The upside: Smooth ride. Precise steering. Powerful acceleration (with the GL550). Fairly capable off road for a vehicle w/o locking differential. Prestige. Comfortable seat(s).
The downside: Maintenance cost(s)... E.g. had to replace all for air shocks (front about $1300--each; rear about $900 (for both)), starter motor ($800). Brakes actually last a long time and replacing rotors surprisingly "cheap" at about $350/axle. Tires only last about 20-25K miles (295/40-21) and there's a limited selection--a new set will set you back about $2200. The electronics were capricious--sometimes car wouldn't completely shut down when door opened (i.e. normal shut down is engine off & accessories stay on until door opened. started acting up sometimes where accessories wouldn't power down when door opened & had to open/shut door a few times to get it to shut down). Homelink garage door opener had a button that wouldn't work. EZ-GO door handles had to be replaced. Driver's side mirror folding mechanism broke. When I smelled leaking oil burning on the exhaust manifold, I knew it was time to get rid of it.
Bottom line: Surprisingly comfortable and agile for a 7 passenger, 3 ton SUV and most comfortable car/truck I've ever driven. However, after repair issues cited above, I'd be reluctant to own a M-B again.....
Update (5/2016): Traded in @ 120K miles. Reading through original review brought back bad memories of astronomical repair bills. There are better choices in the large luxury SUV segment.
I now have 94K on the vehicle and it is still great. I have done most of the work on the car since I like doing that and German cars are very straight forward to work on. I have only had to do brakes and oil and tires so far. Having an intermittent issue with the air suspension now, but will figure it out and fix it. The system is pretty simple and Arnott makes a good replacement for it that has very good reviews. Went to the Continentals for tires...a little stiffer, but so much quieter than the Perelli's. I've taken it on long trips, and into the mountains skiing in heavy snow. It handles everything quite well. They don't makes chains for the 20" wheels, but didn't need them.
Will never own a Mercedes again.
Non-stop money-pit from the day I bought it to the day I sold it.
Beware the air suspension on Mercedes-Benz.
Mine went "out" every six months or so.
Paint peeled off around the windows just when it was out of warranty.
I estimate I spent $6,000 a year in repairs.
It is also a huge gas guzzler.
I've got a 2009 GL450 with 65K miles.
My wife drives it for light suburban driving only.
In general, we like the vehicle, but it has been in the shop at least every three months.
We are now out of warranty and have had a flood of issues in the past month.
Three weeks ago the driver-side door lock mechanism went out.
The audio (radio, phone, everything) went out last week and the system needed to be reset.
This week, both front struts went out and nearly killed her (car was out of control).
The bill for the struts and the doorlock is $5K, but the dealer offered to pick-up some of the tab.
I've owned a lot of new mercedes, but won't buy another one.
I have this vehicle for over 2 months and stumbled into a common mistake and filled up with gas. Costing around $800 to remove the gas when I did not started the car and realize while fueling. If you start it may cost you $6000-$8000. Very delicate fuel and exhaust system.
The GL is a perfectly sized SUV. It is large enough to carry 6 people comfortably yet not so big that it looks like a behemoth coming down the road. Its size makes it very maneuverable and easy to drive for such a large vehicle. The GL320 Bluetec uses approximately 30% less fuel and polutes 30% less than other large SUVs. 500 miles in the city and 600 miles on the freeway are the normal fillup intervals. On the freeway, it handles better than most sedans. The steering is not loose but at the same time isn't so tight that the vehicle swerves every time you adjust the HVAC. The rearview mirrors were made larger in 2009. Any larger and they would look out of proportion to the vehicle.
Always comes down to the little things. Outside mirrors are too small for this vehicle. Console armrest does not adjust up and down? Getting to third row not very "easy". Do this while its pouring down rain! Comand can be ( and should be ) much easier to use. Ok I admit my bias here. If Audi had more room in the back of the Q7 I would be driving that instead. Their vehicles are just more detailed and thought out. This is my first trip back to MB in 5 years. Not bad, just not as good as Mercedes should be. Love the diesel. Smooth, quiet, plenty of power for what I need and great fuel mileage. Got talked into the MB Tex interior. Should have gotten leather. Like the pwr up/down 3rd row seats.
Very disappointting!!! for those of you guys who are seeking the good ole fashion quality of the benz a word of advise SHY AWAY. The 4x4 of the year can not sustain a small bump from the side walk curve without busting its air- suspension module. Interestingly enough, when taking the vehicle to the local benz dealership the Service manager told me, " hey this car is just like a kia and a hyundai, what do you expect, its build the same" I was floored by the lack of cooperation and needless to say the poor craftsmanship. If I wanted a kia i would buy one, well, maybe i should have. It is a shame that a 70K+ 4X4 of the year is basically a kia with a mercedes star on it.
I have owned too many suvs and trucks to mention. This one is the very best. Fuel Economy is much better than advertised. Driving in Phx I get 23 in town and 28 on the highway. Great design and build quality. I pull a large tent trailer with a gross of 5,000lbs with no problem. I will be going "long" on this one. Also, it is fun to drive. Everything is well layed out. So far 7,800 miles without a single problem, nothing.
This is my first Benz, dreamed for long time, before I test drive, I went test drive the FX50, Q7, and BMW, didn't look at the LX570, didn't any deal at the time, GX470 was too old. But IMO, i like the GL is much better than these. SO far its good, no problems at all. I love new NAV, only problem so far I find, when i am on call through bluetooth, if i turn off the car and open the door it will drop the call, it didn't do it on my 2008 G35. that is only -ive. when u buy this SUV, make sure u get P2 and appreance pkg, its very good
It is a pleasure to drive this car with comfort seating and the excellent engine it has - very quite and smooth/gliding ride which we love. However, on technology and interior space usage, it is quite poor - My Sienna 2006 had better technology and interior space usage than this truck.
This is my 2nd GL450. Hated the old one because of its many problems, but what can one expect when you are buying one of the first new models on the road. After driving an Odyssey for 2 years we decided to go for it again and I couldn't be more pleased. They have definitely improved a lot of things since 07. The ride is awesome, love the 20" rims, better nav, better rear DVDs, keyless go. I really love the running boards to help the kids get in on their own. Gas mileage ok, but what do you expect from a powerful SUV. This is a keeper.
Finally a solid, high quality, 7 passenger AWD SUV with the looks, comfort, quality, and features that we have been looking for. Actually drives better than the gas version (more torque) and gets 21 average; 26 highway. Very smooth and quiet; no one can tell it's a diesel.
This my 15th Benz and I love it! Rides and feels like my S500! New navigation, new entertainment system, ventilated front seats just to name a few of the upgrades over the the 2008 and bigger outside mirrors make this SUV the one to beat!
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