Mercedes gives GLE350 big makeover for 2020

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE350


•handsome, stylish body

•exceptional interior design with lots of space

•plethora of safety and useful equipment 


•takes a lot of cash to own one

•could use a little more power

While some folks are trying to decide which 2019 vehicle is worth purchasing, most companies are rolling out a few 2020 vehicles to make the choice a bit harder. Mercedes-Benz is one of those companies. Why settle for a 2019 when there’s a 2020 GLE available?

Actually, there’s no reason for you not to purchase a 2020 GLE. It’s all new, which means its wider, longer and all around better than the vehicle it replaces. And yes, it is all those things. 

Technically there is no 2019 GLE350. That became the GLE400 with a turbo six-cylinder. The new GLE is 5.2 inches longer overall than the model it replaces. The wheelbase grows by 3.1 inches. With such growth you can now opt for a third row of seats. My test model only had two rows but the room was much appreciated in the rear. There is enough space for three to sit comfortably. There is also a good deal of room of storage which grows of course if you can lower the rear seats.

The front passengers have a great deal of room as well The front buckets are really comfortable  and are covered in a very pleasant leather. The two-tone color scheme was especially pleasing to the eye. Wood, leather and metal are found throughout the cabin and each is finely polished and or finished.

GLE350 door panel
Each material chosen has a high quality finish.

How advanced is the cabin? You can ask it questions. Yep, voice control is available. You can ask it to raise or lower the temperature, change radio stations, or what does six times 164 equal. It will do it all. I didn’t use the function much because I’m not a big voice assistant  fan. Say a phrase similar to “hey Mercedes” and it switches on. 

The dash is a futuristic thing. Two side by side 12.3-inch screens handle the instrument cluster and infotainment controls. Mercedes calls it the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX). The dash seems to be free floating, which is an optical illusion. I love the entire look.

The GLE 350 is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 255 horse power and 273 pounds-feet of torque. This power gets to the wheels via a 9-speed transmission. All wheels are driven by Mercedes’s 4MATIC system. If you want two-wheel drive you’ll have to wait until summer. 

A suspension with tricks

The suspension has tricks. E-Active Body control, which I think is standard, is combined with the AIRMATIC Suspension package. You can actual free yourself if you get stuck by having the car lower and raise itself quickly. Remember in the 90’s when kids drove low-riders that bounced? That’s what it looks like when the system is operating. Also, you can raise or lower each individual wheel height.

The vehicle does a few other tricks. If you are about to have an accident, pink noise is generated so that the sound of the crash is negated. There is also something called Evasive Steering Input which adds steering input to help avoid obstacles while at speed. 

The transmission and suspension have normal, comfort and sport settings. Sport is the firmest but doesn’t necessarily make the vehicle more sporty. That’s not to say the SUV doesn’t drive well. It corners nicely with a little body roll but it’s not like a sports car. It tracks straight and accelerates nicely. I’d say this leans more toward providing a balanced ride which, again, is fine. 

Customizable dash is one of the industry’s best.

Most passengers will appreciate the comfortable ride and also the isolated interior. This thing is as quiet as a Presbyterian church service. The absence of sound is almost startling. 

At $56,200, The GLE350  comes with a lot of stuff. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, power folding mirrors, dual zone climate control, power tilt/sliding sunroof, navigation, LED headlights and tail lights, active brake assist, active park assist and all-wheel drive.

The list of optional equipment is really long – $21,000 long. The two-tone leather seats cost $1,620 alone. The multi-contoured front seats will give several types of  massages at $1,100.

There are several packages of varying prices which include rapid heating front seats, AC and usb power outlets, MBUX augmented video for navigation, increased acoustic insulation, lane change assist, active blind spot assist, active lane keeping assist and traffic sign assist

Add the options and $995 for destination and the as-tested price came to $77,130. 

That’s a great deal of money but I haven’t enjoyed a vehicle this much in years. It feels as solid as a tank, Is really attractive and offers the kind of amenities you would expect at this price level. Yep, Mercedes has a winner on its hands.