Parkers overall rating: 3.6 out of 5 3.6
  • Cabin really starting to feel its age
  • Some poor-quality materials used
  • Excellent sports seats and driving position

Mercedes GLE: what's it like inside?

While you couldn’t say the GLE feels cheap inside, it’s clear Mercedes-Benz still has some work to do to compete with rivals in this regard. You can dress it up significantly by splurging on optional extras, but some of the plastics used – especially around the Dynamic Select rotary control, gear lever and stereo controls – feel unquestionably low-rent and we suspect will scratch very easily too. You’d expect more from a Mercedes-Benz at this level, and indeed Porsche and BMW rivals do make a better fist of things.

Another bugbear is that screen. It’s meant to replicate a tablet computer but isn’t removable and doesn’t fold away, so takes the appearance of something stuck onto the dash. Again, it’s made of cheap-feeling plastic too, and isn’t even a touchscreen. 

With all that said, the actual driving position in the GLE is one of the better in its class. It’s slightly lower than you might expect from an SUV, but still feels high enough for that all-important commanding driving position. You’ve got brilliant visibility and it’s still unquestionably a large car with serious ground clearance. The sports seats are the only ones we’ve tried at this point, and it’s difficult to critique them. They’re supportive and comfortable yet easy to adjust, which is about all you’d want from a seat. 

Mercedes GLE instrument panel

In front of the driver you’ve got a speedo on the left and a rev counter on the right, between which lies a small screen which can display navigation or trip computer details. 

We’re not convinced about the touchpad and associated rotary selector dial, though. It’s in a position that doesn’t feel natural to us, and isn’t anywhere near as intuitive as BMW’s iDrive to use. Mercedes-Benz was late to the party with this sort of thing, and it shows. 

  • Optional air suspension means lots of bodyroll
  • Interior fixtures and fittings aid comfort
  • Noisy engine on plug-in hybrid model

Mercedes GLE: how comfy is it?

As a luxury SUV, you’d expect Mercedes-Benz GLE comfort levels to be pretty high, and in the main, they are. The seats are excellent, with lots of support and adjustability where necessary. The front ones are heated on all models too, while higher-spec cars also enjoy leather, massaging, ventilation, and memory functions.

In general, noise insulation is extremely accomplished on the GLE – wind and road noise are well suppressed and the engines aren’t that noisy either. Special mention must go to the plug-in hybrid here, because it’s capable of travelling on near-silent electric power alone, but you certainly notice when the petrol engine barks into life. 

We’d prefer a little less movement on the Airmatic air suspension we tried, but we haven’t had a go in one with standard suspension at this point. Under fast cornering and heavy braking there’s a fair bit of bodyroll evident, and that’s only going to make your passengers feel nauseous.