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2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE vs Land Rover Discovery

If you've got the money, it could be a difficult job these days choosing which luxury SUV to choose from because there are so many fantastic ones, with more arriving all the time. Some models are firmly established, but that doesn't mean the latest contenders can be ignored.

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE was a new model only last year, while the Land Rover Discovery is an all-new model with a recycled name. So, let's see how they compare against each other.

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE in the sunlight

Exterior Styling

To be honest, the GLE isn't completely new. It's really a heavily refreshed and renamed version of the old M-Class. Heavily refreshed is a fair description though, as this model is now sleeker, sportier, and more car-like than its forefathers with a much more road-orientated stance. The entirely new Discovery looks a lot like its Range Rover and Range Rover Sport siblings. The new Discovery is easily identifiable as the crossover it unquestionably is. The sportier look of the GLE gives it the slight edge here though, but it has to be said it's by the narrowest of margins.

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE next to a large tree

Interior Style and Comfort

If you climb into the GLE with certain positive preconceptions about what to expect from it as it is a Mercedes-Benz after all, you won't be disappointed. The seats are soft and nicely contoured, and depending on which model you go for, the suspension and ride can be as comfortable or as firm as you could want. The quality is unquestionable, but the whole lineup is definitely aimed more towards sporty than pure opulence. Don't expect the "stadium seating" of the old LR4 in the Discovery, although the Land Rover can be specified with either five or seven seats. The interior is stylish, comfortable and of a high quality, and the third-row seats offer plenty of head and legroom for two adults. It has to fall short of the GLE though, after all, what would be the point of paying so much more for a Range Rover otherwise? It's another win for the GLE here then.

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE in the spotlight

Performance and Fuel Economy

The engine in the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE is a 3.5-liter V-6 that comes mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Having a rear-wheel drive option means the Mercedes can offer EPA fuel-economy ratings as good as 18 mpg in the city, 23 mpg on the highway and 20 mpg combined. With new engines and overall weights as much as 1,000 pounds lower than the old LR4 in some cases, you'd expect huge improvements in fuel economy with the Land Rover Discovery. They are better, especially if you choose a turbodiesel, but the gas models still lag behind the GLE with ratings of 16 mpg in the city, 21 mpg on the highway and 18 mpg combined. This is perhaps a slightly surprising victory then for the GLE.

2017 Land Rover Discovery in the desert


If you want outright on-road power and performance, the GLE is seriously impressive. From the entry 3.5-liter V-6 to the fire-breathing GLE 63 S with its 577 horsepower V-8, there's all the power and performance you could wish for. The 3.0-liter V-6 in the Discovery is no match for the power offered by the GLE, and if you're planning to stay on the road it's no rival to the Mercedes. However, although the GLE has an excellent all-wheel drive system, it's not even worth mentioning alongside the Discovery when the pavement runs out. If there's a better performing crossover off-road than the Discovery it would be good to know what it is, and it's a very nice vehicle to drive on-road as well. This is a big win for the Discovery then, unless you want a tall sports car that is.

These two vehicles are actually more different than they first appear. While the Land Rover is a million times better off-road, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE has more prestige, more opulence, more power, and a much sportier persona than the Discovery. Clearly, the 2017 GLE is the better choice for all those reasons.

Learn More About the Mercedes-Benz Lineup:

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe

2016 Mercedes-Benz GL

2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class