Highlight: The GLE 350 is now available with an optional third row seat.
Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $83,990 (Base Non AWD Model: $54,695)
Seating Capacity: 5 to 7
Standard Safety Features: airbags; a collision preventive assist system; a trailer stability assist system; an electronic brake hold feature; a tire pressure monitoring system; a parking assist system; an electronic blindspot system; a crosswind assist system; a tire pressure monitoring system; a brake hold feature; and a rearview camera
Standard Equipment: 19-inch wheels; a 9-speed automatic turbo transmission; rear wheel drive; LED headlights; LED tail lamps; an engine start/stop system; a drive mode select system; a keyless entry system; a dual zone automatic climate control system; leather-like seats; heated front seats; power front seats with driver’s memory; a handsfree power lift gate; a 12-inch digital instrument cluster; a navigation system; a touch pad controller; a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel; power folding side mirrors; a power sunroof; aluminum roof rails; and a retractable luggage cover
Optional Features On Test Vehicle: optional exterior paint; front power passenger seat with a memory operated control seats; 20-inch AMG spoke wheels; leather-like dash and door trims; rear side airbags; power rear side window shades; multi-contour front seats; heated and ventilated front seats; a heated steering wheel; a trailer hitch; a four zone automatic climate control system; a Burmester surround sound system; heated rear seats; soft close doors; augmented video for navigation, a heads up display system, and interior accents; active distance assist radar activated cruise control system; an active lane change assist system; an active emergency stop assistance system; an active blind spot assist system; a rear end collision assist system; a route base speed adaption system; an active stop and go assist system with traffic sign assist; a 360-degree surround view system; a high beam assist system; rapid heating front seats, armrests and door panels; third row seats, power second row seat and additional USB ports; a diffuser; side mirrors, window trim and rood rails; increased cabin insulation, windshield with infrared reflecting film, side windows with acoustic and infrared absorbing film; an airmatic suspension system; an adaptive damping system plus; AMG body styling including wheel arches painted in vehicle color, AMG wheels, AMG sport braking system and AMG diamond block grill; 115 volt outlet; SiriusXM radio; rear seat accessory adapters; 64 color ambient lighting with illuminated door sills; and wireless charging
GLE 580 hybrid plug-in
AMG GLE 63S
Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: AM/FM/HD
Apple CarPlay/Android Auto: Yes
Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes
USB Connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 Bmiles
Powertrain Warranty: 4 years or 50,000 miles
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder turbo/255-hp
Recommended Fuel: Premium
Standard Fuel Mileage: 20-city/27-hwy
What’s New: The fourth generation GLE has been redesign for the 2020 model year. Besides an all-new design, the GLE adds an electric plug-in to its nameplate too.
Why: The redesign German luxury midsize SUV is available in a variety of powertrains: a 4-cylinder, a 6-cylinder and a plug-in hybrid. Not only is the formerly named M-Class SUV fueled by a variety of gasoline powertrains, an electrified model is now available. The plug-in will be known as the GLE 580 4Matic.
Our test vehicle, which was outfitted with the brand’s 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder turbo engine. While a traditional midsize SUV would be outfitted with a standard 6-cylinder or an 8-cylinder engine, we found the 255-horsepower engine to be more than adequate. We were surprise to learn that this vehicle was powered by a 4-cylinder. This shows how far 4-cylinders have come in offering both power and fuel optimization.
This year's muscular designed SUV, which has been a staple in the Mercedes-Benz family since 1997, is available in a rear wheel drive or an all-wheel drive configuration.
Just like the brand’s newest and most economical entry-level box-like SUV, the GLB, the GLE is offered with a one-piece, 24-inch touchscreen computer screen, which houses both the traditional instrument gauges and the infotainment system. The infotainment system houses the navigation, the audio system and the ventilation system. The redesign panel is known as the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience). The screen almost runs what seem like 70 percent the width of the vehicle. Its also designed to recognize arm and hand movements, too.
This year’s stylish model is more luxurious and high-tech than ever. In fact, the vehicle is so advanced, this year’s model offers a Stop-and-Go Assist feature that enables the vehicle to recognize heavy traffic in advance of the SUV’s arrival, while offering a self-driving assist feature to kick-in, if one faces such a situation. Other high tech features include a wireless charger, a blind spot assist system, an active park assist system, active lane assist and adaptive high beam assist headlight.
Also this year’s GLE is available with a supersized sunroof, a 4-zone climate climate control system and the brand's trademark rapid heating front seats.
Lastly, as far as the ride quality, the 2020 model is available with an optional $1,700 suspension package. One of the main critiques of the previous generation was that the ride quality was too firm.
But: Most buyers might push back on paying $84,000 for a Mercedes-Benz powered by a 4-cylinder, 255-horsepower engine despite it being powered a turbo? Even before adding on options, we’re not quite sure if paying $57,000 is an easy sell before consumers actually get behind the wheel.
Moreover, the optional third row seats are designed more for small kids being that they just aren’t suitable for adults for short or long trips. Its extremely difficult for adults to squeeze into the third seats. Also while seated in the third seats, the second row seats doesn’t recognize occupants in the optional last row could be a safety hazzard.
Honestly, we’re not quite sure if we feel comfortable stuffing kids in what seems likes bungy seats used by the flight attendants when taking off and descending. The third row is designed for adults. And with the third row in use, there is no need to add cargo. We think the GLE should stick to being a five passenger vehicle with room for cargo.
Also it took a moment for our hands to stumble across the optional heated switch which was located on the left side of the steering wheel. We understand that is a German engineered vehicle, but you have American car buyers behind the wheel of your vehicle!
Added to that, why is SiriusXM not a standard feature on a $57,000 base model, before adding options?
Furthermore, the fuel-efficient, base 4-cylinder turbo seems underpowered for our seven passenger vehicle. Mercedes-Benz should adjust the sound of the engine to give the vehicle a throatier and beefier sound. Its all about perception.
Lastly, an all-new design should provide a more open interior with a panoramic roof as opposed to the standard sunroof.
Verdict: Mercedes-Benz continues to up their game with the former M-Class SUV, offering everything from a traffic jam assist system to an infotainment system that recognizes hand gestures. With the new athletic stylish design, one can expect an exorbitant price tag, too, as options are piled-on -- making this the ultimate midisize SUV.
Competition: Audi MDX; BMW X5; Jeep Grand Cherokee; Lexus RX; and Volvo XC90