2020 Mercedes GLE vs. 2020 GMC Terrain

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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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 GMC Terrain 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 Terrain doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

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 Terrain doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the GLE and the Terrain have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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.

The Mercedes GLE weighs 895 to 1542 pounds more than the GMC Terrain. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.


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

The GLE’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Terrain’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).


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 GMC vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 27 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC is ranked 22nd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than GMC vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 8 places higher in reliability than GMC.


The GLE 350’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 85 more horsepower (255 vs. 170) and 70 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 203) than the Terrain’s standard 1.5 turbo 4-cyl. The GLE 350’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 3 more horsepower (255 vs. 252) and 13 lbs.-ft. more torque (273 vs. 260) than the Terrain’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. The GLE 450’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid produces 110 more horsepower (362 vs. 252) and 109 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 260) than the Terrain’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

The GLE has 7.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Terrain FWD’s standard fuel tank (22.5 vs. 14.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The GLE has 6.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Terrain AWD’s standard fuel tank (22.5 vs. 15.6 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping

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

GLE 350

GLE 450

Terrain 1.5T

Terrain 2.0T

Front Rotors

13 inches

14.8 inches

11.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

11.3 inches

11.3 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 Terrain are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the GLE has larger standard tires than the Terrain (255/50R19 vs. 225/65R17). The GLE’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Terrain (F:275/45R21 & R:315/40R21 vs. 235/50R19).

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 Terrain’s standard 65 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 Terrain’s optional 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLE has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Terrain. The GLE’s optional 21-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the Terrain.

Suspension and Handling

The GLE has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the GLE flat and controlled during cornering. The Terrain’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. GMC doesn’t offer an active suspension on the Terrain.

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 Terrain’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

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 Terrain 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 Terrain doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLE’s wheelbase is 10.6 inches longer than on the Terrain (117.9 inches vs. 107.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the GLE is 3.8 inches wider in the front and 4.3 inches wider in the rear than on the Terrain.

Passenger Space

The GLE offers optional seating for 7 passengers; the Terrain can only carry 5.

The GLE has .5 inches more front headroom, 2.1 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom, 1.2 inches more rear legroom and 2.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Terrain.

Cargo Capacity

The GLE has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Terrain with its rear seat up (33 vs. 29.6 cubic feet). The GLE has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Terrain with its rear seat folded (75 vs. 63.3 cubic feet).


The GLE’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Terrain’s (7700 vs. 1500 pounds).

Servicing Ease

The engine in the GLE is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Terrain. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than GMC. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 30% lower rating, GMC is ranked 14th.


Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors optional at extra cost in the Terrain (except SL/SLE), 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 Terrain doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

If the windows are left open on the GLE the driver can close them all from a distance using the remote (remote must be aimed at door sensor). On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Terrain can only close 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 Terrain’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 Terrain doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The GLE has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Terrain and isn’t available on the Terrain SL.

The GLE’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Terrain SL doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

The GLE’s standard GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Terrain’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

The GLE’s Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Terrain Denali’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

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

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