Mercedes makes some of the most competitive premium executive SUVs on the market because they currently offer an SUV for every imaginable purpose. If you want the largest European-made family SUV, go for the GLS. If you want the best off-road machine, go for the G-wagon.
However, if you are primarily interested in luxurious, comfortable family SUVs that can do everything, you should focus your attention on either the GLC or the GLE. The GLC is the small-to-mid-size family SUV that is nearing the end of its lifetime and is going to be replaced soon.
The GLE is a larger SUV that comes with higher-end materials, better interior, and exterior design, more space, and more of everything. Between the two, the GLE is better and hardly anyone can say otherwise. This does not mean that the GLC is not good, but rather not as good as the GLE.
No matter which one of these two tickles your fancy, you should wait a bit before the new GLC arrives as it is likely going to be the most popular Mercedes SUV. Given the fact that it is going to be based on the new C-Class, it is safe to say that it is going to be amazing.
2022 Mercedes GLC – The mid-level Mercedes SUV
With a starting price of $43,850, the GLC sits firmly in the mid-size luxury SUV segment which means it rivals the likes of the Audi Q5, the Volvo XC60, the Porsche Macan, and the BMW X3. The GLC300 comes with a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo engine that pushes out 255hp and 273lb-ft of torque.
The GLC comes with a RWD setup as standard, but you can upgrade it to the 4MATIC version for an additional $2,000. The GLC comes with the Mercedes trusty 8-speed DCT gearbox that fits the luxury character of the GLC beautifully.
Design-wise, the GLC is appealing, but it does seem a bit dated compared to the newest Mercedes models out there. The GLC comes with a high-quality interior, yet it lacks the brand new Mercedes MB UX infotainment system.
It is not able to rival the GLE when it comes to space, engines, luxury, comfort, or performance, but it does cost considerably less money and it is a lot more efficient.
2022 Mercedes GLE – The true Mercedes SUV
According to some Mercedes enthusiasts, the GLA, the GLB, and the GLC are not true Mercedes SUVs as they are way too small and not high off the ground. This means that the $56,150 GLE 350 is a true Mercedes SUV yet it comes with the same engine as the GLC which is not all that SUV-ish.
That being said, the $63,950 GLE450 comes with a 3.0L inline-6 turbo engine with mild-hybrid tech that equals a healthy 362hp and 369lb-ft of torque. The entry-level GLE350 does not come with 4MATIC as standard while the 450 does. All versions of the GLE come with the improved 9G DCT gearbox as well.
The GLE is longer, wider, and taller which means that it offers both more passenger space and more cargo space. It also feels a lot more substantial to drive, especially with higher-end engines such as the one found in the GLE450.
Design-wise, the GLE looks and feels more premium with higher quality materials, more technology, and better standard equipment. Safety-wise, it offers more than the GLE, but fully optioned out GLC models are comparable with fully optioned GLE models.
Conclusion – The GLE is a better car in almost every regard
If size matters, you should go for the GLE as it offers more of everything, especially when it comes to on-road feel and space. The GLC is also a great car, but it lacks when it comes to design, practicality, space, technology, and quality.
The only aspects where the GLC beats the GLE are price, efficiency, and size, but only if you prefer smaller SUVs. The new GLC is soon to be revealed and it is likely going to cost less than the GLE. As such, if you are not in a hurry and if you prefer smaller SUVs, wait for the new GLC.
It’s worth mentioning that the GLE is always going to be the more premium model, no matter the model year. The only difference is going to technology, efficiency, and probably safety.
Is the 2022 Mercedes GLC more efficient than the GLE?
According to Mercedes, the GLC is able to return 22MPG in the city and 27MPG on the highway while the larger GLE can return 19MPG in the city and 27MPG on the highway. These estimates are associated with the entry-level 2.0L GLE350 which means that if you go for the GLE450, your mileage will drop significantly.
The GLE450 does indeed come with mild hybrid technology, but the batteries offered are not enough to make a mentionable real-world difference. As such, efficiency is better with the GLC and the new GLC is likely to widen this gap even further.
Is the 2022 Mercedes GLE better at towing than the GLC?
Many people who buy SUVs use them as towing vehicles and this is where these two premium Mercedes SUVs differ a lot. The GLE is rated at a maximum towing capacity of 3,500lbs while the larger GLE is rated at almost 6,000lbs. If you are someone who uses an SUV for towing, go for the GLE.
These differences are mostly down to weight, power, and suspension because the GLE’s chassis is designed to sustain heavier loads than the GLC’s. This means that towing a 2,000lbs load is a lot more manageable with the GLE, even though the GLC is able to do the same.
Is the 2022 Mercedes GLE a better family car than the GLC?
The GLE is a better family car because it offers more space, a more isolated cabin, more cubby spaces, more space for mounting a child seat, and a safer car overall. The GLE also comes with rear infotainment screens which are perfect if you want to entertain your children on longer journeys.
The GLE also experiences less wind and tire noise and the GLE450 is a loot smoother than all versions of the GLC.