five years, while the GLE only retains 46.84% to 49.97%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Highlander is less expensive to operate than the GLE because it costs $333 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Highlander than the GLE, including $320 less for a water pump, $603 less for a muffler, $169 less for front brake pads, $167 less for a starter, $127 less for fuel injection, $358 less for front struts and $826 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Toyota Highlander will be $22515 to $27223 less than for the Mercedes GLE.

Recommendations

The Toyota Highlander has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

 

Highlander

GLE

Consumer Reports® Recommends

Top Pick

FALSE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

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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