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Luxurious Mercedes-Benz ML350 impresses, though there are better SUVs

Consumer Reports News: April 26, 2012 11:08 AM

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The redesigned Mercedes-Benz ML350 bested the BMW X5 in the June CR issue face-off, but as impressive as it is in several measures, overall, this luxury SUV doesn't outscore the class leaders--despite gaining considerably over the previous model.

Our ML350 stickered at $56,960, and it is powered by a 302-hp, 3.5-liter V6 with a smooth seven-speed transmission. The ML delivered a modest 18 mpg overall in our testing, but it can tow an impressive 7,200 lbs. The ML boasts responsive handling, with little body lean, but the steering is rather vague. The ride is composed and the cabin exceptionally quiet.

The interior also delivers a premium experience, with an attractive design, good fit, and upscale touches such as chrome accents, wood trim, and soft materials. Big front seats are roomy and comfortable, and the rear seats are, likewise, accommodating. What you won't find with the ML is a third-row seat, which is offered on the X5 and Acura MDX. For increased seating, Mercedes customers must step up to the larger--and $12,000 more expensive--GL.

Overall, the Mercedes makes a strong showing in its class, but some controls and a so-so showing at its cornering limits at our track keep it from challenging the top-ranked models. Check out our video below for more insights, and read the complete Mercedes-Benz ML350 road test for the full story.

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Jeff Bartlett

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