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Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class vs. Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class

As more consumers flock to crossovers and SUVs, automakers have decided to introduce utility vehicles of all sizes. Two luxury crossovers offered by Mercedes-Benz are the compact GLC-Class and the mid-size GLE-Class. There are a few more differences than size when it comes to the GLC-Class and GLE-Class. We’ve compared the two to see which is the better fit for the majority of drivers.

See a side-by-side comparison of the GLC-Class & GLE-Class »

What the GLC-Class Gets Right

The Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class is the cheaper option. The base 2020 GLC 300 starts at $43,495 before destination compared to the $55,245 base GLE 350 4MATIC. The large $11,750 price difference can go a long way into getting a nicer GLC model. You can move up to the GLC 350e 4MATIC or spend a little bit more money and get into an AMG GLC 43.

Thanks to its smaller size, the GLC-Class is the more efficient option, too. With the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the GLC-Class can get up to 24 miles per gallon combined, according to the EPA. Opt for the plug-in hybrid powertrain in the GLC 350e 4MATIC, and the vehicle can get 56 miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent (MPGe) combined. The best the GLE-Class can get with its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is 22 mpg combined.

What the GLE-Class Gets Right

First and foremost, the GLE-Class is all-new for the 2020 model year. In addition to the usual stuff, like new exterior and interior designs, the crossover features more technology than ever, more luxury features, and a trick mild-hybrid system to increase performance. The competition is doubling down in the mid-size segment, and Mercedes-Benz definitely brought the big guns with the 2020 model.

When it comes to interior space, the GLE-Class is the clear winner. The mid-size crossover has more front and rear head room, rear leg room, and front and rear shoulder room.

The GLE-Class also has more total cargo capacity: 72.6 cubic feet compared to the GLC-Class’ 56.5 cubic feet. A new trick for the GLE-Class is the ability to seat up to seven, while the GLC-Class is still stuck with a five-passenger layout.

Performance is in the GLE-Class' side of the court as you move up the trims. Its base engine is rated to make 255 horsepower, as is the GLC-Class' base engine. At the top of the respective heap sit the AMG GLC 63 and the AMG GLE 63 S. The AMG GLC 63 utilizes a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 that makes 469 hp. The AMG GLE 63 S has a larger 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 that cranks out 577 hp. Besides bragging rights for horsepower ratings, the GLE-Class is the more adept tower – 7,700 pounds compared to the GLC-Class' 3,500 pounds.

Want Seating for Seven?

The largest difference, and probably the one that'll persuade the majority of consumers, is seating capacity. The GLC-Class is only capable of seating up to five, while the all-new GLE-Class adds a few extra seats in the back. With seating for seven, and a larger interior to hold all of those passengers’ goodies, the GLE-Class is the better option for families or drivers wanting the flexibility of a seven-passenger configuration.

Our Verdict: Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

The Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class is a crossover to be reckoned with. Mercedes-Benz really did bring the heat with the all-new model and the ability to seat seven, hold more cargo, and tow more stuff. However, the price difference between the two is immense. For the majority of drivers, the GLC-Class should fit the bill. Plus, there’s a new model right around the corner, which promises to bring a lot of the same tech and luxury features found in the new GLE-Class.

Take a closer look at the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class »

Take a closer look at the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class »

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      Joel Patel Automotive Editor

      Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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