LOS ANGELES, CA (October 24, 2007) -- Motor Trend, the world's automotive authority and part of PRIMEDIA's (NYSE:PRM) Consumer Automotive Group, today announced that the Mercedes-Benz GL450 is Motor Trend's 2007 Sport/Utility of the Year.
The GL was selected from a field of 22 vehicles--the largest crop of sport/utilities Motor Trend had ever evaluated. Angus MacKenzie, editor in chief of Motor Trend, noted that this year's field was especially strong.
"The GL may be a surprise winner for many people," said MacKenzie. "The first full-size sport/utility from Mercedes is not cheap, but it has astonishing technology. It offers a seven-speed automatic transmission and a V-8 engine with 335 horsepower, and it will be available in a version that runs on the new low-sulfur diesel fuel for greater gas mileage. Comfortable, third-row seating has become one of the most important measures for sport/utilities, and the GL's is the best."
MacKenzie added, "The GL extends the reach of Mercedes-Benz in the sport/utility segment, and is certainly the best sport/utility they've made. In every facet, from performance to the interior, the vehicle is a winner."
To judge the prestigious award, Motor Trend's editorial staff conducted exhaustive off-road, street and track testing, and carefully considered essentials such as driving performance, engineering, design, safety and features. Eligible vehicles had to be all-new or substantially upgraded and on sale in the 12 months since November 1st each year.
The rest of the 22 vehicles Motor Trend evaluated include:
Acura MDX, Acura RDX, Audi Q7, Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Tahoe, Chrysler Aspen, Dodge Nitro, Ford Edge, Ford Expedition El, GMC Yukon Denali XL, Honda CRV Ex-L, Hyundai Santa Fe, Jeep Wrangler, Lincoln MKX, Lincoln Navigator, Mazda CX-, Mitsubishi Outlander, Suzuki X17, Toyota FJ Cruiser, and the Toyota RAV4.
The Evolving Sport/Utility
MacKenzie noted that this year's Sport/Utility of the Year testing recognized the rapid and dramatic change in the sport/utility segment. Many industry observers have pointed to the rise of a new class of vehicle--the crossover--that more clearly delineates the SUV's evolution from an off-road, truck-based platform to one that offers a more car-like experience with better feel and driveability.
"If you look at the sport/utility segment on that basis," said MacKenzie. "All of the vehicles that we drove this year are crossovers. It used to be that the sport/utility was an off-road vehicle, plain and simple. This year, only three vehicles--the Mercedes-Benz GL, the Jeep Wrangler and the Toyota FJ Cruiser--had real off-road capability. Many of this year's new sport/utility models will be offered in two-wheel drive versions that will certainly be popular in states where weather and roads aren't a problem.