Mercedes Benz GLE450

This 2020 car is never boring

By C.A. Haire

The new 2020 GLE450 is being shipped to Mercedes dealers, so we grabbed one for a one-week test drive. This is an impressive SUV, but a pricey one when it’s loaded with options.

The base cost starts at $61,000. But how about an air suspension package for $8,000 more, or leather trim at $3,000? In fact, we have a list of 29 options, totaling $35,000! When all is done, the sticker reads a tidy $96,320.

At this price, there are a lot of toys to play with. The multicontour front seats with massage features make long highway trips comfortable, as does the air suspension. Press the Dynamic button, and you can find off-road, eco, comfort, sport, sport+ and custom settings.

There is a switch to bring five different gauge cluster designs, so something for everyone. A very bright heads-up display projects useful information on to the windshield, so drivers don’t need to take their eyes off the road. There are two navigation screens: a large one on the dash and a smaller one between the instrument panel. A performance program shows how much horsepower and torque the engine is cranking at the moment. Overall, there is always something to play with, so driving is entertaining.

Under the hood is a healthy 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder turbocharged engine, cranking 362 horsepower. It’s hooked to a nine-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive. Fuel economy is listed at 19/24 mpg. With 80% freeway trips, and 20% city commuting, we observed 22.4 mpg using premium fuel.

We racked up 600 miles on this SUV before turning it in. It is certainly a pleasant driving experience, with a powerful engine, strong brakes, great handling, smooth ride, comfortable seats and the ability to be taken off pavement. The only gripe revolved around ergonomics, as most of the controls, buttons and switches are complicated and require a long learning curve. But be assured, this Mercedes is never boring.  

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