The original Mercedes-Benz M Class was a forerunner in 1998; along with the softer Lexus RX, the ML set a new standard for a generation of luxury SUVs and crossovers.
Now the competition in this segment is tighter than ever, with most of these vehicle still offering some level of trail ability along with lavish luxury interiors and extensive tech features.
The Lexus RX 350 is the only one that doesn't take aim at off-roading in any form; it's essentially a tall luxury wagon, but supremely comfortable inside.
BMW's latest X5 lives up to that automaker's reputation for handling, and its interior is now significantly upgraded, but its ride quality is still a potential issue.
The Audi Q7 is a standout for design and interior comfort, and it does offer a third row.
The MDX is an aging design, and one of the less overtly styled vehicles here, but it offers surprisingly good handling and performance along with the great interior versatility that Honda offers in its Pilot.
And Jeep now has a vehicle that's right up with this lot; the new somewhat more off-road-ready Jeep Grand Cherokee rides and handles as well as the M Class (after all, it's based on the same underpinnings), with a standard luxury-feature list that almost as good, and it costs less.
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|2012 Mercedes-Benz M ClassBrowse Used Listings||2012 Acura MDXBrowse Used Listings||2012 Audi Q7Browse Used Listings||2012 BMW X5Browse Used Listings||2012 Jeep Grand CherokeeBrowse Used Listings|
|14 MPG City / 27 MPG Hwy||16 MPG City / 21 MPG Hwy||16 MPG City / 25 MPG Hwy||12 MPG City / 26 MPG Hwy||12 MPG City / 23 MPG Hwy|
|Gas V6||Gas V6||Supercharged Gas V6||Turbocharged Gas I6||Gas/Ethanol V6|
|Sport Utility Vehicle 4WD||Sport Utility Vehicle||4WD Sport Utility Vehicle||4WD Sport Utility Vehicle||2WD Sport Utility Vehicle|
|4MATIC 4-Door ML 350||AWD 4-Door||quattro 4-Door 3.0T Premium||AWD 4-Door 35i||RWD 4-Door Laredo|
|All Wheel Drive||All Wheel Drive||All Wheel Drive||All-Wheel Drive||Rear Wheel Drive|
|4 Door||4 Door||Sport Utility Vehicle||4 Door Sport Utility Vehicle||Sport Utility Vehicle|
|Automatic||Automatic||Automatic w/Manual Shift||Automatic||Automatic|
|Detailed Spec Comparison|
|2012 Mercedes-Benz M Class vs. 2012 Acura MDX||2012 Mercedes-Benz M Class vs. 2012 Audi Q7||2012 Mercedes-Benz M Class vs. 2012 BMW X5||2012 Mercedes-Benz M Class vs. 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee|