DETROIT, (AP) -Motor Trend magazine has named the Mercedes-Benz GL450 as its sport utility vehicle of the year for 2007.
The SUV, equipped with a seven-speed transmission and a 335-horespower V-8 engine, was picked from a field of 22 vehicles, the largest crop of SUVs ever evaluated by the magazine.
“The first full-size sport utility from Mercedes is not cheap, but it has astonishing technology,” Motor Trend Editor-in-Chief Angus MacKenzie said in a statement.
The Mercedes has the most comfortable third-row seating of any SUV tested, the magazine said. It also will come with a diesel engine that runs on new low-sulfur fuel.
“In every facet, from performance to the interior, this vehicle is a winner,” MacKenzie said.
The SUV competition this year reflected the market shift away from truck-based SUVs toward car-based vehicles, MacKenzie said.
This year, only the GL, the Jeep Wrangler and the Toyota FJ Cruiser had real off-road capability, he said. Many of this year’s SUVs are offered in two-wheel-drive versions that will be popular in states where weather and roads aren’t a problem, he said.
“It’s the 21st-century station wagon, neither truck- nor car-based, and truly belongs in its own category,” MacKenzie said of the SUV. “That is why this year’s contest looked more closely at on-road drivability than rock-crawling.”
The editorial staff at the magazine evaluated the vehicles in three areas: significance in engineering, technology and features; superiority in performance and quality; and value. Staffers drove the vehicles on streets and the test track, as well as off the road.
Eligible vehicles had to be new or substantially upgraded and go on sale in the 12 months after Nov. 1, 2006.
The GL450 has a suggested retail price of $55,675.