What’s in a name? When it comes to the new 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, the answer is, “quite a lot.” That’s because this replacement for the previous M-Class midsize SUV gets much more than a simple name change. While much is related and indeed identical to the M-Class, the GLE gets a wealth of changes inside and out, including new front and rear fascias and freshened interior styling and color combinations. Also new is the GLE-Class Coupe model (reviewed separately), which features a sportier stance and a more sloping “fastback” rear roof line similar to the BMW X6.
There is a long list of available powertrains — including the fuel-efficient diesel-powered GLE300d and new plug-in hybrid GLE550e — as well as options that can transform it from an upscale people-mover to a high-performance SUV or, quite the opposite, a reasonably credible off-roader. If it’s the latest in technology you’re after, you’ll find no shortage of it here, from the handling enhancement of the Active Curve System (adaptive stabilizer bars) to the safety-oriented Collision Prevention Assist (automatic pre-collision braking).
When it comes to competitors, the list is noticeably shorter. The BMW X5 is a desirable alternative with a distinctly sportier bent, while the Lexus RX 350 benefits from a thorough and impressive redesign. The elegant new 2016 Volvo XC90 may not have the Mercedes’ diverse engine portfolio, but it’s more spacious inside and decidedly different from the norm. You could also check out the 2016 Land Rover LR4 for its greater off-road potential or the Porsche Cayenne, which provides the best performance of the group here but at the expense of cabin versatility.
Ultimately, the new 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class occupies more or less the same space as the outgoing M-Class it replaces. It’s comfortable, well equipped and prestigious to own. Luxury crossover SUV shoppers would be wise to give it a look.
|Vehicle Traction||All Wheel Drive|
|Exterior Color||Red Multi-Coat|