OD SUV Slugfest: Mercedes-Benz GLE
Most people don't buy a Mercedes-Benz to take it off-road, still, that's what we did with the GLE. And it was quite a revelation.
Styling and street presence
The design is somewhat conservative and in our fast-changing world, the GLE looks dated now. It still has fairly decent street presence, with Merc's prominent logo attracting attention and even envious looks.
Seating and visibility
The ingress and egress is good. The A-pillars disturb the view around turns, but frontal visibility is nice. Wiper sweep area is fairly satisfactory and the washers have six jet sprays.
Ground clearance is adequate, front overhang is also fine, but the rear one is long. It has the Mercedes 4Matic permanent all-wheel drive and the dynamic select offers - Sport, Individual, Comfort, Slippery and even an Off-road mode. The Airmatic suspension is raised by an additional 25mm in Off-road, and the infotainment shows a beautifully detailed animation with incline and the angle of ascent, steering angle and lock, compass, percentage and angles of roll and pitch, throttle input, applied brake pressure, suspension load distribution on all four ends and would you believe it, even the travel left in each of the 4 coil-springs! If that is not enough, it also has details of the DSR or downhill speed regulation that can be set to speeds between 2-18kmph. This must be the most comprehensive off-road display screen yet and it's really engaging and fascinating. Simply love it.
The full size spare is kept inside the boot for easy access. But strangely, for a SUV with such advanced off-road features, it has no headlight washers. However the rearview camera is concealed in a cavity and only pops out when reverse is engaged. Almost all the other SUVs had their cameras getting dirty in our trials, but this innovative feature prevented that happening in the GLE.
Touring ability and performance
It has a large 93 litre tank and a range of about 1,050km. The GLE is very comfortable for long journeys and has excellent space in the cabin and also in the boot.
Its bulky size and weight show in the timings, but it actually handles better than what the clock implies. The Mercedes-Benz GLE may not be the fastest, but feels planted and safe at all times and in all driving conditions.
Price: Rs 91.73 lakh (on-road, Mumbai)
Engine type: 3.0D/258PS/620Nm
Fuel Economy: 9.97kmpl
Fuel capacity and Range: 93l/1,050km
4WD lock: No
Diff Lock: No
Ground Clearance: 202 - 285mm
Dimensions (LWH) mm: 4,819 x 1,796 x 1,965
Weight: 2,175kg (kerb)
Off-Road Driving Modes: Yes
Headlight Washers: Yes
Boot Capacity: 690l
Starts Rs 73.7 Lakhs