There are quite a number of excellent luxury crossovers around these days, and although the biggest models are still very much the benchmarks for luxury and quality, midsize models are catching up fast. So, to see how good midsize luxury crossovers are right now, let's take a look at the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE to see how it competes against the Lincoln MKX.
The GLE offers two body styles, which are the standard versions and the extremely attractive and glamorous "coupe" versions. The coupe models sacrifice a good deal of rear head room in the name of aesthetics, but who cares when it makes a midsize crossover look that good? The GLE is basically an updated and renamed M-Class, but it is now much, much better-looking. The Lincoln MKX has been massaged and smoothed just enough to justify its premium billing over the Ford Edge it's based upon, and it is a handsome and upscale model that makes quite an impression when you first see it. The front fascia is a little odd though, so this round has to go to the Mercedes.
Smooth, quiet, spacious, comfortable, refined, luxurious--what else do you need to know about the interior of the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE? The seats are soft yet supportive, and even with the rear seats up there's still more than 36 cu.-ft. of cargo space behind them. The ride can be as firm and responsive or as soft and comfortable as you want, depending on whether you have the standard suspension or the available air suspension with adaptive damping. Unlike some of its rivals, the Lincoln MKX doesn't squeeze a third row of seats into its cabin so there's plenty of room for five adults to stretch out and enjoy. The Lincoln interior is definitely more spacious than the Mercedes, but it can't compete in terms of quality.
Engines & Performance
You'll find an impressive lineup of engines for the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE, ranging from a fuel-sipping hybrid to a ludicrously fast V-8 and everything in between. The GLE Coupes get the high-performance AMG® V-6 and V-8 turbos, but even the base engine is a fabulous 3.5-liter V-6 with 302 horsepower on tap. Two V-6 engines are available in the MKX, and the standard unit is a 3.7 that's a match for its Mercedes equivalent with 303 horsepower. The other unit is a pretty good 335 horsepower 2.7-liter V-6 turbo, but it's no match for the power on offer from the GLE.
Value for Money
The entry level GLE 350 offers a very impressive list of standard features and equipment that includes: power adjustable heated front seats, Bluetooth connectivity, a power sunroof and power liftgate, leatherette upholstery, dual-zone climate control, 19-inch alloy wheels, keyless ignition, a rearview camera and 8.0-inch display. However, with a starting MSRP of $52,000 you're definitely being asked to pay for what you get. A 2017 Lincoln MKX Premiere has standard features that include: a proximity key, automatic dual-zone climate control, parking sensors, active noise canceling, leatherette upholstery and Ford's improved Sync 3. At just $38,260, it's a much better value than the GLE-a rare victory for the Lincoln in this area.
You can get a Lincoln MKX for a lot less than it costs to get a 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE, and if you were just paying the extra for the Mercedes badge and little else that would end the conversation. That's not the case though, because the GLE is a better vehicle in just about every other measurable way. The answer here is easy--the GLE is the better buy.