Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
The least powerful model, the 300d, is the most economical Mercedes GLE – it beats most rivals, both officially and in our real-world tests. Despite emitting less CO2 than many of their peers, all conventionally powered versions of the GLE are in the top band for benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax, making them a pricey choice for company car users.
That’s where the plug-in hybrid 350de steps in, with its official 19g/km CO2 emissions and 66 miles of electric-only range, which is better than the BMW X5 Xdrive45e. Both cars are in the same BIK company car tax bracket, but the GLE’s cheaper list price means lower monthly payments. You’ll have to run almost exclusively on electricity to get near the official 403.6mpg economy figure.
When it comes to PCP finance, the rival Land Rover Discovery and Audi Q7 are available with cheaper monthly payments, partly because the GLE depreciates more quickly than the Q7, X5 and Discovery.
Equipment, options and extras
Within the range, there’s a bit of a price jump from 300d to 350d, and a smaller one from 350d to 400d. The performance difference between the last two is significant, though. If you’re considering the 350d, it’s hard to ignore the appeal of the 400d’s extra power, especially as both emit the same amount of CO2 with similar fuel economy.
If you want more luxuries, most of them are bundled into packs with hefty price tags. Consider the AMG Line Premium Package if you want more gadgets and the option of seven seats (the AMG Line Premium Plus Package is too pricey to recommend). Buyers planning to take their GLE off road can opt for a package that adds underbody protection, although it’s not available on the 300d.
Every Mercedes GLE comes with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty, which is pretty much par for the course in this class. There's also roadside assistance for three years, so you won't be stranded at the side of the road if you break down.
Mercedes’ reliability record isn’t great, though – it finished 26th out of 31 manufacturers in the 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey. However, the GLE finished in a strong third position in the Luxury SUV class, behind the Q7 and Porsche Macan but ahead of the BMW X5, Range Rover Sport and Volvo XC90.
Safety and security
The Mercedes GLE comes with an impressive list of standard safety equipment, including blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assistance, automatic emergency braking and a pop-up bonnet to protect pedestrians in a collision.
It won a maximum five-star safety rating from expert body Euro NCAP. If you look at its test results in detail, there were a few weaknesses noted. In the lateral impact pole test, the GLE received a marginal for chest protection, while in a rear-end shunt, protection from whiplash (specifically for children) could have been better. The Audi Q7 and BMW X5 beat it in those two areas but fell down in others. Ultimately, these are all safe cars.
As for security, an alarm and immobiliser are fitted to help ward off thieves.
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