Car Comparison

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC vs. 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE: What's the Difference?

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 4MATIC Sedan
Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
$34,661
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class 4MATIC
Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
$22,900
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class 4MATIC
Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class
$31,800
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
$21,497
RELATED READING
See all Mercedes-Benz GLE350 articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Doug DeMuro April 2016

If you're looking for a new luxury SUV, you might have Mercedes-Benz's two models on your shopping list: the handsome new 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC and the recently refreshed 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE, which has replaced the M-Class for the latest model year. Both models are highly luxurious, touting a long list of high-end features, smooth rides and recently updated designs. But what exactly makes the GLC and GLE different? And which one should you get? We've created a close comparison to help you find out.

Exterior

From the outside, it's easy to tell the GLE and the GLC apart. One reason is size: The GLC looks a lot smaller than its larger GLE stablemate, measuring around 183 inches in length compared to the GLE's 190 inches. It also offers dramatically different styling with totally different front and rear ends, a lower overall profile and -- perhaps most noticeable -- different rear pillars: The GLE has a wraparound rear window, as did its M-Class predecessor, while the GLC touts a more traditional look.

Interior

Inside, the GLC and GLE offer dramatically different interiors. That's because the GLC is one generation beyond the GLE, having just been redesigned, while the GLE hasn't been fully overhauled since the last M-Class debuted in 2012. The result is that the GLC's interior looks a lot more modern and upscale than the GLE's, featuring a smooth, flowing center control stack with minimalist controls and a far less segmented overall look. It would be hard to buy a GLE without feeling at least a little envy toward the GLC's far more modern cabin. Still, the GLE offers more interior space thanks to its larger design -- especially in back, where it touts more room in just about every area.

Mechanicals

At the moment, the GLC only offers one engine: a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. It comes standard with a 9-speed automatic transmission and touts rear- or all-wheel drive.

Meanwhile, the GLE is available with a wide range of powertrain options. Base-level models use either a 201-hp 2.1-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder (GLE300d) or a 302-hp 3.5-liter V6 (GLE350), while other available powertrains include a 329-hp 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 (GLE400), a 436-hp 3.0-liter plug-in hybrid V6 (GLE550e) and a high-performance AMG GLE63, which offers a 5.5-liter turbocharged V8 that cranks out 551 hp or 577 hp depending on the model you get.

The result: If you want more choices, you'll want the GLE. While we suspect the GLC lineup will soon expand to offer more engine options, the base-level GLC300 is the only one available at the moment.

Features & Technology

When it comes to features and equipment, the GLE unsurprisingly beats out its smaller GLC stablemate. Only the GLE offers an available air suspension, for example, along with massaging seats, a rear-seat DVD entertainment system, tri-zone automatic climate control and cupholders with heating and cooling capability.

With that said, the GLC isn't far behind. Though it may not offer those features, it does share a wide range of the latest gadgets with the GLE -- including an automated parallel-parking system, an in-car Wi-Fi hot spot, a 14-speaker premium sound system, a top-down 360-degree camera system and many of today's latest safety items such as forward-collision warning, lane-keep assist and more. As a result, we suspect that virtually all gadget lovers will be happy in either model -- though they may be a little happier in the GLE.

Driving Experience

On the road, the GLC and GLE offer very different driving experiences. Specifically, the GLC is a lot sportier than its larger stablemate, touting sharper handling and a nimbler, livelier feeling around corners. By comparison, the GLE feels like the more luxury-oriented SUV that it is, with a smoother and more comfortable ride that lacks the excitement that comes with a smaller vehicle with more direct handling and steering.

It's also worth noting that the GLE ranges from numb and smooth to wildly fast and exciting -- depending on the one you get. Shoppers can tailor their own GLE experience based on which engine they want and, obviously, how much money they want to spend.

Safety

Although the GLE has not yet been crash-tested by the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, we suspect the midsize Mercedes SUV will offer roughly identical ratings as the M-Class, which earned a perfect 5-star overall score. The GLE has earned a Top Safety Pick score from the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. As for the GLC, it hasn't been tested by either group because it's so new.

When it comes to safety features, both the GLC and the GLE are at the top of their games. Both tout forward-collision warning (though only the GLC couples it with automatic forward-collision braking), while both also offer a blind spot monitoring system, lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control and automated parallel parking. Though we're interested to see how the GLC scores in crash tests, we think these are two of the safest SUVs on the road.

Conclusions

Despite similar names, the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC and the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE are surprisingly different SUVs. The GLC is smaller, livelier and far more modern on the inside, while the GLE is larger, more luxurious and comfortable, and available with a much larger model lineup. The one you should choose depends on how much space you'll need and how much power you'll want, as the GLC is currently limited to one engine. With that said, unless you really need the GLE's larger size or its more powerful engines, we'd stick with the GLC -- if only for its far more reasonable starting price of $39,900 with shipping compared to the GLE's base figure of $52,100 including destination.

Find a Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class for sale

Find a Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class 4MATIC Sedan
Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
$34,661
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class 4MATIC
Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
$22,900
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class 4MATIC
Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class
$31,800
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
Used 2016 Mercedes-Benz CLA-Class
$21,497
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLC vs. 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE: What's the Difference? - Autotrader