2020 Mercedes GLE vs. 2019 Acura MDX

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and middle 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 Acura MDX doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

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 MDX doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the GLE and the MDX have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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 and around view monitors.

Warranty

There are over 41 percent more Mercedes dealers than there are Acura dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the GLE’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 24th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Acura vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 37 more problems per 100 vehicles, Acura is ranked 26th.

Engine

The GLE 350’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 6 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 267) than the MDX’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6. The GLE 450’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid produces 41 more horsepower (362 vs. 321) and 80 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 289) than the MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard 3.0 SOHC V6 hybrid.

As tested in Car and Driver the GLE 450 is faster than the Acura MDX V6:

GLE

MDX

Zero to 30 MPH

1.9 sec

2.1 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.3 sec

5.9 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.9 sec

16.4 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6 sec

6.2 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.2 sec

3.5 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.3 sec

4.6 sec

Quarter Mile

13.9 sec

14.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100 MPH

95 MPH

Top Speed

129 MPH

113 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

The GLE has 3.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (22.5 vs. 19.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The GLE has 3 gallons more fuel capacity than the MDX’s standard fuel tank (22.5 vs. 19.5 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping

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

GLE 350

GLE 450

MDX

MDX Sport Hybrid

Front Rotors

13 inches

14.8 inches

12.6 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

13 inches

13 inches

The GLE 450’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the MDX are solid, not vented.

The GLE stops much shorter than the MDX:

GLE

MDX

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

185 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the GLE has larger standard tires than the MDX (255/50R19 vs. 245/60R18). The GLE’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the MDX (F:275/45R21 & R:315/40R21 vs. 265/45R20).

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 MDX’s standard 60 series tires. The GLE’s optional 315/40R21 rear tires have a lower 40 series profile than the MDX A-Spec’s 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLE has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the MDX. The GLE’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the MDX.

Suspension and Handling

The GLE 450 offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Acura doesn’t offer an active suspension on the MDX.

The GLE has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The GLE’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The MDX 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 MDX doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLE’s wheelbase is 6.9 inches longer than on the MDX (117.9 inches vs. 111 inches).

The GLE’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (53.5% to 46.5%) than the MDX’s (57% to 43%). This gives the GLE more stable handling and braking.

The GLE 450 handles at .84 G’s, while the MDX SH-AWD pulls only .82 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the GLE 450 is quieter than the MDX SH-AWD:

GLE

MDX

Full-Throttle

70 dB

76 dB

70 MPH Cruising

63 dB

68 dB

Passenger Space

The GLE has 2.4 inches more front headroom, 1.3 inches more rear headroom and 4.3 inches more rear legroom than the MDX.

Cargo Capacity

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the GLE’s cargo door can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The MDX doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

The GLE’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the MDX’s (7700 vs. 3500 pounds).

While the MDX SH-AWD Sport Hybrid is not recommended to tow, any GLE can tow a minimum of 7700 pounds.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the GLE is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the MDX. 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 Acura. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 4% lower rating, Acura is ranked 6th.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the MDX, 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 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 MDX’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the GLE offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The MDX doesn’t offer cornering lights.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Mercedes GLE offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The MDX doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The GLE’s Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The MDX doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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

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