The Mercedes GLE has an attractive interior that is far more interesting to behold than that of an Audi Q7 or BMW X5. Its alternatives are slightly better built inside, however
The Mercedes GLE looks more interesting on the outside than most of its alternatives, and Mercedes has continued the wow-factor inside, where you’ll find sweeping lines, piano black trims and chrome accents. It’s all far more interesting to behold than the efforts from Audi, BMW and Land Rover, especially with the GLE’s standard 64-colour ambient lighting in full swing after dark.
Also included is a sports steering wheel with Mercedes’ latest multifunction buttons, the left side controlling the left 12.3-inch digital instruments screen and the right side controlling – well, you guessed it – the right 12.3-inch screen dealing with the infotainment.
The dashboard and front lower grab handles are all covered in leather which both looks and feels great, while the GLE’s seats get a fine Nappa leather as standard. You can choose between black or black and white seat colours.
However, if you prod dashboards, wiggle air vents and press buttons back-to-back in an X5, Q7 and GLE, you’ll notice that the Audi and BMW feel a tad more solidly constructed.
That the GLE’s interior isn’t quite as well screwed together as an Audi probably won’t worry you too much - it’s far more interesting in its design
Every Mercedes GLE comes with Mercedes’s latest MBUX infotainment system. It consists of two 12.3-inch screens, the left dealing with the driver’s instruments and trip computer, the right with the car’s infotainment.
The left hand screen is controlled using the left hand set of buttons on the car’s multifunction steering wheel, while the right hand screen can be controlled using touch or a control pad and menu shortcut buttons on the centre console between the front passengers.
The sat-nav system is easy to follow, but entering an address requires either pressing fairly small buttons on the screen, selecting them or writing it via the control pad. It sounds more difficult to do than it really is, but Mercedes’ rotary dial selector on its older models was easier to use while driving. Ultimately, BMW’s current iDrive system better still.
The GLE’s system gets DAB radio, Bluetooth, live traffic information, a connect app and ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice activation feature as standard. The latter is much like you’ll be used to on your smartphone, activating when you say the phrase ‘hey Mercedes’ and helping you with a range of tasks.
Adding the relatively cheap Tech Package is recommended as it includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and augmented reality via the car’s sat-nav – all great systems that improve the experience quite a bit. For quite a bit more money, the Tech Plus Package a head-up display and an interior assistant that uses interior cameras to make things more interactive, but we’d stick this down as a want, not a need.
Lastly, premium Harman-Kardon and Burmester surround-sound systems are available as part of the Premium and Premium Plus packages should you want to up your audio experience.