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The Mercedes-Benz M-Class is a refined and polished SUV built for a quiet ride. Jeep built the Grand Cherokee for outdoor adventure. Both are built on the same basic design, with some slight tweaks to suit different buyers. Each of these SUVs is purpose-built but demonstrate how much

An accessible luxury SUV for families

A white Mercedes M-Class SUV on display
Mercedes-Benz M-Class | Hannelore Foerster/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Mercedes-Benz M-Class, later known as the GLE, is a run-of-the-mill midsize luxury SUV. This is a winning choice for families with seating for five. It also scored high IIHS safety scores and features plenty of interior storage for gear.

This SUV fails to impress with either luxury or driving performance. For the price, many expected more from the M-class. Its rivals deliver more at a lower price. The M-class comes with a high cost of ownership .Buyers can expect to shell out over $35,200 over the first five years. This is anywhere rom $500 to $100 more per year than competitors.

J.D. Power gave the M-Class average reliability ratings with an overall 3 out of 5. For the starting price of $49,225 owners get an upscale interior and a smooth ride. Critics have called the M-class woefully underpowered. Its diesel engine puts out 200 hp while a gas-powered twin-turbo V8 option give more than double that at 518 hp.

Common ground between rugged and plush

From 2011 through the current model year the Jeep Grand Cherokee has kept a luxury secret under its rugged exterior. It’s built on the Wk2 platform which is a slightly modified version of the W166. The W166 platform is the blueprint that the Mercedes Benz M Class, GLE, and Dodge Durango are built from.

The Wk2 was designed by Chrysler while the company was under Daimler ownership. Global platforms like these save automakers time and money. The Wk2 has the size and strength of the W166 but is fine-tuned for off-roading. The SUVs that share this common platform cover the spectrum from polished to rough and tumble.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is dressed for a different party

A grey Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV
Jeep Grand Cherokee | Leonard Ortiz/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Where both the Mercedes M-class and GLE are smooth, quiet and plodding the Jeep Grand Cherokee is powerful and capable. This SUV was built with the trail in mind. Its 2.1-L twin turbo diesel option puts out 369 lb-ft of torque.

This SUV has more than just the power to get over rough terrain, it has the body reinforcements and technology to navigate any landscape. The off-road option costs around $1,100 and includes steel underbody skip plates protect the Jeep from kicked up rocks and other potential sources of damage.

Three different all-wheel-drive options keep this SUV gripped to the trail. Each upgrade adds around $2,000 to the sticker price. Limited Slip Differential enhances this helpful feature.

Each of the SUVs build on these closely related platforms has a distinct style from each other. The Roomy Dodge Durango is known as a sturdy hauler for big families. Jeep made an off-road ready SUV with the Grand cherokee.The Mercedes-Benz M-Class and GLE both offer upgraded comforts but less capability.

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