Safety » 9
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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
"Good," front and side-impact protection
Four stars, rollover resistance
Long list of safety equipment
Kelley Blue Book
standard 'hill descent/ascent control'
backup camera image doesn't automatically come up on the screen
The Mercedes-Benz ML-Class lost its Top Safety Pick rating from the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) last year, but that's due more to a lack of roof-crush testing than any significant changes to the body or its running gear.
The 2011 model still meets the IIHS' standard for "good" front- and side-impact protection, but changes in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) ratings this year mean the M-Class doesn't have any federal crash-test data available, other than a numerically derived four-star rating for rollover resistance.
Despite all the confusion with these scores this year, we're giving the M-Class a high safety rating based on its past performance and its extensive list of safety equipment. All M-Class SUVs get standard dual front, side and curtain airbags; they also have anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control. PRE-SAFE, which anticipates accidents by tightening seatbelts and preparing the brakes, is also standard, as are tire-pressure monitors.
Bigger mirrors help with visibility this year; a rearview camera and parking sensors are options, as are blind-spot monitors.
Crash-test data from the feds is missing, but the 2011 Mercedes-Benz M-Class has good scores otherwise, and comes with lots of must-have safety features.