2009 Mercedes Benz ML550 4Matic

I can definitely see Phil's point about Mercedes-Benz's lineup getting crossover-heavy. But that's true of most carmakers these days, and the ML remains highly desirable. Some appearance touches on this particular vehicle (grille, body kit, wheels, running boards) leave it looking a lot like the hot-hot-hot ML63 AMG. Its higher ride height, however, makes it look a bit off to my eyes. The price for this one, $68K, is plenty steep, too, as Joe DeMatio noted. (But the ML63 AMG starts at about $91K, so I won't belabor the point too much.)

The extremely pleasant ML550 certainly isn't lacking for any luxury. Or power. This Benz is quick for a monstrous SUV. The seven-speed automatic's shifts are fast and crisp, although the transmission sometimes hangs a gear if you make a prompt kickdown maneuver but then back off the throttle. But I have to concur again with Joe: the ML320 Bluetec is the most enticing model of the bunch, especially given its premium of only $1500 over the ML350. Not that diesel fuel is cheap these days...

Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor

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