The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE stands out as a top contender in the mid-size luxury SUV segment. Its stylish exterior design coupled with a luxurious interior sets it apart from its rivals. Given its generous rear legroom, abundant technological features, and smooth ride, the GLE should be an excellent choice for families shopping for a roomy, luxury mid-size SUV.
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE comes standard with a turbocharged 2L four-cylinder engine that makes 255 horsepower. While the performance of this engine isn’t thrilling by any means, it’s likely to satisfy the needs of the average buyer in this segment. In our testing, it took the GLE 350 7.1 seconds to reach 100 km/h from a standstill, which is what we expected from an SUV of this size.
The transmission in the GLE is optimized for fuel efficiency, prioritizing smooth shifts and seamless power delivery. The focus on fuel economy ensures that the GLE delivers efficient performance without sacrificing overall driving refinement.
While the GLE does not have the same inherent sportiness as the Porsche Cayenne or BMW X5, it still offers a well-balanced driving experience to feel like a sporty SUV. The GLE strikes a good balance between comfort and handling dynamics, thanks to its responsive and composed handling characteristics. Additionally, the suspension tuning and chassis design contribute to the GLE’s ability to deliver a sporty driving feel without compromising overall ride comfort.
For those seeking even more power, the GLE 450 model is available. This model comes with a more powerful engine that delivers better acceleration and overall performance compared to the standard four-cylinder engine. Shoppers who want a blend of practicality and performance should consider opting for the 450 over the 350.
The Mercedes-Benz GLE features the MBUX (Mercedes-Benz User Experience) infotainment system, which is widely regarded as one of the best in its segment. The MBUX system combines cutting-edge technology, intuitive interface design, and a range of features to enhance the overall driving and user experience. The interface of the MBUX system is designed with simplicity and user-friendliness in mind. The menus and icons are laid out in a logical and straightforward manner, making it easy for drivers and passengers to navigate through various functions and settings. Additionally, both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard across the lineup.
In addition to this, the MBUX system offers a range of other features and capabilities. Voice control is one of them, which allows the users to interact with the system using voice commands. The system responds to specific wake words, such as “Hey, Mercedes,” and can perform various functions, from adjusting climate controls to providing real-time traffic information.
The interior of the Mercedes-Benz GLE is one of the best in the segment when it comes to usability, quality, and spaciousness. The cabin is designed with a focus on user-friendly controls and easy accessibility for the driver, which ensures a safe driving experience as it reduces driver distraction. When it comes to materials and craftsmanship, the GLE stands out from its peers. The materials used throughout the cabin add to the overall luxury and comfort, making the cabin a pleasant space to spend time in. We believe that Mercedes-Benz offers the best interiors in the segment, and the GLE proves that.
One notable aspect of the GLE’s interior is its spaciousness, particularly in the second row. Passengers in the second row will appreciate the ample headroom and legroom, which can comfortably accommodate most adults. While the back seats in the GLE do not have the ability to move or recline, they still provide a comfortable seating position.
Additionally, we were also impressed with the sound insulation in the GLE. The cabin is designed to minimize outside noise, resulting in a quiet ride. Even at higher speeds, road and wind noise are significantly reduced, allowing for a comfortable driving experience.
The GLE excels when it comes to cargo capacity. The cargo area is generous, offering ample room to accommodate a variety of items. The absence of wheel wells in the cargo area ensures unobstructed access and maximizes usable space, this is particularly beneficial when loading larger or bulkier items into the vehicle. Moreover, the GLE stands out in terms of maximum cargo space when compared to other luxury midsize SUVs.
Similar to the cargo area, the cabin provides ample space for personal belongings. The cabin is thoughtfully designed with numerous storage options for smaller items, ensuring that items are easily accessible and well-organized. Additionally, the rear seats feature four easy-to-access car seat anchors, providing convenience for families with young children and ensuring the secure installation of car seats.
The GLE 350 is rated at 12.1/8.9 L/100 km (city/highway). We got similar results in our testing.
On the other hand, the GLE 450 is rated at 11.4/9.3 L/100 km (city/highway), while the even more powerful AMG GLE 53 is rated at 13.4/10.6 L/100 km (city/highway).