2020 Mercedes GLE vs. 2020 Mazda CX-9

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/29

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 Mazda CX-9 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 CX-9 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the GLE’s standard Downhill Speed Regulation allows you to creep down safely. The CX-9 doesn’t offer Downhill Speed Regulation.

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 CX-9 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Compared to metal, the GLE’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Mazda CX-9 has a metal gas tank.

Both the GLE and the CX-9 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available lane departure warning systems and around view monitors.

Warranty

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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 CX-9’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Reliability

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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 Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 25 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.

Engine

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The GLE 350’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 5 more horsepower (255 vs. 250) than the CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4-cylinder. The GLE 450’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid produces 112 more horsepower (362 vs. 250) and 49 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 320) than the CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4-cylinder. The GLE 580’s standard 4.0 turbo V8 hybrid produces 233 more horsepower (483 vs. 250) and 196 lbs.-ft. more torque (516 vs. 320) than the CX-9’s 2.5 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Car and Driver the GLE 450 is faster than the Mazda CX-9:

GLE

CX-9

Zero to 30 MPH

1.9 sec

2.5 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.3 sec

7.3 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.9 sec

20.6 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6 sec

8.1 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.2 sec

3.6 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4.3 sec

5 sec

Quarter Mile

13.9 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100 MPH

88 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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Regenerative brakes improve the GLE 450’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the GLE’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The CX-9 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The GLE has 3.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-9 FWD’s standard fuel tank (22.5 vs. 19 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The GLE has 3 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-9 AWD’s standard fuel tank (22.5 vs. 19.5 gallons).

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes GLE higher (5 to 6 out of 10) than the Mazda CX-9 (3). This means the GLE produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the CX-9 every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes GLE, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the CX-9.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the GLE’s brake rotors are larger than those on the CX-9:

GLE 350

GLE 450

CX-9

Front Rotors

13 inches

14.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

13.6 inches

12.8 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 CX-9 are solid, not vented.

The GLE stops much shorter than the CX-9:

GLE

CX-9

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

183 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

138 feet

143 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the GLE’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the CX-9 (F:275/45R21 & R:315/40R21 vs. 255/60R18).

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 CX-9 Sport/Touring’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 CX-9 Grand Touring/Signature’s 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 CX-9 Sport/Touring. The GLE 580’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels on the CX-9 Grand Touring/Signature.

Suspension and Handling

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The GLE 450 offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Mazda doesn’t offer an active suspension on the CX-9.

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 CX-9’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 CX-9 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 CX-9 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLE’s wheelbase is 2.6 inches longer than on the CX-9 (117.9 inches vs. 115.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the GLE is .8 inches wider in the front and 1.6 inches wider in the rear than on the CX-9.

The GLE’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (53.5% to 46.5%) than the CX-9’s (54.7% to 45.3%). This gives the GLE more stable handling and braking.

The GLE 450 handles at .84 G’s, while the CX-9 Signature AWD pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The GLE 450 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the CX-9 Touring (27 seconds @ .69 average G’s vs. 27.6 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the GLE Airmatic has a greater minimum ground clearance than the CX-9 (9.2 vs. 8.8 inches), allowing the GLE to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The GLE is 5.1 inches shorter than the CX-9, making the GLE easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the GLE 450 is quieter than the CX-9 Signature AWD:

GLE

CX-9

At idle

38 dB

38 dB

Full-Throttle

70 dB

73 dB

70 MPH Cruising

63 dB

66 dB

Passenger Space

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/29

The GLE has 1.2 inches more front headroom, 1.4 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom, 1.5 inches more rear legroom and .2 inches more rear shoulder room than the CX-9.

Cargo Capacity

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The GLE has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the CX-9 with all its rear seats folded (75 vs. 71.2 cubic feet).

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the GLE’s second row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The CX-9 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the GLE. The CX-9 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

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The GLE’s towing capacity is much higher than the CX-9’s (7700 vs. 3500 pounds).

Servicing Ease

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The GLE uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The CX-9 uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

The engine in the GLE is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the CX-9. 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 Mazda. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 59% lower rating, Mazda is ranked 25th.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory seat in the CX-9 Grand Touring/Signature, 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 standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The CX-9 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The GLE’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The CX-9 does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The power windows standard on both the GLE and the CX-9 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the GLE is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The CX-9 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

If the windows are left open on the GLE the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the CX-9 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The GLE’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The CX-9’s power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

When the GLE is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The CX-9’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The GLE’s standard rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The CX-9 offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The GLE offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the CX-9.

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 CX-9 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The GLE offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The CX-9 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The GLE’s Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The CX-9 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the GLE owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the GLE with a number “8” insurance rate while the CX-9 is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the GLE is less expensive to operate than the CX-9 because typical repairs cost much less on the GLE than the CX-9, including $214 less for a water pump, $13 less for a fuel pump and $747 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/29

The Mercedes GLE outsold the Mazda CX-9 by 86% during 2019.

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