Skip advert
Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Mercedes GLE SUV review

"The Mercedes GLE is one of the classiest SUV buys, but not the best all-rounder"

Carbuyer Rating

3.7 out of 5

Owners Rating

5.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Pros

  • Prestigious image
  • Beautiful interior
  • Seating for seven

Cons

  • Expensive to run
  • Rivals better to drive
  • Not the best value

Mercedes was one of the first premium car makers to move into the SUV business, with its ML model offered as a challenger to the Range Rover back in the late 1990s. Today, it faces competition from a wide range of brands, and the Mercedes GLE now fights the Audi Q7, Land Rover Discovery, Volvo XC90 and BMW X5 for buyers.

Advertisement - Article continues below

It no longer faces the Range Rover as a direct rival – that's the job of the bigger Mercedes GLS. However, the Range Rover Sport is aimed at the same audience as faster models in the Mercedes GLE range, as is the Porsche Cayenne. There’s also a Mercedes GLE Coupe model that counts the Range Rover Velar, BMW X6 and Porsche Cayenne Coupe as its rivals, and which features most of the same engines as the regular GLE.

Best large SUVsTop 10 best large SUVs 2024

Not that any GLE lacks performance. There are three diesels (one of which is a plug-in hybrid) and three petrol engines to choose from; even the entry-level GLE 300 d manages 0-62mph in a shade under seven seconds thanks to a 268bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine. The six-cylinder GLE 400 d diesel is faster still, providing hot hatch pace, but will be enjoyed for its extra smoothness as much as its greater power. It’s the AMG 63 S model that’s currently the fastest in the range, hitting 0-62mph in an astonishing 3.8 seconds, and it takes on the BMW X5 M and Porsche Cayenne Turbo.

Speed alone isn't enough to make the GLE appeal to driving enthusiasts, though, and most versions of the GLE are definitely better suited to life on the motorway than spirited use on twisty back roads. Top-spec models have Mercedes' clever Airmatic air suspension system, which absorbs bumps with ease despite the large alloy wheels fitted to every model as standard. Standard models use a traditional steel spring suspension set-up which isn’t as comfortable, so we’d recommend speccing the optional air suspension or going for a model with it fitted if you can afford it. The Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 does a better job of coping with faster driving on winding roads, with responses that even encourage you to push harder at times, despite its bulk.

Advertisement - Article continues below
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

That’s not even the fastest or most expensive model; the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S has an even greater focus on performance and a £120,000 price tag. It gets adaptive dampers, carbon-fibre trim and Sport driving modes.

The GLE has a beautifully designed and built interior, which meets and even exceeds the standards set by the last Mercedes S-Class saloon that introduced the brand's latest interior design direction on its debut. Yet the GLE adds a distinctive flavour of its own, and benefits hugely from Mercedes' latest MBUX infotainment equipment that succeeds the former COMAND system, bringing an easier, more intuitive user interface.

It all adds to the GLE's easy-going character, and makes long-distance travel thoroughly relaxing. Interior comfort impresses too, with loads of space for those in the front two rows of seats. The third row – standard on all six-cylinder models – brings additional flexibility, but the GLE can't match the Volvo XC90 or Land Rover Discovery as a full seven-seater. There’s the bigger GLS if you’ll regularly be carrying six passengers. Meanwhile, no GLE is short on equipment, and though there are additional (and quite expensive) optional packs available, many will be happy with the AMG Line spec that every UK car comes with, along with the entry-level 300 d diesel engine.

It all adds up to a very impressive all-round package, but an expensive one that doesn't justify its price premium by being massively more talented than its rivals. Mercedes fans will love it, and anybody who wants an incredibly smooth, luxurious SUV that can seat seven when you need to would be wise to give it a look. However, the GLE doesn't quite do enough for us to recommend it over a BMW X5.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Volkswagen Tiguan review – family SUV with a trusted formula
Volkswagen Tiguan drive
In-depth reviews
13 Jun 2024

Volkswagen Tiguan review – family SUV with a trusted formula

Top 10 best used 7-seater cars 2024
Used 7-seater cars
Best cars
12 Jun 2024

Top 10 best used 7-seater cars 2024

Nissan Qashqai review - a comfortable and efficient family SUV
Nissan Qashqai facelift
In-depth reviews
12 Jun 2024

Nissan Qashqai review - a comfortable and efficient family SUV

Ford Kuga review - a sharp-handling and efficient SUV
Ford Kuga facelift
In-depth reviews
11 Jun 2024

Ford Kuga review - a sharp-handling and efficient SUV

Most Popular

New Alpine A290: fast, stylish and very blue electric hot hatchback revealed
Alpine A290 front quarter
News
13 Jun 2024

New Alpine A290: fast, stylish and very blue electric hot hatchback revealed

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on
Engine warning light
Tips and advice
12 Jun 2024

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
14 Jun 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s top car offers

Facelifted Mercedes GLE SUV costs £8k more than the old car
2023 Mercedes GLE - front
News
22 Feb 2023

Facelifted Mercedes GLE SUV costs £8k more than the old car

Mercedes has facelifted the GLE SUV for 2023 with a new look and updated tech
Mercedes GLE Coupe SUV review
Mercedes GLE SUV Coupe review
In-depth reviews
22 Jan 2021

Mercedes GLE Coupe SUV review

"The Mercedes GLE Coupe is still spacious despite its rakish roof, but it's expensive"
2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe revealed
2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe front driving
News
18 Feb 2020

2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe revealed

Hot 603bhp Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S Coupe will take on BMW X6 M and Porsche Cayenne Coupe this spring
Plug-in hybrid Mercedes GLE 350 de: prices & specs revealed
Mercedes GLE 350 de plug-in hybrid
News
29 Jan 2020

Plug-in hybrid Mercedes GLE 350 de: prices & specs revealed

The new Mercedes GLE PHEV is on sale now, with deliveries starting in summer 2020
New 2019 Mercedes GLE Coupe: prices, specs and release date
News
12 Dec 2019

New 2019 Mercedes GLE Coupe: prices, specs and release date

Second-generation Mercedes GLE Coupe range is on sale now, with a price of £72,530
604bhp Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S breaks cover
News
20 Nov 2019

604bhp Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S breaks cover

The 2020 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S has a twin-turbocharged mild-hybrid V8 engine and an array of performance tweaks
What is Mercedes 4MATIC?
While the E-Class Coupe is rear-wheel-drive as standard, 4MATIC four-wheel-drive is also be available
Tips and advice
10 Oct 2019

What is Mercedes 4MATIC?

Everything you need to know about the Mercedes 4MATIC all-wheel-drive system
New Audi Q7 due in September
Audi Q7 SUV facelift front 3/4 tracking
News
25 Jun 2019

New Audi Q7 due in September

The updated Audi Q7 arrives this autumn to renew rivalry with BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE
Skip advert
Advertisement
Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 mild-hybrid revealed with 435bhp
News
4 Mar 2019

Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 mild-hybrid revealed with 435bhp

Sporty GLE 53 is fastest version of SUV until GLE 63 model arrives
New Mercedes GLE SUV prices and spec
2019 Mercedes GLE front
News
19 Dec 2018

New Mercedes GLE SUV prices and spec

Full 2019 Mercedes GLE range available to order now, ready to take on its recently refreshed rivals from Audi, BMW and Porsche
Volkswagen Touareg R-Line review
News
6 Nov 2018

Volkswagen Touareg R-Line review

In R-Line trim, the Volkswagen Touareg is luxurious and has lots of convenience features
Mercedes GLE SUV (2011-2018)
In-depth reviews
2 Nov 2018

Mercedes GLE SUV (2011-2018)

“The Mercedes GLE is a full-size SUV that’s well equipped and pretty stylish, but it’s getting on in years and due for replacement”
Range Rover Sport SVR review
Road tests
17 Oct 2018

Range Rover Sport SVR review

Supercar performance meets SUV style and off-road ability
New Mercedes GLS 2019: prices, specs and release date
News
7 Aug 2018

New Mercedes GLS 2019: prices, specs and release date

All-new version of seven-seat Mercedes SUV set for 2019
Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupe SUV
In-depth reviews
26 Jan 2018

Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupe SUV

"The Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 Coupe is an expensive, rather niche choice for SUV buyers, but it's astonishingly quick, luxurious and comfortable"
Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 SUV
In-depth reviews
20 Dec 2017

Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 SUV

"Large, fast and expensive, the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 is a bold SUV that prioritises performance over economy, with lashings of luxury added for good me…
New Mercedes GLE 2018: price, specs and release date
News
29 Sep 2017

New Mercedes GLE 2018: price, specs and release date

Next-gen Mercedes GLE – seen in exclusive images - set to feature E-Class-inspired interior and sleeker looks
Skip advert
Advertisement
Mercedes GLE 500e plug-in hybrid (2015-2018)
In-depth reviews
4 Aug 2017

Mercedes GLE 500e plug-in hybrid (2015-2018)

“Only company-car users stand to save much money with the Mercedes GLE 500e, but its impressive power will appeal private buyers, too”
Mercedes GLE Coupe SUV (2015-2018)
In-depth reviews
10 Jul 2017

Mercedes GLE Coupe SUV (2015-2018)

“The Mercedes GLE Coupe is a big, fast and stylish coupe-SUV, but it’s hugely expensive and its  rivals are more fun to drive”

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
21 Mar 2024

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
Best electric cars
Best cars
16 May 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024