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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

KBB Editors' Overview

By Matt Degen

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLE is the German automaker's midsize-luxury SUV, a 2-row/5-passenger hauler that adeptly takes on rivals like the BMW X5 and Lexus RX. Formerly known as the M-Class, the GLE changed its name a couple of years ago and now has enough configurations to be its own lineup. Most buyers will be satisfied with the jack-of-all-trades GLE 350 and its V6, but there's also a plug-in hybrid-SUV variant for those seeking superior sufficiency. For the power-hungry, there are AMG GLE models, and even a sportier and less practical version called the GLE Coupe, all of which we review separately. Starting well over $50,000, the Mercedes GLE costs more than most rivals, but boasts impressive features and a badge to envy.

You'll Like This Car If...

In addition to the luxurious amenities, safety features and technology you'd expect in a Mercedes-Benz, the GLE packs a few surprises, like the ability to tow up to 7,200 pounds. Another is the plug-in hybrid GLE's ability to travel up to 10 miles on battery power alone.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The Lexus RX has a softer ride, costs about $10,000 less, and holds its value better in the long run. The slightly smaller Acura RDX, meanwhile, is agile, comfortable and costs far less than the Mercedes. If you want a diesel SUV, options keep dwindling but Jaguar offers one in the F-Pace.

What's New for 2018

For 2018, the Mercedes-Benz GLE carries over unchanged, with the only updates coming on the AMG side of the equation with a power bump for the Mercedes AMG GLE 43 variant.

Driving It Driving Impressions

The GLE's road-going characteristics vary quite a bit depending on powertrain. Most buyers will choose the GLE 350, either in standard rear-wheel-drive form or with all-wheel drive, which Mercedes call "4Matic." In such form, the GLE has a good blend of power and handling. While its acceleration trails that of a standard X5 (the GLE's 0-60-mph time is 7.5 seconds, vs. 6.1 for the BMW), it will be more than sufficient for most buyers. More relevant is the GLE's admirable road manners -- a satisfying blend of comfort and finesse, all bolstered by the confidence inspired by the GLE's physical presence and high seating position. The GLE 550e plug-in hybrid comes at a higher cost but grants a have-cake-and-eat-it-too mentality. With a total of 436 horsepower, this hybrid-luxury SUV can zoom from 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds -- a few ticks faster than the AMG GLE 43 performance variant.

Favorite Features

Pulling heavier loads may not be the first thing on the mind of GLE buyers, but it's good to know this midsize-luxury SUV is up to the task if you have a trailer or recreational toys. Rear-drive models are rated up to 6,600 pounds, while 4Matic models go to 7,200 pounds.

Inside the GLE's muscular and handsome shell is an interior that pampers, especially with options of your choosing. From massaging front seats to heated and cooled cup holders, the GLE's cabin has a way of making even the mundane seem marvelous.

For vehicle details and pricing notes… Read More
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