Congratulations to Mercedes-Benz for once again producing the Motortrend Best in Class SUV of the Year. The 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class full-size sports utility vehicle was named the nation’s best SUV for the second time since winning the award in 2007. This honorary victory, however, is even sweeter this time around with Motortrend testers saying, “It was no contest” and “Calling it best in class is the definition of an understatement. It’s the best the class has ever seen.”
The Mercedes-Benz GL contended with 11 other vehicles in a week-long examination of the following criteria: Performance of Intended Function, Design Advancement, Engineering Excellence, Efficiency, Safety, and Value. Testers said the GL blew away the competition in the first five categories and when compared to other models with similar features the GL was either comparable in price or less expensive. For those keeping track, that’s a perfect 6 out of 6.
Among the competition was a familiar face, the smaller crossover GLK-class, which also excelled in all 6 categories but lacked the space to truly take the SUV title. What the crossover lacked in cabin space, however, was made up in fuel economy, value and superior excellence in engineering. The Ford Escape and Nissan Pathfinder came in what Motortrend confidently called a distant second and third.
Motortrend recognized a few key features that pushed the newly-revamped, second edition of the GL-Class in to the winner’s circle. First, the elegant leather and wood trim earned the acclaim of the best interior one of the testers had ever seen in a vehicle. Second, new features such as the electronically controlled suspension, COMAND program and 360 degree parking assistance cameras wowed Motortrend. Finally, and most importantly, the drivability of the GL surpassed all the rest with what one tester called a smooth, silent and comforting ride on, or for those who like a little sport utility in their vehicle, off the road.
The GL-Class is available in three trim options: The GL350 with its diesel-powered Bluetec engine, which was the second most fuel-efficient car driven in the week; the sleek yet impressive base model GL450; and the 450 horsepower, 0-60 in 5.1 seconds GL550, marking the biggest, quickest vehicle in the history of Mercedes-Benz.
Motortrend editor-in-chief, Ed Loh says it best, “Imagine a gigantic Swiss Army knife, with 50-some tools (one of the tools is a Leatherman, which itself has 50 tools). Now imagine all the blades are gold-plated platinum, and the inlaid mother-of-pearl handle is wrapped in leather from a Himalayan bald eagle. That’s basically the GL.”