2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class


Mercedes knows the midsized luxury SUV segment is bursting with competition, and if attacked properly, high profits as well. To keep its M-Class moving out of dealerships, Mercedes has refreshed the SUV, making exterior changes that bring it in line with its boxy GL and upcoming GLK siblings while interior upgrades are subtle unless you go for the two-tone leather and the two huge eight-inch screens for watching DVDs in the backseat.

Powertrain options remain the same, although Mercedes notes that fuel economy is marginally improved with most engine options. The easiest way to tell if a refreshed M-Class is following you is to look for the "smiling" lower grille which is especially apparent -- for better or for worse -- on light-colored models. The refreshed grille is framed by fog lights pushed to the edges of the SUV, enhancing its presence. Larger side mirrors that follow the new C-Class design have been added and in back, smoked taillights (clear lenses are available) and reflectors integrated into the rear bumper again emphasize the M-Class' size. 19-inch wheels, standard on V-8 models, won't hurt that impression either.