Refreshing or Revolting: 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE

When Mercedes revealed the redesigned GLE this week, the big news was that it now has an optional third row. For a lot of midsize crossover shoppers, that’s a big deal. It can also be had with an incredibly advanced suspension that promises unparalleled ride quality, as well as impressive handling. But how does the GLE’s styling compare to the old version?

Up front, the new GLE’s design feels immediately familiar thanks to its creative application of Mercedes’ current design language. From the daytime running lights to the shape of the lower fascia, the new GLE is easily recognizable as a new Mercedes. The downside is, it won’t stand out nearly as much as some of its competitors. And while we can see some resemblance between the new GLE and the outgoing model, the 2016 version may actually look a little cleaner.

From the side, the new model’s soft curves and lack of hard creases continue. Perhaps as a nod to the first-gen GLE, the shape of both the C-pillar and the rear window don’t look like they’ve changed all that much. The rear, meanwhile, is much cleaner, featuring thinner taillights and a less complex tailgate design. The exhaust tips and rear bumper still look a lot like the 2016 version.

Inside, however, the similarities end. While the old GLE had a relatively large infotainment display, the center console was dominated by buttons and knobs. In contrast, the new GLE has two prominently featured screens and only a few physical controls. It still borrows heavily from the Mercedes parts bin, but designers managed to give the GLE its own look. Plus, they also added that all-important third row.

At the moment, we know the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE will go on sale in the U.S. sometime next year, but pricing and exact timing are still a mystery. Hopefully, Mercedes has more to say when the GLE is officially revealed at the Paris motor show in a few weeks.

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