Following significant updates last year, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class is primarily a carryover from 2016, but that doesn't mean it's any less competitive among midsize luxury SUVs. Carrying on the tradition that began under its previous name, the M-Class, the new GLE range combines a usable blend of passenger room, comfort and generous cargo space with a pleasing design that is sure to capture the eye of many shoppers in the market for an upscale utility vehicle.
GLE-Class revisions for 2017 are few. Standard equipment now includes a rearview camera and 4G LTE Wi-Fi. There have also been a few color changes: Black, Selenite Grey Metallic and Brilliant Blue Metallic are in; Palladium Silver Metallic and Steel Grey Metallic are out.
Although the starting price for the GLE is lower than that of many of its luxury competitors, the Mercedes offers an impressive array of powerplant choices. The standard engine for the base GLE350 is a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 302 horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. Other options include a twin-turbocharged V6, a plug-in hybrid powertrain and a twin-turbocharged eight-cylinder AMG variant. All engines come mated to either a seven-speed or a nine-speed automatic transmission, with all-wheel drive standard on every model except the GLE350, in which it remains an option.
Unlike some of its rivals, which tend to stress sporty handling or a degree of off-road capability, most of the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class lineup is tuned for a smooth, comfortable ride. Buyers hoping to get tire-spinning acceleration and a bit more cornering prowess might want to consider stepping up to one of the AMG models.
Inside, the GLE-Class boasts the kind of comfort and convenience items that most consumers expect in a luxury SUV, including heated seats, dual-zone climate control and an infotainment system with the latest technology. The only hiccup might be the "M-B Tex" faux leather seat material that comes standard on the base GLE350. Buyers seeking added luxury can enjoy standard genuine leather seating on the higher trim levels or tick the option box on the GLE350.
The rear-wheel drive GLE350 is EPA rated at 20 mpg combined (18 city/23 highway). Adding the all-wheel-drive option results in a rating of 19 mpg combined (18 city/22 highway).
With its plethora of available accessories and packages, the base GLE350 can be tailored to suit the majority of shoppers. Those in the market for a hybrid can opt for the GLE550e plug-in model, and more performance-minded buyers will want to test-drive the new turbocharged GLE43 (which replaces the GLE400), or the range-topping AMG GLE63 and AMG GLE63 S. Whatever your preference, let Edmunds help you find your 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class SUV.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.