Fleet Update: 2007 Mercedes-Benz GL450
A 1200-mile outing to Zion National Park has editor-in-chief Angus MacKenzie gushing: "We arrived home at the end of a 600-mile day feeling fresh, a testament to good seats and impressively low NHV levels. While our GL is a real-deal SUV rather than a wannabe crossover, it's actually a nice rig for the great American road trip.
It's quick, quiet, and comfortable, with a high seating position and big windows that give you a panoramic view of landscapes. And though you feel its mass at times, it drives more like, well, a Mercedes than a truck." No vehicle's perfect, though. "I'd prefer a 50-state-legal version of the 4.0-liter V-8 diesel Mercedes offers in Europe. That baby delivers nine-percent-less power but 52-percent-more torque."
OTHER MT VOICES:
ML -- does that stand for masculine looking? Regardless, I give kudos to M-B for this. In a sea of swooshy-looking euro SUVs aimed at the fairer sex, i.e. the X3, the ML's lines are robust and unabashedly macho. Unfortunately, I'm not sure any of that can be discerned from sitting in driver's seat. The interior is impeccably new wave with grab bars and leather where earthen tones abound--ostensibly, a plush and luxurious cabin. The adjustability of the steering wheel and seats, is excellent--one of the few vehicles in which my 6'3" frame can be truly comfortable. I understand that light interiors say upscale, but the light tan surfaces show a considerable "patina" from dirty appendages. The carpet, in particular, looks like a doormat from a trailer park. The center stack arrangement is easily visible but the logic of the interface is NOT intuitive, at least from this M-B neophyte. Trying to find a particular Sirius channel was torturous--very unbecoming. The sound system offers good strength, clarity, and depth.
The powertrain is deceptively fast. While I despise the Prius-like shifter stalk, I find the heavy SUV quite rewarding in most driving situations. The button shifters behind the wheel work well for in-city commuting. The ML really shines on the open road. The power seems to be both reluctant but accessible, depending on your driving style. That is the mark of intelligent engine-management software. The transmissions seamless shifting encourages the feeling of gliding over the road. The suspension, too, is a partner in this experience--leveling speed bumps and potholes alike. -THOMAS VOEHRINGER
|2007 Mercedes-Benz GL450|
|Avg econ/CO2||14.8 mpg/1.3 lb/mi|
|Maintenance cost||$234.91 (oil change, tire rotation, inspect brakes)|