2013 Mercedes-Benz G Class Comfort & Quality

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Comfort & Quality

If the outside of the G Class reads like an industrial shipping container, the inside is a luxury suite expertly fitted inside that cargo hold. It's not the most flexible or most easily mounted SUV on the planet, but if you're already past its stratospheric sticker price and relentlessly rectilinear body, the climb-in height and side-swinging rear door aren't difficult to get past.

Inside, the G Class impresses with all the headroom you're likely to need, ever. It is somewhat narrow, though, and front-seat passengers will notice the width the most since the center console is fairly tall and bulky. The seats themselves are typically firm and power-adjustable, with multicontour adjustments, and heating and ventilation. The power-telescoping and power-tilting steering wheel extends quite far, and the result is a driving position less bus-like than some other heritage SUVs deliver.

The new cabin's brought the G up to more demanding standards, and the seats are firm and sporty.

The second-row bench has some tilt built into its bottom cushion, which softens the flatness of the seat, and it's also heated. The seatbacks fold along a 60/40 split, and can be flipped forward to open up more of the cargo area, though the space added isn't vast.

With the rear seat in its usual place, the cargo area measures just fewer than 80 cubic feet. Opening it for cargo loading exposes a design detail that marks the G Class as old-school ute. It's a side-loader--instead of swinging up and out of the way, the heavy rear door swings away to the left, under the weight of a spare tire and its heavy steel cover. The door opening isn't as large as the rear of the vehicle, which makes it less useful than some seven-seat crossovers we've pressed into temporary U-Haul duty.

The cabin has better small-item storage, at least, though the cup holder is definitely an ad-hoc affair--it's a mesh bag hanging on a plastic ring to the right of the center console. It seems sturdy, though, and as a rule, the G Class interior is marked by a high degree of fit and finish. Wood, leather, and metallic trim dress up the angular basics well, and at least some of the road noise is muted out--though the rumble of the AMG engine and some air rushing around the high A-pillars whistles into the cabin.

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