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2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class Review

The redesigned 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE provides cutting-edge technology, balanced performance, and an authentically luxurious experience for travelers. As a result, it's one of our top-ranking luxury midsize SUVs.

Pros & Cons

  • State-of-the-art infotainment and safety technology
  • Cabin is opulent, serene, and spacious
  • Vibrant powertrains
  • Comfortable, balanced handling
  • Infotainment system can be distracting to use

8.7

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.4
Performance: 8.3
Interior: 8.2
Safety: 9.8
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the Mercedes-Benz GLE a Good SUV?

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE is more than just good – it's outstanding. Mercedes implemented many improvements for this redesign, leaving nothing untouched. The body has updated styling and a longer wheelbase, with the latter adding stability and extra passenger space. The bevy of advanced technology includes an all-new infotainment system that's packed with features. Performance and handling also take a serious step up from the previous GLE.

Should I Buy the Mercedes-Benz GLE?

Thanks to its performance enhancements, the 2020 GLE is now livelier on the highway and will appeal to a wider customer base. Some nifty new tech toys – from the clever adaptive suspension system to the state-of-the-art entertainment options – will also turn heads. You'll be hard-pressed to find an interior as luxurious as the GLE's, but before you shell out more than $50,000 for a new SUV, there are a few other contenders that merit a look.

The seven-seat Volvo XC90 is another luxury midsize SUV that boasts pioneering technology. It comes standard with high-tech safety systems that help you stay alert, detect people and large animals in your path, and even handles some of the driving with its semiautonomous Pilot Assist. Shoppers who favor heart-pumping performance over a lavish interior should take a Porsche Cayenne out for a spin. This five-seat SUV's potent powertrains launch it from zero to 60 mph in as little as 3.9 seconds, while its smartly tuned suspension treats passengers to a comfortable ride.

Compare the GLE, XC90, and Cayenne »

Should I Buy a New or Used Mercedes-Benz GLE?

The redesigned 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE stands head and shoulders above the GLE's last generation, which was produced for the 2016 through 2019 model years. The newest GLE boasts notable improvements in ride and handling, passenger space, and cabin materials quality. That said, there is one key reason to consider a used GLE: powertrain selection. Used GLE options include the turbodiesel-powered 2016 GLE 300d, the plug-in hybrid 2017-2018 GLE 550e, and the 577-horsepower 2016-2018 Mercedes-AMG GLE 63 S. The GLE coupe body style was also available during select model years.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2017, 2018, and 2019 GLE reviews to help make your decision. Also check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used cars.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 GLE »

We Did the Research for You: 9 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about the Mercedes-Benz GLE in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data (like fuel economy estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions) with nine professional Mercedes-Benz GLE reviews.

Why You Can Trust Us

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Jobs, Best Hospitals, and Best Colleges to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. We've been ranking and reviewing the Best Cars since 2007, backed by a team with more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. To keep favoritism out of the picture, we maintain a separate advertising team and decline expensive gifts and trips from car companies.

How Much Does the Mercedes-Benz GLE Cost?

For 2020, the base price of a Mercedes-Benz GLE drops by a couple thousand dollars from the previous year. The redesigned GLE 350 starts at $53,700. All-wheel drive is available for $2,500, and it's standard in the upper-trim GLE 450 and GLE 580 models, which start at $61,150 and $76,800, respectively. For more information on vehicle features and pricing, see our Which Mercedes-Benz GLE Model Is Right for Me? section below.

The GLE’s pricing falls in line with other SUVs in the Mercedes lineup. The smaller Mercedes-Benz GLC retails for around $41,000 while prices for the larger Mercedes-Benz GLS start at around $70,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great deals at your local Mercedes dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mercedes-Benz deals page.

Mercedes-Benz GLE Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Mercedes-Benz GLE or BMW X5?

Like the Mercedes-Benz GLE, the BMW X5 does very well in our rankings. Both are excellent choices. Shoppers who prefer a sportier SUV – with responsive handling and a robust engine lineup – will get more thrills behind the wheel of the X5. The GLE is a better fit if you favor a higher dose of interior luxury.

Which Is Better: Mercedes-Benz GLE or Audi Q7?

The Audi Q7 and the Mercedes-Benz GLE frequently contend for one of the top spots in our luxury midsize SUV rankings, and both make fantastic choices. If you twist our arm, though, our vote goes to the Q7. The Audi comes standard with a couple swanky features that are extra in the Mercedes, such as leather seats. Also, most professional reviewers say the Q7's infotainment system is easier to use. The GLE does come with more standard safety features, but you can add many of these to the Q7 if you wish.

Compare the GLE, X5, and Q7 »

GLE Interior

How Many People Does the GLE Seat?

The Mercedes-Benz GLE is a four-door midsize SUV. It seats five in its standard configuration, and a newly available third-row seat expands total capacity to seven. The seats live up to Mercedes' reputation for luxurious comfort, starting with front seats that are available with heat, massage, and power adjustments. The second row is comfortable as well, especially with the optional power-adjustable seats, and provides more legroom than the previous generation. The third row is convenient for occasionally carrying extra passengers, but like most third rows, only tykes will be comfy here during longer stints. 

GLE and Car Seats

In its second row, the GLE comes with the standard set of LATCH hardware: two sets of lower anchors and three tether anchors.

GLE Interior Quality

Mercedes is celebrated for presenting some of the most luxurious interiors around, and the GLE holds true to this brand standard. It boasts excellent craftsmanship, solid-feeling hardware, and mostly first-class materials.

GLE Cargo Space

Cargo dimensions are not yet available for the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE, though test drivers say the GLE has abundant cargo room for the class. A power liftgate and a 40/20/40 split-folding second row are standard.

GLE Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The GLE comes with the all-new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system. This high-tech interface includes voice controls that mimic Siri and Amazon Alexa (a useful hands-free feature when you want to find the nearest coffee shop or research random trivia). The included 12.3-inch touch screen is sleek and responsive. The available gesture controls adjust settings with a wave of your hand, and the optional video-based navigation system clearly illustrates which street you should turn onto. Smartphone users should have no trouble quickly learning the interface, though some adjustments require navigating through multiple layers of menus. For technophobes, MBUX may be daunting to understand and distracting to use while driving.

Read more about interior »

GLE Performance

GLE Engine: A Trio of Satisfying Engine Choices

The GLE 350 comes standard with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Don't be fooled by its small size though, this 255-horsepower engine packs plenty of punch and can scoot the SUV from zero to 60 mph in just over seven seconds.

Drivers yearning for a little more oomph can opt for the GLE 450 or GLE 580 models instead. The GLE 450’s turbocharged six-cylinder engine has 362 horsepower, and it can hustle the SUV to 60 mph in under six seconds. The GLE 580’s twin-turbo V8 packs 483 horsepower, and it shaves another second off this sprint. Both of these engines are paired with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system and an electric motor – referred to as EQ Boost – that adds up to 21 horsepower for short periods and improves fuel efficiency. A nine-speed automatic transmission is standard with all models.

GLE Gas Mileage: Good for the Class

The GLE 350 gets an EPA-rated 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, which is better than average for a luxury midsize SUV. Opting for 4Matic all-wheel drive lowers this rating to 19/26 mpg. The GLE 450 is rated at 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.

The EPA has not yet released a fuel economy rating for the GLE 580 model.

GLE Ride and Handling: Superbly Balanced

For a vehicle this size, it's tricky to deliver a silky ride without nauseating body roll, or agile handling without a punishing ride. The redesigned GLE toes the line masterfully, earning high praise for both its standard suspension system and its upgraded options. The available E-Active Body Control is an advanced air suspension system with some unique tricks. When it's activated, the GLE leans into curves like a motorcycle rider does, providing a more natural experience for travelers. Tap into the system while traversing an off-road trail to adjust the ride height at each wheel or to rock the SUV free if it gets bogged down in sand.

The GLE 350 comes standard with rear-wheel drive. 4Matic all-wheel drive is available in the GLE 350, and it comes standard in the GLE 450 and GLE 580.

Read more about performance »

GLE Reliability

Is the Mercedes-Benz GLE Reliable?

The 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 has an above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Mercedes-Benz GLE Warranty

Mercedes covers its vehicles with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty.

Read more about reliability »

GLE Safety

GLE Crash Test Results

No crash test information is available from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as of this writing. 

GLE Safety Features

Standard safety features in the Mercedes GLE include a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, active brake assist, and driver attention monitoring. Its standard active parking assist uses parking sensors to automatically steer the SUV into parallel parking spaces. Also included is Mercedes' Pre-Safe system. If it senses an impending collision, Pre-Safe readies the cabin by tightening seat belts, closing windows, and emitting a harmless noise to protect hearing.

Available safety features include a head-up display, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, active steering assist, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian and bicyclist monitoring, lane change assist, and speed limit assist.

Read more about safety »

GLE Dimensions and Weight

The Mercedes GLE is 16.2 feet, 2 long. Its curb weight ranges from 4,696 to 4,991 pounds, depending on configuration.

Where Is the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE Built?

Mercedes builds the 2020 GLE in Alabama.

Which Mercedes-Benz GLE Model Is Right for Me?

Mercedes launches its fourth-generation GLE with three trim levels: GLE 350, GLE 450, and GLE 580. A performance-oriented Mercedes-AMG GLE 53 is primed to arrive for 2021, but there's no word yet if a plug-in hybrid variant will come later. 

Performance is the main differentiator between the current trim levels. The GLE 350 comes with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and rear-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is available. The GLE 450 ups the ante with a punchier six-cylinder engine and standard all-wheel drive. The GLE 580 adds a powerful V8 engine.

The GLE 350 should appeal to most shoppers. It has plenty of power and comes standard with all the same interior amenities you'll get in the GLE 450, which costs about $7,500 more.

Mercedes-Benz GLE 350

The GLE 350 comes with a 255-horsepower engine. Prices start at $53,700 for rear-wheel-drive models and $56,200 for those with all-wheel drive. Standard features across the GLE lineup include a 12.3-inch screen for the driver's display, a 12.3-inch touch screen for the infotainment display, a navigation system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, five USB ports, proximity key entry, push-button start, a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, active brake assist, driver attention monitoring, active park assist, and Mercedes' Pre-Safe system.

Mercedes-Benz GLE 450

The GLE 450 model starts at $61,150, and it adds a 362-horsepower engine. Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel-drive system is also standard.

Mercedes-Benz GLE 580

The GLE 580 sits at the top of the lineup, and its pricing starts at $76,800. This model has a 483-horsepower V8 engine, standard all-wheel drive, leather upholstery, and the Airmatic adaptive suspension.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great deals at your local Mercedes-Benz dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mercedes deals page.

See 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE specs and trims »

The Final Call

Mercedes takes cutting-edge technology, adds balanced performance and energetic engines, and wraps it all up in a sumptuous package to create the 2020 GLE. Aside from an infotainment system that requires an excessive amount of the driver's attention, there are few faults with this luxury midsize SUV

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "As mid-size luxury SUVs go, this is about as good as it gets. The GLE is roomy and comfortable, chic and upscale, and reasonably rewarding to drive. It's a techno-geek's dream, with options ranging from an active suspension that can bounce the GLE free if it gets stuck to a voice assistant." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "It's a real delight to drive, offering up equal parts futuristic connectivity, plush luxury and engaging driving dynamics. Sure, we don't have flying cars yet, but the 2020 GLE-Class is still a modern marvel of technology." -- CNET
  • "It provides a driving experience that truly feels luxurious. The GLE glides along, keeping its occupants stable and serene, cosseted in the most opulent and comfortable interior in the segment. So if lavish trimmings and a calm driving experience are your thing, the GLE-Class is king." -- Autoblog

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: December 5, 2019

Improving Sales: The GLE is is selling in the top quarter of the luxury midsize SUV class, hot on the tails of competitors like the BMW X5 and the Acura MDX. Dealerships have sold 4.5 percent more GLE models to date this year compared to the same period in 2018. The dominant Lexus RX is still outselling the GLE more than 2 to 1.

Research more buying advice »
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Acura MDX 2020 2020 Acura MDX

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