1.11.2010

Mercedes-Benz GLK350 Review





What a difference a decade makes.

About 10 years ago, Mercedes-Benz seriously cheapened their image with the introduction of what was then a small SUV..the ML320. It cost somewhere in the mid-30s, got them into a new market segment, but was a serious step down in terms of what people expected from Mercedes in materials and workmanship.

An even smaller SUV should be more reason for despair, right? No, not now.

You see, Mercedes as a whole followed the ML320 right down the garden path...resulting in a decade of less-than-special Benzes of all model designations...even some with astonishingly high price tags.

The good news is that M-B appears to be pulling out of the nosedive with some products that seem to put standards ahead of market share...and it is in this environment that they introduce the GLK350.

Size? Think somewhere between a Ford Escape and a Ford Explorer.

Price? Base is a reasonable $35,900. For that you get a 268 horsepower V6 engine with a 7-speed automatic transmission, translating to an EPA estimated 16 city/21 highway miles per gallon.

Best of all, it feels more solid than the ML ever has...and even loaded up with 10 grand worth of options (Premium Package, Lighting Package, Multimedia Package, Sport Appearance Package), it doesn't seem especially silly or excessive because, well, it's a Mercedes. It should be a cut above the other stuff.

For a long time, people paid a premium for Mercedes-Benz because of the quality and the engineering, not for the badge itself. If those days are back, we're all better off.

UPDATE:

The above applies to the all-wheel drive GLK. Choose the 2-wheel drive model, and the base price drops to $34,600...making it one of the least expensive Benzes you can buy. And given that the 1998 ML 320 was $33,900, it's amazing. Fuel economy stays the same in the city, but improves to 22 on the highway.


A recent drive in the 2-wheel drive model reinforces the earlier all-wheel drive review. And, this time, Mercedes only went for about 8 thousand in options (Premium Package, Multimedia Package and an iPod interface)...so the bottom line with $875 destination and delivery charges was $42.925.


Again, it's a Benz. And again, that's starting to mean the right things once more

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