Written by

Phuti Mpyane

Mercedes GLE Coupé & Honda HRV Reviews

In the past 20 years or so Mercedes-Benz was has been at the front-runner in creating new segments; cars in shapes that the modern world never had before such as the coupé-sedan (CLS and CLA). However BMW also had its stint of creating weird and wonderful things along the way (5GT being a fine example). When it came to the formation of a Coupé-SUV sadly we can’t give BMW the full credit for the X6 SAV. They rather created the first uber luxury variant. The kudos for the shape in modern times goes to little known Ssangyong who created such a thing some ten years ago and called it a Actyon SUT (Sport Utility Truck).

After ignoring this shape for a considerable while, some brands have just entered the fray, chief being Mercedes-Benz with its GLE Coupé and Honda with its HRV. Many others are set to follow as the demands of City pounding Coupé-UVs continue to rise. Back then, to our pair of Coupé-UVs. The Mercedes GLE Coupé is based on the same platform as the current ML, which from now on will be known as the GLE. It’s a sportier iteration of the species; its domed shape offering lower aerodynamic drag and its technical setup adjusted to the keener driving flavor envisaged.

It’s similar aims on the opposite side, the HRV, which borrows its nameplate from a model of the past. It also aspires to more excitable driving sensations than the family bound CRV. It’s also interesting to note that both manufacturers have made efforts to expand family friendly practicality as both do not suffer from confined rear passenger space and also yield sizable loading space, which can be increased by lowering the rear benches too.



Understandably the GLE cabin is leagues ahead in space as it’s a far larger car. The texture of the materials too, the levels of digitization, the features, are all natural to a range of cars that easily jumps over the R1 Million asking price. It’s general Merc fare in there but the GLE benefits from enhanced and reworked interior furnishings, which include the smoother corporate layout found in all MY15 Mercedes cars.


The Honda isn’t shabby at all. It’s a lower price class but this Japanese brand has never compromised on quality, good ergonomics and a fair level of luxury and convenience items. You almost get a hunch that since the split sometime before the new millennium, Honda has maintained the tricks it learnt from Mercedes-Benz, and that is a bonus.


Driving Experience

On the move the HRV is silky smooth and largely shielded from much of the noise and harshness just outside its wing mirrors. It is powered by a choice of two reasonable engines; a 1.5 litre petrol four cylinder with 88kW and 145Nm (R299 900) or a higher power 1.8 petrol (R354 900) fit for 105kW and 172Nm. Both motors subscribe to fair response and performance on the roads while also curbing high fuel costs. Mercedes-Benz also concerns itself with economy if you opt for the GLE Coupé in 350 d 4-Matic. In diesel form, and for R999 900, you lose none of the suave appearance and surprisingly good off-road capability and it wields 190kW and 620Nm from its engine. You do use a lot let less fuel than in the other models.


If ever there were engines that match the exciting shape and sporting design ethos of this GLE it’s the two petrol engines. The GLE 450 AMG is an entirely new engine denomination in the line-up but it uses a mill we’ve seen before in E400 to be exact. It’s a twin turbo V6 3.0l that develops 270kW and 520Nm. This engine is the backbone of an all new light AMG Sport line which deputizes the full blown, quad pipe AMG range. It’s sprightly on its four wheels and sounds the business for lesser money at R1 099 900.

Truer enthusiasts of large and in charge Mercs and who can spend R1 859 900 will focus their attentions on the Mercedes-AMG GLE 63. We thought with the arrival of a newer and smaller, environmentalist pleasing, 4.0-litre V8, the thunder spitting M159 twin-turbo 5.5-litre V8 was dead but no baby, it is back!

Drive is typical Mercedes-AMG with a slant towards comfort and a good sprinkling of rage. And it too presents itself well on rugged roads with its wafer thin, performance orientated rubber. All ranges are equipped with a new 9-speed automatic transmission.


To conclude, the rise of the coupé SUV is certain as they bring an added edge in aesthetic appeal next to the staid, large three-size box that we’ve been indoctrinated with for decades. It’s such a style icon; an apt partner to finer threads, and a more colourful outlook on your motoring lifestyle.

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