The Mercedes GLE is a big SUV that’s brilliant for the family. However, it’s starting to show its age inside and the standard suspension is bumpy on rough roads
If you’re looking for a big family SUV with a desirable badge then the Mercedes GLE is worth a look.
The GLE replaced the Mercedes ML-Class in 2015, but apart for some new front and rear headlight designs and a new tablet-style infotainment system, they’re basically the same car.
And that’s a good thing as far as interior space goes. The GLE has plenty of room for four people, numerous cubbies scattered through the cabin and a huge boot.
The interior also feels very well built and is made from expensive-feeling materials. The only downside is that the dashboard is packed full of fiddly buttons. If you want a Mercedes with a modern, minimalist design, then the E-Class or GLC are much better choices.
The same is true of the car’s eight-inch infotainment screen that just doesn’t look as nice as the ones you’ll find in the latest Mercedes models. It’s not particularly easy to use, but that’s less of a problem because the GLE comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so you can use the more intuitive controls of your smartphone.
The old-fashioned theme even continues on the move. The GLE feels like an old-style SUV to drive, although that’s not necessarily a bad thing, depending on what you want from an SUV. The GLE certainly doesn’t feel agile in bends like a Porsche Cayenne or BMW X5, but the light controls, raised driving position and smooth-shifting automatic gearbox mean it is easy to drive, and it’s quiet and comfy on the motorway.
It’s well worth paying for the optional air suspension because it does a much better job at ironing out bumps than the standard set up.
The GLE is a practical and comfy SUV that is let down a bit by a fiddly infotainment system and uncomfortable middle rear seat
You can get the GLE with just one diesel engine, in addition to the high-performance petrol-powered GLE63 that’s reviewed separately. The powerful six-cylinder 350d is relatively cheap to run and has a good amount of overtaking oomph at motorway speeds.
Despite the lack of engine choice, the GLE is a brilliant car that’ll allow you and your family to travel in a good deal of style. Watch our SUV group test video to see how the GLE compares to the Lexus RX and BMW X5.