2020 Mercedes GLE vs. 2019 Dodge Durango

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 Dodge Durango doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle 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 Durango doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The GLE offers an optional Surround View System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Durango 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 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 Durango doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the GLE and the Durango 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, rearview cameras and available lane departure warning systems.

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

The GLE’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Durango runs out after 60,000 miles.

Reliability

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the GLE have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the 5.7 V8 in the Durango.

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 Dodge vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 44 more problems per 100 vehicles, Dodge is ranked 28th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Dodge vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 4 places higher in reliability than Dodge.

Engine

The GLE has more powerful engines than the Durango:

Horsepower

Torque

GLE 350 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

255 HP

273 lbs.-ft.

GLE 450 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid

362 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

Durango 3.6 DOHC V6

293 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

Durango Dual Exhaust 3.6 DOHC V6

295 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

Durango 5.7 V8

360 HP

390 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the GLE 450 is faster than the Durango Dual Exhaust V6:

GLE

Durango

Zero to 30 MPH

1.9 sec

2.6 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.3 sec

7.8 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.9 sec

20.9 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6 sec

8.3 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.2 sec

4.2 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.3 sec

5.7 sec

Quarter Mile

13.9 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100 MPH

88 MPH

Top Speed

129 MPH

117 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

GLE

RWD

350 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

AWD

350 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

19 city/26 hwy

450 3.0 turbo 6-cyl. Hybrid

19 city/24 hwy

Durango

RWD

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

5.7 OHV V8

14 city/22 hwy

AWD

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/25 hwy

5.7 OHV V8

14 city/22 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the GLE 450’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Durango doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Regardless of its engine, the GLE’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Dodge only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Durango V6.

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Mercedes GLE as an “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV). The Dodge Durango 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 an eight-speed automatic is available for the Durango.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the GLE 450’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Durango:

GLE 450

Durango V6

Durango V8

Front Rotors

14.8 inches

13 inches

13.8 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

13 inches

13 inches

The GLE stops much shorter than the Durango:

GLE

Durango

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

190 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the GLE’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Durango (F:275/45R21 & R:315/40R21 vs. 265/60R18).

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 Durango SXT/GT’s standard 60 series tires. The GLE’s optional 275/45R21 front and 315/40R21 rear tires have a lower 45 series front and 40 series rear profile than the Durango’s optional 50 series tires.

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

Suspension and Handling

The GLE has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the GLE flat and controlled during cornering. The Durango’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

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

The GLE offers an available 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 Durango’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

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 Durango doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the GLE is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 2.7 inches wider in the rear than on the Durango.

The GLE 450 handles at .84 G’s, while the Durango GT pulls only .75 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The GLE is 6.9 inches shorter than the Durango, making the GLE easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The design of the Mercedes GLE amounts to more than styling. The GLE has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .29 Cd. That is significantly lower than the Durango (.35) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the GLE get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the GLE 450 is quieter than the Durango GT 4x4:

GLE

Durango

At idle

38 dB

38 dB

Full-Throttle

70 dB

76 dB

70 MPH Cruising

63 dB

67 dB

Passenger Space

The GLE has .6 inches more front headroom, .8 inches more front shoulder room, 2.3 inches more rear legroom and .6 inches more rear shoulder room than the Durango.

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 Durango 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 Durango’s (7700 vs. 6200 pounds).

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Dodge. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 66% lower rating, Dodge is ranked 27th.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the Durango (except SXT), 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 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Durango doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The GLE’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch. The Durango

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 Durango’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 Durango doesn’t offer cornering lights.

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

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

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