2010 Mercedes-Benz GL Class Photo
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Quick Take
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class' nimble ride and elegant cabin charm the mud right off a Range Rover. Read more »
9.0 out of 10
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  • Spacious cabin
  • Crisp styling, inside and out
  • Real off-road capability
  • Diesel's frugal


  • Pricey
  • Ride suffers with biggest tires
  • Gas versions aren't so frugal

It had been planned as the replacement for the military-ready Gelaendewagen, but when 2007 rolled around, Mercedes-Benz decided to keep that domesticated G-Class-and instead, pitched the newly developed GL-Class SUV as a more luxurious family vehicle with surprising off-road capabilities. Smart move: The GL-Class is among the best seven-seat SUVs on the market. Crisp styling, a spiffy seven-passenger cabin, and a diesel option give it a leg up on the competition, particularly in fuel economy, and midway through its life cycle, the GL-Class continues to be one of our favorite big guys. The GL-Class returns for 2010 with minor styling tweaks, so while we haven't driven it since our last run in a 2009 diesel edition, we've updated our existing review with the handful of changes noted-and with our admiration for the GL-Class' panache and performance intact. Pricing starts at $60,000 for the diesel edition and rises to $83,000 for the GL550; the GL-Class competes with the BMW X5, the Land Rover Range Rover, the Lexus LX 570, and the Cadillac Escalade.

In a niche filled with hard-edged off-road athletes, the GL-Class stands tall, with muscular but refined styling and a well-crafted interior. We like its fuss-free side view, the balanced two-box proportions, and even the big three-pointed star up front (it's almost the size of an old Honda Civic wheel). For 2010, Mercedes updates the look with new bumpers and grille, daytime running lights, and new fog lamps; newly styled wheels ranging from 19 to 21 inches are on the roster, too. The cabin's a fine workplace, and while the mechanically similar R-Class seems more pedestrian, the GL-Class strikes a better balance of lines, textures, and forms. There's plenty of wood trim all around, a bulging pair of vents atop the center stack, and a more rectilinear theme that distances it from the R-Class, in a good way. This year, all GLs get new gauges and a new steering wheel; diesel models also get standard walnut trim.

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