2012 Motor Trend SUV of the Year Honors Go to the new 2013 Mercedes Benz GL450 – But What Does It Really Mean?


It was just announced that the all new 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL450 SUV won Motor Trend’s prestigious ‘SUV of the Year’ Award. 11 SUVS, both foreign and domestic, were tested and judged side by side and the new GL came out on top. Judging was based on a number of criteria including: Design Advancement, Engineering Excellence, Performance of Intended Function, Efficiency, Safety and Value.

The competitors were: Acura RDX, Audi Allroad, Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Infiniti JX, Mazda CX-5, Mercedes-Benz GL450, Mercedes-Benz GLK350, Nissan Pathfinder and the Subaru XV Crosstrek.

While it’s nice for Mercedes-Benz to get some recognition for the pure genius of the new GL, it really is an amazing vehicle, and I write that as objectively as I can. I regularly drive Cadillac Escalades, Range Rovers, Yukon Denalis and other big SUVS, but nothing even compares to a GL…really. BUT, I must look at the other vehicles in the competition and think… how can you really compare a Mazda CX-5 to a $70,000 GL450? What’s a CX-5 Cost? $35,000? The GLK350 is in the same comparison test, as great a little SUV as it is… how is it going to beat its big brother the GL?
Mercedes GL450-Motor-Trend-SUV-of-The-Year

Sure, we can look at the criteria and talk about Design Advancement across all these competitors, Engineering Excellence, etc. But I’d be more proud to say that the GL came out on top if cars like the Range Rover and Escalade (and any number of other behemoth – in size and price – luxury SUVs) were included in the test, not all these mid sized cross overs that cost at least $20k – $30k less than the winner. I mean, is the Audi Allroad even an SUV? Where’s the Q7 in this competition?

So, while this is nice press and we can all slap each other on the back about winning the award, I caution everyone to take these sorts of ‘awards’ with a grain of salt, no matter who wins. There is no doubt the GL450 is a  great vehicle and I’d put it up against any SUV on the market. Nothing drives like it, it’s easy to live with and has made huge strides in fuel efficiency… I’m just saying, I don’t know why you’d comapre it to a Hyundai Santa Fe and be surprised at the outcome of the competition.

If money were no object… wouldn’t we all be driving GLs ?

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