2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK350 4Matic

For anyone who hasn't been in a GLK yet, it bears no relationship to the G-Wagen. This is a seriously overloaded luxury crossover with a fairly small footprint. Yet its tall roof and origami-like body creases give it real curb presence. Eyesight is about level with the license plate of a Ford Escape, the gas cap of a Jeep Liberty, and the top of the head of a Ford Taurus driver.

The light grey leather and brushed aluminum-trimmed interior is a slightly new design expression for M-B - a bit more Spartan and angular than we've been seeing in the cars.

The most expensive option at $3350 is the Multimedia Package and it seems like a real deal considering its long list of desirable features: COMAND system with hard-drive navigation, a Harman Kardon LOGIC7 surround system, eleven speakers with 600 watts of power, an in-dash six-disc DVD/CD changer, a 6-gig hard-drive that with download and store music from CDs or MP3files, voice control for audio, telephone, and nav, system, and rearview camera.

The center console screen controller is situated in front of the driver's right armrest, so you can let your fingers roll through radio stations and set up how you'd like the air to blow around the cabin while you're casually leaning on the armrest. It's very comfortable and a lot easier to use than it\'s been in the past.

Ride control is a bit "looser" that that of the ML AMG we recently tested. There's more side-to-side shake, and more leaning in tight turns. But then, we've been driving a lot of AMGs lately. Not to brag.

There is a lot more competition out there (as Joe D mentions) when you're shopping outside the glowing aura (and heady price point) of the AMG line. But that big star on the front has its own cachet these days.

Jean Jennings, President & Editor-in-Chief

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