2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Review
If you’ve got your heart set on a luxury large SUV and you have the cash to spend, reviewers say you can’t do much better than the 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL.
Test drivers rave about the 2012 GL-Class’ high-quality interior that lives up to the Mercedes-Benz badge, its fuel-efficient Bluetec diesel engine and surprisingly roomy passenger accommodations. It drives more like a car than its truck-based SUV competitors do, so shoppers who want an SUV the size of the Mercedes-Benz GL will have more fun flinging it down winding roads compared with rivals.
Reviewers are quick to note that consumers who are on the fence would likely be better off buying a luxury midsize SUV instead of this large SUV. First of all, though the Mercedes-Benz GL’s rivals’ truck-based frames may not help them when cruising along on the freeway, but they do have some off-road ability that the GL doesn’t. Plus, large SUVs like the GL get poor fuel economy, and don’t always hold more cargo or more people than smaller luxury crossovers like the Acura MDX.
So, if you’ve decided you need a large SUV in order to take your family to that backwoods cabin, the GL-Class isn’t your best choice, and if you’re looking for a cavernous family hauler with car-like driving dynamics, the GL-Class probably isn’t your best choice for that either. However, if you’re set on a large SUV that may cost a lot at the dealership and the pump, but can’t be matched in terms of size, ride and interior quality, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class may be your best choice.
Other SUVs to Consider
Shoppers who want to keep a luxurious, all-wheel drive off-road beast in their garage should also consider the Land Rover Range Rover Sport. It can only seat five people, compared with the Mercedes-Benz GL’s seven-seat capacity, but it’s got some of the burliest off-road capabilities in the class. Plus, the Land Rover comes with enough luxury-brand cachet that some buyers might feel the extra money is worth it.
If you’re on a budget and you prioritize interior comfort over off-road prowess, check out the Infiniti QX56. Its polarizing exterior makes a bigger statement than the Mercedes-Benz GL’s does, but reviewers love its long list of standard features and its cavernous interior. It doesn’t have the refined on-road manners the Mercedes-Benz does, but its lower starting price should cause shoppers to take a second look.
Details: Mercedes-Benz GL
The Mercedes-Benz GL comes in three trim levels: the GL350 BlueTEC, the GL450 and the GL550. For 2012, Mercedes-Benz has made minor updates to the interior and added directional guidelines to the rearview camera. All three trims now come standard with LED daytime running lights. See the full list of 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL specs.
- "As far as large SUVs go, this is one of our favorites. It seats seven, offers respectable towing capacity, and has the moves of a much smaller SUV.” -- Car and Driver
- "The Mercedes-Benz GL-Class doesn't have the sheer interior volume of some premium-large SUVs, but accommodations are more than adequate for the majority of buyers. Relatively trim exterior dimensions ease parking and maneuverability, too. Any GL offers impressive power and high levels of refinement.” -- Consumer Guide
- "Contrary to the mantra adopted by American consumers in the late 1990s, not everyone needs a loaded-to-the-hilt, all-wheel-drive, seven-seat SUV. But for those who do, and also desire a vehicle well suited to the traditional family-style road trip, there's almost no besting the GL.” -- Automobile Magazine
- "Overall, this is a great luxury SUV. It's roomy, comfortable and with the diesel, it's efficient.” -- AutoWeek
- "As prevalent as it might be in these days of downsizing and budget cuts to dismiss full-size SUVs as relics of the past, they exist for very good reasons, most of which are clearly demonstrated by the … Mercedes-Benz GL-Class.” -- Edmunds