Judged purely on towing ability, the Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupé is one of the best cars tested this year.

With a powerful diesel engine, tremendous stability, and four-wheel drive to deliver all-weather traction, it coped brilliantly with whatever challenge we put it to.

The emergency lane-change often uncovers some weakness, but not with the GLE. Seemingly endless reserves of grip kept the Merc on course, however violently we asked car and caravan to change direction.

It’s a very reassuring car to tow with at high speeds, too. It was absolutely secure at 70mph, and the data from the Al-Ko ATC system backed up the drivers’ positive verdict.

The hill-start test was also simplicity itself, as it should be with a big, powerful 4×4. With so much pulling power the 1-in-6 slope was easy for the Mercedes.

Impressive though it is as a tow car, the GLE loses some ground in What Car?‘s assessment of the Merc in solo driving.

The ride may be comfortable but the GLE doesn’t corner with the agility of a BMW X6, and the steering is uncommunicative.

Interior quality could also be better in places, especially considering the car’s high price tag. Boot space isn’t as generous as you’d find in a Land Rover Discovery, but there was enough room for all but one item from our load of holiday luggage.

The price is high and fuel economy and emissions aren’t class-leading.

Model pictured: AMG Line

Category Winners
2019 Up to 1400kg

Škoda Octavia

Hatch 1.5 TSI 150PS SE L DSG

2019 1400-1549kg

Seat Ateca

2.0 TSI 190PS FR DSG

2019 1550-1699kg

Volkswagen Arteon

2.0 TDI 150PS Elegance DSG

2019 1700-1899kg

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport

2019 1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 SDV6 HSE

2019 Best Budget 4x4

Dacia Duster

1.5 dCi Ambiance 4x4

2019 Best Plug-In Hybrid

Land Rover Range Rover Sport

P400e HSE Dynamic

2019 Best Ultralight Tow Car

Seat Arona

1.0 TSI 115 FR

2019 Fuel Economy Award

Ford Focus Estate

1.5 EcoBlue 120PS Titanium X

Previous Winners

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport


Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE*


Skoda Superb Hatch

2.0 TDI 150PS SE Business


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI BMT 150PS SE Business DSG


Nissan Qashqai

1.6 dCi (130PS) Stop/Start System Acenta Premium

Up to 1424kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI CR 150PS Elegance


Jaguar XF

2.2D Premium Luxury


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI 170 Bluemotion Sport


Land Rover Discovery 4

3.0 TDV6 XS


Volvo XC60

D5 SE Geartronic


Ford Mondeo Estate

2.0 TDCi Titanium auto


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI Sport 4Motion

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