2010 Mercedes-Benz GL350 Bluetec

The Automobile Magazine test fleet has been blessed with a variety of diesel vehicles lately. From the mighty Ram 2500 with a Cummins down to a mere Jetta TDI wagon, we've sampled the vast majority of vehicles currently on sale in the U.S. with diesel engines since January. Although the GL is at the top of the list in terms of price, it comes in mid-pack in terms of the overall experience.

The BMW X5 35d and the Audi Q7 TDI both offer more horsepower and torque than the GL with equal or better fuel economy and lower sticker prices. There is a bit more interior room in a GL than a Q7 or an X5, but the difference isn't enough to justify the hit in fuel economy for me. I suppose the Benz looks bigger and tougher than the Audi or BMW offerings, but those butch looks sacrifice some elegance.

Of course, any one of the diesel SUVs is a better bet than their gasoline-fueled counterparts. With fuel economy approaching V-6 mid-size-sedan territory and the benefit of an SUV's cargo capacity, these make a lot of sense.

Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor

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