Mercedes-Benz GL Named Motor Trend SUV of the Year
Motor Trend Magazine has selected the 2007 Mercedes-Benz GL450 as its 2007 SUV of the Year. The GL is a Premium Luxury Sport Utility Vehicle that moves for the first time in 2007 to a unit body construction. GL is a clear step up in the Mercedes SUV lineup. It is assembled in Mercedes’ Alabama plant along with the smaller ML-Class and the struggling R-Class “Grand Sports Tourer” (what is that?). Well, there is no doubt what the GL is… an SUV.
Motor Trend editor-in-chief Angus MacKenzie says, “The GL may be a surprise winner for many people. The first full-size sport utility from Mercedes is not cheap, but it has astonishing technology. It offers a seven-speed automatic transmission and a V8 engine with 335 horsepower. Comfortable, third-row seating has become one of the most important measures for sport utilities, and the GL’s is the best.”
This year’s winner also shows the growth of the SUV segment with the Motor Trend staff testing no less than 22 new or revised sports utility vehicles, the largest number ever tested. Other SUVs included the new Acura RDX, Lincoln Navigator, revised Hyundai Santa Fe.
VehicleVoice Spin on the SUV of the Year Run-Off
The GL is certainly a fine SUV and may indeed be at the top of this list, but some others may be better in the eyes of AutoPacific and VehicleVoice staff members. Or, at least better in certain aspects. First, we’d quibble with Angus MacKenzie’s statement that GL has the best 3rd row seat. We’d give the nod for that to the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator (power-operated, folds flat into the floor). The Cadillac Escalade may win for top rated navigation system but would lose because of its lousy 3rd row seat.. Lincoln MKX may have been the winner if overall ambiance was a major factor. If funky head-turning styling is high on your list, then the Toyota FJ Cruiser would be the choice. But, the Motor Trend list certainly demonstrates that this has become a XSUV (Crossover Sport Utility Vehicle) world.
Motor Trend SUV of the Year Field
The rest of the 22 vehicles MOTOR TREND evaluated include – VehicleVoice comments are included:
* Acura MDX – high tech showcase, tougher-looking than before, dorky front end styling
* Acura RDX – turbo 4-cylinder? very nice dynamics, good styling
* Audi Q7 – selling well below potential, Audi does not seem to be pushing Q7 very hard
* Cadillac Escalade – with IRS and fold-into-the-floor 3rd row, Escalade may be perfect
* Chevrolet Suburban – great looking new style/interior, ditto 3rd row comment
* Chevrolet Tahoe – great new style and interior, negative 3rd row seat
* Chrysler Aspen – very conservative styling, value priced, nice interior
* Dodge Nitro – in-your-face styling, Jeep Liberty on steroids
* Ford Edge – Mustang of XSUVs, great package, nice drive
* Ford Expedition El – infuriating ergonomics problems in otherwise outstanding package
* GMC Yukon Denali XL, great new style and interior, negative 3rd row seat
* Honda CRV Ex-L – outstanding evolution of CRV-V, loses our vote because 4-cylinder only
* Hyundai Santa Fe – winner of 5 of 6 AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. Can it repeat?
* Jeep Wrangler – best Wrangler ever – Unlimited like a Transformer Toy
* Lincoln MKX – great ambiance, drive it and you’ll like it
* Lincoln Navigator – If you take ALL the chrome off, maybe it’s OK
* Mazda CX-7 – highly styled with 4-cylinder turbo engine. Selling below expectations
* Mitsubishi Outlander – substantial upgrade over predecessor – great package, standard V6
* Suzuki XL7 – XL7 best of the GM Theta platform vehicles (Equinox/Torrent)
* Toyota FJ Cruiser – personality to the max. Selling like hotcakes
* Toyota RAV4 – Fastest Toyota brand vehicle with V6 (until Camry was introduced)