The Mercedes GLE’s cabin comes with plenty of plush-feeling materials and some decent in-car tech but alternatives look more modern and are easier to use
The Mercedes GLE’s interior has large swathes of expensive looking trim pieces and heavily cowled dials that would look perfectly at home in an expensive sports car.
Cheap-feeling plastics are in the minority and, on top of that, buttons and switches work with a robust slickness and cubby lids glide open with a damped action.
There are rather a lot of buttons to get your head around and the Mercedes GLE can’t match the minimalist style of the newer E-Class’ cabin. On the upside, all GLEs come with Mercedes’ upgraded Comand Online infotainment system with an eight-inch screen.
All models also come with cold-to-the-touch aluminium trim pieces and, although the Artico leather is man-made, it looks and feels like the real deal.
As standard, you also get a flat-bottomed AMG-branded steering wheel, body-hugging front seats, metal pedals and AMG floor mats. You also get cool mood lighting that lets you choose from white, amber and ice-blue glows.
The only other model is the top-of-the-range Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S, which has a Nappa leather interior in black, espresso brown or porcelain black. It also gets its own unique sports seats, an AMG sports steering wheel and an instrument cluster with racy red highlights.
The GLE’s cabin is like a room in Buckingham Palace – spacious and luxurious, but in need of modernisation
All GLEs come with Mercedes’ Comand Online infotainment system with an eight-inch high-resolution screen. Unfortunately, the graphics are drab and rather dated, but the system does include a Bluetooth phone connection and DAB digital radio.
Unfortunately, the Comand Online system’s controls are split between a touchpad and a control knob that can be confusing to operate. The menus aren’t particularly well organised, either – a BMW X5’s system is much more intuitive.
On the plus side, smartphone mirroring via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto comes as standard, so you can use your phone’s more intuitive sat-nav app on the Mercedes GLE’s big screen.
The mirroring system also means you can use your phone’s music apps through the car’s decent eight-speaker stereo. But, if you’re a music fan, it’s worth splashing out on the Harman Kardon stereo.
It’s standard on GLE 63 S models and comes as part of the £2,395 Premium Pack on the lesser model. It has 14 speakers and a 830W output. And, although it’s not quite as good as the Burmester stereo fitted to other Mercedes models, it’s still very impressive.
The Premium Pack even looks like good value because it bundles together the fancy stereo with a 360-degree exterior camera display, auto park (that’ll steer the car into spaces for you), a panoramic glass sunroof and keyless go, so you can open and start the car without having to take the key out your pocket.