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We recently got the 2022 Mercedes GLE 53. At this point, all SUVs deserve consideration, given the state of the car market. Someone five years ago might never have considered something like a Mercedes SUV, but the lack of other options brings new blood to the luxury SUV market daily. That being said, If you aren’t used to these types of vehicles, you may find some aspects a little overwhelming. The 2022 Mercedes GLE 53 sports a beautiful cabin, a truly lovely place to be. However, the number of buttons threatens to ruin the whole thing.

2022 Mercedes GLE 53 parked on a bridge
2022 Mercedes GLE 53 W4 | Motorbiscuit: Peter Corn

Mercedes almost ruined the 2022 Mercedes GLE 53 

I picked up my loaner ‘22 Mercedes GLE from a Manhattan parking garage a few days ago. Once I took my obligatory photo for the gram, I hopped into the luxury SUV, excited to play fancy Manhattanite for the next week. 

The illusion was quickly shattered when I looked at what appeared to be the launch controls for a Falcon 9 rocket. It took me a full minute to figure out how to put the thing into gear. Mind you, I drive cars for a living, I know the hot spots to check, but the sheer amount of buttons, knobs, switches, and screens had me so distracted and overwhelmed that the tiny shifter (located behind the steering wheel, btw) just melted into the sea of switches. 

I finally got the Mercedes into gear and powered down the road, ready to enjoy my Mercedes and my city. Before I could even get to the end of the first block, I released that in my confusion, I had forgotten to adjust my mirrors. Another minute of fumbling ends with finally finding the proper switches. And down the road, we go once more.

How does the GLE 53 drive? 

The cockpit of the 2022 Mercedes GLE
The many buttons of the Mercedes GLE | Mercedes USA

I’m honestly not all that sure. Driving through Manhattan doesn’t help determine anything other than checking the horn and how hard it can hit a pothole. So, I pointed the Merc north and headed for the Hudson Valley. 

No matter how hard I tried to focus on the spectacular views and the surprising crackle from the Turbo six, anytime I wanted to change a song, adjust the suspension, adjust the map, or anything else, I had to pull over and try and figure out the maze of controls. At highway speeds, any quick motion felt like the GLE was on stilts. The ride was also surprisingly bouncy for such a luxurious ride.

Admittedly, I am a bit of a neanderthal. I like to drive cars far more than push all the buttons. For folks who enjoy that aspect of luxury vehicles, the endlessness of the controls might appeal to you. Even still, the GLE 53 felt like the buttons had gone just a touch too far. Something has not gone well in the design department if it takes longer than four seconds to find the “skip track” button. 

Is the 2022 Mercedes GLE 53 worth it? 

2022 Mercedes GLE 53 W4 parked in the snow
2022 Mercedes GLE 53 W4 | Motorbiscuit: Peter Corn

The driving experience wasn’t my favorite. The steering felt a touch disconnected. Curvy roads require a bit more steering action than I prefer for something with that much power. The 3.0-liter inline-six makes an exciting 429 hp and a nice noise. 

Aside from the driving aspects, the interior is truly lovely. My test unit was draped in Nappa leather, soft mood lighting, high-end speakers, and overall, just a lovely design aesthetic. The only interior issue is the buttons. Not to mention the infotainment screen has piles of settings hidden within its interface as well. 

The 2022 Mercedes GLE 53 is a fun SUV to spend the week with. However, day-to-day life would be a drag until you sat down and took a full course on how to work the damn thing. But once you know all the buttons and settings, maybe it is a much nicer Luxury SUV to drive.


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