For as long as the M-class has been around, I've struggled with the size and purpose, but remember, I own a Chevy Suburban that I use every inch of. But this is certainly luxurious, in the more simple, old-fashioned M-B sort of way. I especially like our test vehicle's cabin, with its tasteful dark brown over taupe color scheme, rich wood accents, and straightforward gauges. COMAND is much simpler to navigate through than it used to be, and the seats are great. There's the hedonistic one-touch tailgate open-and-close feature, and now...now there's BlueTec. When gas prices again spike, as they inevitably will, we might come screaming back to diesel. And this would be a very nice diesel vehicle to own. It roars out of the gate like a big V-8 but with better fuel economy (so good, in fact, that I drove it all weekend and it still had a quarter-tank when I brought it back). This high-tech diesel engine doesn't makes noises or stinky-poo smells, although you still have to fill it up at mostly stinky-poo pumps that get your shoes and hands all yucky.
I never could get a comfortable suspension setting from the optional $1600 Adaptive Damping system. In COMFORT mode, the annoying side-to-side shake on even fairly decent road surfaces made me nuts. In SPORT mode, the shake went away, but sharp road inputs felt like bad chiropractic adjustments. In either mode, handling was superb, I must say, encouraging me to really push it into curves and savor its comportment.
Jean Jennings, President & Editor-in-Chief