Is the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 4Matic a Good Road Trip Car?

Mercedes-Benz filed the long-term GLE 450 4Matic in early April, as the global pandemic halted. There was nowhere to go, and as such at the end of May, the poor, underused Mercedes family transporter had only 1,984 miles. A disturbing mileage total if there ever was one, as well as a lot lower than I’d like to see on the odometer. Solution? Pick up a surprisingly inexpensive Airbnb just outside Colorado City, Arizona (Warren Jeffs country!), Just south of the Utah border. Next, throw the wife and 3-year-old in the Benz and hit the road for a 2,000 mile road trip, visiting the following breathtaking locations: Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Pink Coral Sand Dunes National Park and the north. Edge of the Grand Canyon. How did the GLE 450 handle a week of hot weather touring in some of the most beautiful places in the world? Keep reading!


If you were to visit your local Mercedes-Benz dealership and test a GLE against the slightly smaller GLC, you might wonder why you would need to spend more scrilla on the first one. Yes, the GLE is bigger, but both are two-row SUVs that can be had with similar levels or power and luxury. Well, imagine your 5-foot-tall wife being able to sit comfortably without the unnaturally tall and bored kid in the second row reaching, let alone kicking, the back of her seat. The $ 11,750 price difference between the two (base price versus base price) could be best explained in terms of the additional 4.8-inch wheelbase. While we (probably) brought too much stuff with us for a week’s stay (don’t you hit the road with a 160 gallon kiddie pool?), The GLE had more than enough room to accommodate. rear with both rear seats raised.


Speaking of our child, in some vehicles he has car sickness. Usually this is preceded by the words “That’s too many bumps” and then comes the vomit. Usually when I pull up on the side of the freeway / on our poor Audi. I’m happy to report that the optional $ 8,200 E-Active Body Control System, which is a mix of 48-volt air springs and hydraulic shock absorbers, is so smooth it only complained about a stomach ache the whole trip, and that was after a questionable quesadilla. I mostly left the suspension in comfort, but on the more twisty sections I slid it into Curve, the mode that uses the GLE’s built-in cameras to watch the road ahead and then level the vehicle accordingly when driving in a turn. I have used sports from time to time, but only in passing situations. Off Road mode too, but only to bounce the GLE up and down in Airbnb’s aisle. Because I can.

Excellent seats

Let’s skip a paragraph on the front seats, okay? Heated and cooled and – essential for serious road trips—massage. However, activating such a key feature could be easier. The more I use Mercedes’ new MBUX infotainment, the more I like its rich and deep features. Out of the way, MBUX always hides a layer or three more than I would like. One way to get around this complexity is gesture control, just like BMW offers on some models. Rather than digging in four steps to get a massage, I rigged it so that when you stab the screen with two fingers (like Moe pushing Curly into the eye), the massage feature kicks in. I believe out of the 50 or so times I tried this gesture on our trip, it worked twice. My wife’s level of success? Zero. She literally got it up and running in no time. It is very poor. Of course, you can use the built-in “Hey, Mercedes” speech recognition, but it’s slow, takes too many steps, never performs the way I want it to, and feels like I’m struggling with my bank. Through the large touchscreen we go.

Let’s do two paragraphs on the seats. Current better part of the seats of the GLE 450 is Seat Kinetics. What is that? It’s that great little feature that moves your seat very slightly every few minutes. A degree of tilt, pressure on the bolsters, a little sliding forward, then backward – you stop noticing that this happens even after a while, especially when combined with a massage. The effect, however, is that your body is physically moved every two kilometers, and the result is formidable. You just don’t feel as cramped, tight, sore, stiff, and beaten up as you normally do when stepping out of a commute of several hundred miles. I cannot recommend Seat Kinetics highly enough.

Low A / C

Mercedes must strengthen its air conditioning. I’m going to start by saying that I’ve been to meetings in 85 degree rooms where all the Americans in attendance get half-undressed and half-fucked while the Germans in the room, smartly dressed in suits, ties and vests, don’t even sweat. Every time I mention meine Deutschen Kollegen that their cars need more powerful air conditioning systems, they tell me that the Germans hate the cold air that blows in their faces while silently thinking that all Americans are fat and crazy. That’s out of the way, because the GLE 450 is equipped with MB’s 3.0-liter inline-six with that 48-volt system, all accessories are electric. Including the A / C compressor. Add a thermal-cooking all-glass panoramic roof at 8,000 feet in the American Southwest, and that’s a recipe for way too hot. I think opting for the GLE 580 just for belt-driven air conditioning might be the way to go for those of us in hot climates.

Verdict of the road trip

Overall, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 4Matic rocked our family road trip. To sum up the bad things, some of the frequently used functions are too buried, the air conditioning is too weak, and the function that automatically hits the brakes when you have smart cruise control on and you enter a new speed limit needs to be triggered In the sun. I’ve been told by various people that this “feature” is called Route Based Speed ​​Adaptation, but I’ve turned it off dozens of times – it’s something else, and I hate it. Also, I would like another 100 horses.

Good product? The 24 gallon gas tank and built-in hybrid system mean you don’t stop as often as other 5,438-pound SUVs at 85 mph. Most importantly, this Benz is quiet, comfortable enough, and fun enough to drive long distances all at once. So much so that I can’t wait for the next family road trip.

Learn more about our long-term 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE 450 4Matic:

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