The Mercedes GLE is a quiet cruiser on the motorway and is very comfortable with air suspension, but the lack of engine choice is limiting
The Mercedes GLE is available with a 258hp diesel engine only. The six-cylinder engine is quiet and sends fewer vibrations into the cabin than the four-cylinder diesel in a Volvo XC90, for example, making it a better match for a premium SUV like the GLE.
The 350d is perfect for all occasions, but will be at its most fuel-efficient on the motorway. Around town, it starts getting thirsty
The 3.0-litre diesel shifts this 2100kg leviathan with ease and the 0-62mph time of 7.1 seconds is impressive for something so big. More useful is the decent amount of torque that makes overtaking quick and stress-free – as does the standard nine-speed automatic gearbox, which helps with quick reactions and good gear-picking decisions. The 350d is a great engine that suits the Mercedes GLE’s character well, so the lack of other choices isn’t as bad as it seems.
There’s no getting away from the fact that the Mercedes GLE feels like a big car to drive, so if you’re looking for an SUV that feels nimble in corners you’ll be better off going for the surprisingly agile Porsche Cayenne.
The Mercedes’ size does have its advantages though, and one of them is the brilliant view you get out the front of the car. It feels tall compared to most other cars – so you can peer over queues of traffic and navigate your way through traffic-packed streets. The big rear window gives you get a decent view out the back and the small side windows help you see other cars when you glance over your shoulder.
Even parking is relatively easy because all models have parking sensors front and rear, and a reversing camera with guiding lines that help you aim the Mercedes GLE into spaces. All models come with an automatic gearbox that makes the car easy to drive smoothly at slow speeds.
On the motorway, the gearbox changes gear almost imperceptibly and the Mercedes GLE is very quiet.
The standard suspension is set up with comfort not sport in mind so it’s decently cosseting as long as you dong go crazy with the wheel sizes. But, if you want the ultimate comfort, you can get the optional air suspension that does a great job of ironing out bumps.
All GLEs come with an automatic emergency braking system – which can apply the brakes when it detects an imminent collision – and attention assist that can warn you if it reckons you’re getting sleepy behind the wheel.
The Mercedes GLE itself hasn’t been crash-tested by Euro NCAP. However, the old Mercedes ML-Class that it’s based upon was awarded five stars when it was evaluated under 2012’s less rigorous test conditions.