Replacement for my Mercedes-Benz GLE 250d

But I’m looking to move on. And I am unable to make up my mind.

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My GLE 250D is now about three years old and it has done 35,000 km approximately. The bulk of my daily driving is taken care of by an Innova Crysta ZX AT, so the GLE has been used quite sparingly.

I am now looking to replace the GLE with something nice. Whether I’ll sell it or keep it in the company for someone else’s use is something I haven’t decided yet. But I’m looking to move on. And I am unable to make up my mind.

Requirements

A) Ride Quality – Very important to me and I am looking for a vehicle that improves upon the GLE’s quite decent levels of comfort

B) Space – Though this vehicle will primarily be used as chauffeur-driven daily driver, it will occasionally need to double up as a family hauler for 5.

C) Price – Looking for something around the Rs. 1 Crore mark or less, give or take 10%.

Vehicles Considered

1. New GLS 400 – Being a longstanding Mercedes customer, this was my first vehicle of interest.

+Loved the quality of the interiors and the overall fit and finish. Great front seats.

+Loved the engine and refinement levels. Coming from the GLE 250D, I found the GLS 400’s engine to be quite brilliant.

+ Fantastic Audio system. Long list of features to keep the nerd in me happy.

– The rear seat somehow wasn’t to my liking. Though it has a decent amount of recline, the knees are pointing up. The ‘under thigh’ support angle was very strange. The Mercedes executive assured me that it is just a matter of getting used to this angle and that I’d be right at home in a few days. Somehow, I wasn’t convinced.

– I love the old GLS’s butch looks and raw charm. The new GLS has lost some of that macho appeal!

– On-road pricing would be about 1.25. This is stretching it a bit over what I had in mind.

2. BMW X7 – I thought I’d be doing the folks over at BMW a disservice if I didn’t check out their beloved competitor to the GLS. How wrong I was!! Apparently, the folks at KUN BMW Hyderabad are not too concerned about sales. When I went to enquire about the X7, I was very haughtily informed by their sales executive that “very very important people themselves are waiting for a period of six – seven months at least. So, don’t expect anything before the end of the year”.

After being made to understand in no uncertain terms that I wasn’t going to stand a chance in front of those “very important people”, I asked if I could at least check out a demo car. Once again, I was given a dressing down for being so blasphemous as to ask for a test drive. “Didn’t I just tell you that there’s a waiting period until the year-end? How can I offer a test drive?”.

So, I can’t judge the X7 on its merits. But after the experience at the showroom, I am not keen at all.

3. Toyota Vellfire – A couple of my friends swear by this house on wheels. And given my largely hassle-free experience over the years with Toyota, I decided to check this out.

+ Mind blowing middle row comfort. I haven’t experienced anything close to what this seat has offered in any car, ever!

+ Tons of space and usability. Even the third row is very comfortable and spacious

+ Super silent engine and excellent NVH levels of the cabin. The isolation from the road is very very good.

+- Ride quality was a mixed bag. I thought there was a firm edge to the suspension tuning, especially over minor road imperfections. But it handled big potholes and undulations very well.

– Looks are a hit or miss. The road presence is terrific for sure but my own family members had sharply contrasting opinions on whether the car was a looker.

– At approx Rs. 1 crore on-road, am I ‘downgrading’ from a Mercedes to a Toyota?

4. One or two-year-old Range Rover Sport – Always had an eye on the Range Rover Sport. But a nicely specced out version puts the price north of 1.5 crores on road. So I am on the lookout for a lightly used pre-worshipped Sport with a decent configuration.

+ Brand/Snob Value. Well it is a Range Rover for god’s sake, so expect some star dust to rub off on users

+ Great ride quality, especially on sensible tyre/rim sized vehicles.

– Average rear seat legroom

– Rage inducing reliability and repair bills.

So there you have it folks. Help me decide. And if you can think of some other interesting alternatives, do let me know. I’m not in a hurry and I can wait for a couple of months if interesting vehicles are on the horizon.

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