Service issues were minimal. The tire-pressure-monitoring system signaled two low tires at the same time, and so we assumed something was amiss. There was: The system was properly warning us that two tires had nails in them. The DVD player froze up just after we took delivery, so the dealer rebooted it, and the problem never recurred. The tires were shot at just over 22,000, so on went a new set. We installed rear brake pads at the 25K-mile service, and the dealer also replaced a whirring engine idler pulley (under warranty). Otherwise, it was steady as she goes.

Like Sinatra sang, "It was a very good year" for the Mercedes-Benz GL450. It was always on the move, demonstrated a ton of capability in many areas, and proved no hassle in terms of reliability. Even after the chance to discover its every foible-and there aren't many-we were pleased with the GL450's long-term test and that we chose it as a Sport/Utility of the Year winner.

From The Logbook

"Drove it to Vegas for a music festival (Tom Petty, My Morning Jacket, Jurassic 5, and Fiona Apple, to name a few). Filled the seats with seven adults and no one complained. Many remarked how smooth and quiet the GL was. Suspension set on Comfort, it just gobbled up I-15."
- Brian Vance

"Probably the best transmission in the entire SUV or pickup-truck kingdom. Battery location under the rear seat is a pain, though, for jumping or charging."
- Mark Williams

"SUOTY yes, but no, I don't like it. Laggy brakes, alternating between mush and harsh ride, incomprehensible second system controls. Give me a good minivan instead."
- Kim Reynolds

"Superb powertrain, do-it-all suspension, lots of creature features, and serious capability. Smooth and quiet; big, yet shrinks around you. So this is what owning a corporate jet is like."
- Matt Stone


Our Car
Base price $55, 600
Options Premium 1 Package ($4500: Parktronic, power tailgate, DVD nav, power tilt/telescoping steering, hands-free comm., etc.); Rear Seat Entertainment Package ($2650: DVD player, dual rear screens); Off Road Package ($2200: adaptive damping, locking differentials, f/r skidplates); Leather interior ($1650); three-zone Climate Control ($1320); misc ($4215)
MSRP, as tested $72,135
Total mileage 25,771
Avg fuel economy 15.6 mpg
Problem areas One-time DVD system failure
Maintenance cost $476
Normal-wear cost $1,303
3-year residual value $34,625
Recalls None