What is it?
The Mercedes-Benz rollout of plug-in hybrid models continues apace. This, the GLE 350de, is a big SUV.
Although it’s a big SUV, it’s five-seat only (pure internal-combustion GLEs can have seven seats) on account of the fact that it has a 31.2kWh battery (with a usable capacity of 23.4kWh) beneath the boot floor. At the front, a 134bhp electric motor assists a 192bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine in providing four-wheel drive.
What’s it like?
Running on electric only, this relatively big battery gives more than a token range, at 61.5 miles officially. We saw around 60 on a cold grey day. It can charge at up to 22kW, which replenishes the battery in an hour.
It’s the sort of versatility that will make cars like the GLE an attractive idea – especially with a CO2 figure of 29g/km – for those who can charge overnight or at work in daily running and retain more oomph for family life. A towing limit of 2700kg is enough for a big horse trailer.
The drivetrain operates rather pleasingly and seamlessly. There are different drive modes, from fully electric through to battery preservation, in case you want to retain your charge for use later.