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2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE KBB Expert Review

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KBB Expert Rating 9.0 / 10
This Car - 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE
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KBB Expert Review

Vehicle Details Interior  Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo

The Mercedes GLE remains a 2-row/5-passenger SUV, and has no pretense of trying to stuff a tiny third row into its shape. That's a good thing, because the GLE offers more rear-seat legroom than an X5 and edges its German rival in cargo capacity, too. Behind the rear seats is 38.2 cubic feet; folding the seats opens up a significant 80.3 cubic feet. Driver and passenger are treated to a good view out thanks to the higher seating position. Below the standard 8-inch display is a button-centric module for audio, phone and navigation features to supplement the rotary controller between the seats.

Exterior   photo

A styling update two years ago softened some of the GLE's boxy lines, but the 2018 GLE exterior remains tough yet handsome. We particularly like the angled C-pillar behind the rear doors, and the LED taillights make a statement at night, along with the LED-accented headlights during the day. For an AMG look without the extra AMG price, there's an exterior package that offers body styling found in the performance models. Also available is the Night Package, which includes AMG styling and gloss-black accents for that edgier appeal.

Notable Standard Equipment

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE comes nicely equipped, as you'd expect from a vehicle starting upwards of $50,000. Highlights include a power tailgate, sunroof, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, rain-sensing windshield wipers and selectable drive modes (Comfort, Sport, Slippery). For added convenience and safety, you also get keyless start, rearview camera, crosswind assist and active brake assist, which can warn of an impending collision and automatically apply the brakes. Features include an AM/FM/CD/HD Radio with USB input and Bluetooth connectivity, displayed on an 8-inch color screen. The GLE gets five years’ access to the mbrace service, which gives remote access via phone or smart device. Standard upholstery remains MB-Tex.

Notable Optional Equipment

There's no shortage of ways to make your Mercedes GLE SUV even more luxurious, safe, sophisticated and unique. At the least, we recommend the Premium 1 Package, a good value that bundles navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a harman/kardon audio system and active safety features like blind-spot monitoring and lane-keeping assist. Also available are heated and cooled front seats, in-car Wi-Fi, a Bang & Olufsen audio system and massaging front seats. A safety system uses radar and cameras to watch for vehicles and objects at intersections, and Pre-Safe Plus prepares the vehicle if it senses a collision from behind.

Under the Hood

The 2018 GLE's standard engine is a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 302 horsepower. Rear-wheel drive (RWD) is standard and all-wheel drive (AWD) is optional. The AWD GLE 550e plug-in hybrid pairs a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 with an electric motor and lithium-ion battery, and can travel 10 miles on electricity alone. The battery can be charged in a couple of hours, and since it has a robust gasoline engine on board, you won't be stranded if the battery runs out of juice. The battery can also be charged by the gas engine when driving. Both the GLE 350 and GLE 550e use a well-regarded 7-speed automatic transmission. If a high-performance SUV is your thing, check out the GLE AMG models, which we review separately.

3.5-liter V6 (GLE 350 & GLE 350 4MATIC)
302 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
273 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500-5,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/23 mpg (RWD), 18/22 mpg (AWD)

3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 + electric motor (GLE 550e 4MATIC plug-in hybrid)
436 horsepower (total)
479 lb-ft of torque (total)
EPA city/highway fuel economy, est.: 38/50 MPGe (gas + electric)

Pricing Notes

The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE midsize-luxury SUV starts just over $53,000 when you include the $995 destination charge; add another $2,500 if you want 4MATIC all-wheel drive. The GLE 550e plug-in hybrid SUV starts over $67,000, though it is eligible for about $4,000 in federal tax incentives. These prices can easily rise by thousands with options. At its starting price, the GLE starts slightly lower than the BMW X5 but above other rivals like the Lexus RX, Acura MDX and RDX, Lincoln MKX and Cadillac XT5. Before buying, check the Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. The Mercedes GLE's resale value is expected to hold up well over the years, but still trail the Lexus RX.

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