ML NO MORE

FROM NOW ON IT’S KNOWN AS THE BENZ GLE

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - CARS GUIDE - Peter Barn­well Call Mar­shalls Mo­tors, Church and Mee­han Sts, Par­ra­matta on 9897 1777.

WHAT was once the Mercedes-Benz ML SUV is now called the GLE and fea­tures re­vised fron­tend styling, a se­ri­ously up­graded in­te­rior with more kit, new steer­ing wheel and ex­ten­sive driver as­sist tech­nol­ogy as stan­dard.

Diesel ver­sions also score a new nine-speed auto trans­mis­sion as stan­dard while other tweaks and up­dates are ob­vi­ous else­where.

Our drive car was the base model $86,900 GLE250d run­ning a 2.1-litre turbo diesel four cylin­der that’s been avail­able across the Benz range for nearly a decade.

It’s an ex­cel­lent en­gine pro­duc­ing 150kW/500Nm along with as­ton­ish­ing 6.0-litres/100km fuel econ­omy – in a 2175kg SUV no less.

DRIVER AS­SIST

THE base car gets a swag of high­end driver as­sist tech­nol­ogy in­clud­ing col­li­sion preven­tion as­sist, radar cruise con­trol with brak­ing, steer­ing as­sist, stop and go pi­lot for driv­ing in heavy traf­fic, pre-safe brakes and pre-safe crash prepa­ra­tion, cross­wind as­sist, ac­tive blind spot as­sist, lane keep­ing and adap­tive high beam.

This level of safety equip­ment is highly de­sir­able in any car.

Other makes will no doubt fol­low some time in the fu­ture (hope­fully).

KIT

STAN­DARD lux­ury kit is gen­er­ous too and in­cludes de­cent sat­nav and a pre­mium au­dio sys­tem, leather, key­less go and cli­mate con­trol air.

Our drive car had the easy en­try tail­gate and there’s a large touch­pad con­troller in­side on the eight­inch screen.

It’s a five seater with plenty of room for all pas­sen­gers and lug­gage space down the back is OK.

Benz of­fers an elec­tri­cally op­er­ated re­tractable tow­ing sys­tem that seems like a good idea on a ve­hi­cle like this.

DRIV­ING

THE en­gine per­forms strongly across the en­tire op­er­at­ing range, ca­pa­bly ac­cessed by the new nine speed auto.

It flicks be­tween ra­tios quickly and is never caught out in the wrong cog.

Drive is to all four wheels with a 50:50 torque split front to rear.

The GLE can go mildly off road and has a drive se­lect sys­tem to fa­cil­i­tate that.

An op­tional off-road en­gi­neer­ing pack­age is avail­able if you must take your glam­orous GLE fur­ther into the scrub.

We took the GLE for an al­most 2000km road trip over Christ­mas on only two tanks of fuel.

It’s an ex­cel­lent ve­hi­cle to drive as you can dial up the way it feels, span­ning from soft and com­fort­able to sharp and sporty.

We left it in com­fort­able most of the time as the roads we were trav­el­ling were pretty pot­holed.

We achieved the stated fuel econ­omy of 6 litres/100km a num­ber of times in mixed driv­ing.

This is one par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive fea­ture of the GLE250d.

The seats are large and com­fort­able and all con­trols are log­i­cal and easy to get your head around.

We found some of the driver as­sist fea­tures a tad over ex­u­ber­ant and would pre­fer them toned down.

But when you boil it all down, th­ese cars are made to cover off all types of driv­ers – good and bad.

VER­DICT

THE GLE250d makes an ex­cel­lent fam­ily wagon with a high level of com­fort and safety along with strong per­for­mance and amaz­ing fuel econ­omy.

Looks pretty good too.

GLE ... diesel dates back a decade.

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