2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Review
Pros & Cons
- Several engine choices
- Quiet, upscale and well-built interior with a roomy backseat
- Long list of standard safety and technology features
- Base V6's acceleration is merely adequate
- Uninspiring handling when going around turns
- Ride quality with the standard suspension isn't as comfortable as we expect
Edmunds' Expert Review
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class delivers a plush ride quality on reasonably smooth paved surfaces, but even moderate bumps make their presence known. Compared to other luxury crossovers, the GLE feels overly soft and not all that buttoned down to the road, with handling that is on the graceless side when pushed moderately hard. Opting for the air suspension with active stabilizer bars might help, but so far we haven't been terribly impressed with the base GLE's ride quality.
Likewise, the GLE's steering feels too light, though it offers decent feedback. In short, this is not an SUV for buyers seeking sporty handling. Of course, the barnstorming AMG GLE 63 trims are considerably more capable in this regard.
On the straight-out performance front, the GLE 350's V6 delivers adequate acceleration but tends to feel a bit overwhelmed in a vehicle this size. If you're looking to get going with some degree of gusto, the twin-turbo V6 under the hood of the GLE 400 feels downright quick, and the V8-powered AMG models deliver blazing acceleration anytime you feel the need.
Although billed as an all-new model when it was introduced last year, the 2017 Mercedes GLE-Class still shares its underlying bones with the now-defunct M-Class model. There's more than a passing resemblance inside and out, though Mercedes updated the cabin with a large, center-mounted display screen and the latest knob-based COMAND system with a redundant touch-sensitive pad for clicking and swiping.
The infotainment system can be intimidating at first because of its myriad features and customization possibilities, but in practice it works fairly well. The availability of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration is a nice addition, too.
Some might find the GLE 350's standard premium vinyl upholstery somewhat out of place on such a premium vehicle, despite breathing and wearing better than leather. Otherwise, though, materials quality and workmanship are excellent. In models fitted with any of the available grades of genuine leather, particularly the optional Designo diamond-quilted leather upholstery, and genuine burled wood trim, the interior's plushness is significantly elevated. Available multicontour front seats are highly adjustable and add several massage programs to the supremely comfortable thrones.
Adults will find comfort and space no matter where they sit, as the tallish ride height means the transmission tunnel barely eats into the cabin. The two sections of the 60/40-split rear seatbacks fold easily to create a roomy cargo hold with a flat load floor. Cargo capacity stays the same, with 38.2 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 80.3 cubes with the seatbacks folded flat. These are average numbers for the segment.