Driving position and dashboard
The driver gets a four-way electrically adjustable seat (backrest angle and seat height) with adjustable lumbar support to help ward off lower back pain on longer journeys.). Moving the seat back and forth is the only adjustment you'll need to perform manually.
True, the seat isn't quite as supportive through corners as the Audi Q7's, but if you're an SUV fan, you'll enjoy how far you sit from the road. Add the optional Premium Package and, among other things, you get an electrically adjustable steering wheel.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
That lofty seating position helps give you a good view of the road ahead, and, while the windscreen pillars can partially obscure your view at junctions, they don't present a serious bugbear.
Because of the slightly angular and narrow rear, the view out of the back isn’t as clear as it is in some SUVs. However, a reversing camera and front and rear parking sensors are standard, with a 360deg bird's eye view camera on the options list.
As a bonus, all GLEs come with powerful LED headlights as standard.
Sat nav and infotainment
Every GLE comes with Mercedes’ latest infotainment system, which features two 12.3in displays joined together to look like one widescreen that stretches across more than half of the dashboard. It's essentially the same set-up that features in high-end versions of the latest A Class family hatchback.
There are plenty of features, including a DAB radio, Bluetooth and sat nav, plus a Siri-style ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice command function that can recognise more natural speech than many rivals'. However, it's rather disappointing that you have to add the optional Tech Package if you want Apple Carplay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring.
You can control the system by swiping and pressing a main touchpad between the front seats, by using another tiny touch pad on the steering wheel or by simply pressing the screen. The touchpad methods are the easiest to use when you’re driving; you don’t need to continually study the display as the main pad provides haptic feedback to help you navigate through the menus. That said, the interface in the BMW X5 is even more intuitive.
The look of the interior is certainly appropriately swish for a luxury SUV, but what about the actual quality of it?
Well, give the dashboard a bit of a poke and a prod – particularly around the climate control panel – and it doesn't give quite the same impression of solidity as its Audi and BMW rivals. But it’s certainly not a million miles away, and the difference isn’t something that would bother you on a daily basis.
Most of the interior materials feel suitably expensive and there’s plenty of soft-touch plastic on the dashboard.