“You cannot teach an old dog new tricks…”
It’s something we have been hearing since childhood. Mercedes Benz have tried to prove this statement wrong with the Mercedes Benz GLE but let’s see if the old dog did actually learn any new tricks…
The Mercedes GLE has been around with us for a long time now. Mercedes Benz keeps revising it time and time again with new engines and some nip and tuck here and there. In fact, they took it one step further this time and changed the nomenclature to GLE. If you are slightly confused, then the GLE is basically the old ML series. This was done in an attempt to standardize all SUV range of vehicles with the letters G. So there is the G, GLA, GLC, GLE, GLS, GLZ… wait the last one was just a joke. But you get the drift.
Welcome then to the Mercedes GLE. First glance shows that it is still the imposing, curvy SUV that it always has been. Now in its latest avatar, it has a huge chrome grille and bigger head lights. It makes sure that it maintains its butch looks, which are enough to scare the nearest Uber cab. Take a look at the side profile and here you will see that there are really no changes to this side of the vehicle. And the same can be said for the rear, which have been given slightly revised taillights but that’s about it. Good contender for asking a kid to play “Guess the Differences”.
Open the heavy doors and you will be greeted with a new steering wheel. This is the same traditional steering wheel that all the present generation of Mercedes Benz cars are using. The same can be said for the instrument cluster and some of the switchgear. The COMMAND system (rivaling the BMW’s iDrive and Audi’s MMI) has been given a facelift too with a screen popping out on the dash. And just when you’re done with all the appreciation of the new things, you have a glance at the center console.
Now, when you teach an old dog a new trick, he/she still is essentially the old dog that they were. And the GLE clearly shows its age in the way the center console looks. It is something that would be found in the Mercedes Benz’s of the yester years. The plain looking console is a huge let down. The plethora of buttons and switches make it very confusing to even perform a simple task of just changing the radio station. Too much of a let down this for a car that costs about the same as a 1 BHK house.
However, all is not sour with the Mercedes Benz GLE. Get into the back seat and you will immediately notice how comfortable the rear seats are. They provide with very good thigh support and back support. Your tushy will also notice that the seat cushioning is very soft and soothing to the backside. The all black interior (they do have other interior color options) tries to form a sad ambience but then the large windows redeem the environment and provide a very nice airy feeling in the cabin. These, coupled with the sunroof, add a lot of light to an otherwise drab looking interior.
The Mercedes Benz GLE 250d (as tested here) is powered by a 2.2 liter 204 BHP and 500 nm torque diesel engine, which is mated to a 9-speed gearbox. Those days are gone where 6 or 7 gears used to be the industry benchmark. Now it’s 9 and the GLE makes sure it is up to date in this regard. When you start up the car on a cold start, the engine noise is quite audible on the outside. People around you will know that you have started your car. Though loud on the outside, it is just as muted on the inside and passengers would not be disturbed at all with the clatter.
Slot the gear stalk (behind the steering) into D and the car will amble off with no fuss. In fact, it is a great engine and gearbox combo to potter around town. The engine has good low-end grunt to maintain the speeds and the gearbox is always in the right gear to make sure that there is no delay in any sort of sudden kick down acceleration. Speaking of kick down acceleration, the engine has just about adequate punch to make quick progress. This mammoth of an SUV will do the 0-100 dash in roughly 8.5 seconds, which means it will not win any race but it won’t be stone dead last.
The power delivery is very linear so even though you have the foot mashed on the throttle, and the needle on the tachometer and the speedometer is on the rise rapidly, you do not feel the acceleration as such. It’s like after couple a seconds, you glance down on the speedo and you’re way above the speed limit already. Now that is not a negative as such. This car is not meant to set fire to the time trials. It is just meant to waft its passengers in comfort in a mildly hurried manner. And this car ticks the box.
The ride is soft and very comfortable. Everyone will enjoy the ride in this vehicle, from the driver to the grandmother to the dog. Everyone will love it. Couple this to the comfortable seats, and you have a very formidable combination of possibly one of the better cars to be chauffeur driven in. The handling is not something that would embarrass a Ferrari. There is very noticeable body roll upon any sort of aggressive cornering. The steering itself is quite vague and devoid of any feel. Again, this hints at the other side of the spectrum, which is primarily to be chauffeur driven and not Lewis Hamilton.
This is exactly the market the Mercedes Benz GLE is targeting. It is for the person who goes to work, does some business, makes some money, and goes back home again. They will surely not notice power or handling or the dated center console. They just want to go from A to B in utmost comfort with something that can haul the whole family. This is where the GLE comes into its own and captures that need. It’s a Mercedes Benz so it carries the brand value. It fulfills most of the needs for the customer it was built to serve. And at 70.5 ex showroom, it cannot be ignored against its competition.
Yeah, you cannot teach an old dog any new tricks but maybe the old dog is what the family needed the most.
Here is the Video Review of the Mercedes Benz GLE250d!