What are the most reliable SUVs produced by Mercedes Benz?

In this article, we will take a look at some of the most reliable sports utility vehicle models produced by Mercedes Benz and answer the following questions: does Mercedes Benz make good SUVs? 

What are the most reliable SUVs produced by Mercedes Benz?

The most reliable SUVs or sports utility vehicles produced by Mercedes Benz are:-

  • Mercedes Benz GL produced from (2006-2012)
  • Mercedes Benz GLE (2016 onwards)

Mercedes Benz GL (2006-2012)

Mercedes Benz GL model series X 164 is the first generation of a 7-seater full-size sports utility vehicle or SUV produced by Mercedes Benz AG. It was launched in 2006 around the same time Audi introduced the Q7 in the market. The GL and Q7 were direct competitors in the SUV segment. 

Where was the Mercedes Benz GL manufactured?

The Mercedes Benz GL was produced in Germany as well as a few overseas plants. After going through an intense research and development phase, Mercedes Benz began testing in 2004 and the finished product was unveiled at an auto show in North America.

Mercedes Benz hit a bullseye in the design of the GL, it looked rugged; the 18-inch alloy wheels used a 265/60 aspect ratio on tyres. The tyres were high profile and offered great performance both on-road and off-road. 

Mercedes Benz did extensive research on the off-road capabilities of GL, Mechanically there were stronger control arms and anti-roll bars; Airmatic suspension was standard in all the models. An electronic differential lock was present on the transfer case and it can be actuated from a rotary dial on the lower control panel.

What are the approach and departure angles of the Mercedes Benz GL?

The front and rear bumpers were specially designed to keep the approach and departure angle minimum. For the Mercedes Benz GL, the approach and departure angles are 33° / 27° respectively and the maximum tilt angle is 35°. Mercedes Benz did not use a ladder on the frame concept for the GL. The entire drivetrain assembly was mounted on the front and rear axle carrier. This allowed the GL to feel like a modern SUV with a minimum amount of body roll and better handling characteristics.

The interior is as luxurious as an S CLass with features like automatic wipers, all back and beige colour upholstery and a 4 zone air conditioning system, the second and third-row seats were fully electric. 

Third-row seats could also be folded in order to increase the luggage space from 1240 to 2300 Litres. Mercedes Benz sold almost 200,000 units of GL globally and although GL came with petrol and diesel engine options the GL 350d was the most popular and reliable model. 

There were no mechanical issues in the car and the OM 642 engine could do more than 100,000 km without any major repairs. Following are the specifications of the GL 350d blue efficiency.

SpecificationsMercedes Benz GL 350D Blue efficiency
Engine OM 642 V6 Turbocharged
Transmission 7 G Tronic automatic transmission 4Matic
Power 221 brake horsepower
Fuel consumption9.7 L/ 100 km combined 
Range 1030 km
Top speed210 km/hr
0-100 km per hour9.5 s

Mercedes Benz GLE (2016 onwards)

The Mercedes Benz GLE is a facelift version of the Ml class model series W166. Mercedes Benz decided to rename the ML class to GLE along with the update to its front bumper design and interior systems. The GLE has dynamic LED headlights as standard and the front bumper grille had only a single horizontal line and a Mercedes Benz logo in the middle. The addition of an intelligent lighting system and updated features like a 7-inch media display with navigation brought a modern feel to the ML class. The seating capacity of the GLE is less than its longer sibling GLS and there are no third-row seats in some markets. Therefore the boot capacity is good at 690 litres. 

The tyre size is 255/55 and the alloy rims are 18 inches, which is a slightly lower profile than the previous generation ML. Mercedes Benz continued to implement a body shell structure instead of the ladder-on frame design; the GLE had both mechanical and Airmatic suspension based on the model. The approach angle at the front is at 26 degrees and the rear is at 29 degrees which is good as the GLE is a shorter wheelbase version of GL/GLS.

What are the changes in GLE compared to ML?

The interior design of the GLE is modern and it feels like a passenger car instead of an SUV. Many customers felt that it lacked the ruggedness found in its predecessor. Two support handles are not on the central console and the lower control panel is replaced by a cup holder.

Mercedes Benz used electronic systems like (ETS) electronic traction systems and hill control assist instead of locking differential. The ETS applies brakes on the slipping wheel and sent power to the wheel with traction. A conventional transfer case split the power between the front and the rear axle at a fixed ratio of 40:60. 

Because of the use of high-speed communication protocols in the vehicle onboard communication systems, it was possible to use advanced driver assistance systems like Distronic plus, an active lane departure warning system and active attention assist.

Which is the most reliable model in Mercedes Benz GLE?

Mercedes Benz was available in petrol as well as diesel engine but the most reliable model was the GLE 250 d. It had an electrical power steering rack and rear-wheel drive; the inline 4-cylinder diesel engine was an instant hit among the buyers. The GLE was a full-sized SUV with an economical diesel engine and low cost of ownership. The OM 651 in the GLE was twin-turbocharged and there were no major issues reported by the customers. The following table consists of key specification data.

specificationsMercedes Benz GLE 250 D
Engine OM651 2.0-litre diesel  
Transmission 7 G Tronic automatic transmission
Power 201 brake horsepower
Fuel consumption5.8 L/ 100 km combined 
Range 1206 km
Top speed210 km/hr
0-100 km per hour9.0 seconds

Does Mercedes Benz make good SUVs?

Yes, Mercedes Benz is famous for its luxury passenger cars but there are some of the best SUV models in the Mercedes Benz product lineup. Not only are the SUV luxurious and easy to navigate around the city, but the off-road capabilities are also good due to the combination of electronic traction control systems and adaptive suspensions.

There are high-performance models that come with the AMG badging and Mercedes Benz makes compact SUVs or SUVs in each of its Classes. The SUV models are identified by the GL prefix like GLA, GLB, GLC etc. different drivetrain options like diesel engines, petrol engines with mild-hybrid tech and recently launched full-electric drivetrain.

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Mercedes Benz GL class was the first full-size SUV from Mercedes Benz and since then Mercedes Benz has continued to bring innovations and high safety standards to the premium SUV segment. Today almost half of the products on sale from Mercedes Benz are sports utility vehicles.