In the premium midsize crossover sport-utility segment, there are a couple of athletic entries that feel as if they could give a sport sedan a run for the money on a deserted, curvy road. The 2015 Mercedes-Benz M-Class is not among them. But for the greater majority of people shopping for a practicality-minded luxury crossover, that will be a non-issue. It's the M-Class' roomy, inviting cabin and feeling of impenetrable build quality that holds much greater sway.
The ML350 comes standard with 19-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, LED running lights and taillights, automatic wipers, a sunroof, roof rails, and a power liftgate. Inside, you'll find dual-zone automatic climate control, cruise control, wood interior trim, a manual tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, eight-way power front seats (with four-way power lumbar adjustment), heated front seats, reclining 60/40-split folding rear seats, MB-Tex premium vinyl upholstery (leather is optional), the COMAND electronics interface (with 7-inch color display), Mercedes' mbrace2 communications system (includes smartphone app integration), Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and an eight-speaker sound system with HD radio, a USB port and an auxiliary audio jack.
The ML350 features a 3.5-liter V6 engine rated at 302 hp and 273 pound-feet of torque. In Edmunds performance testing, an ML350 with AWD accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, which is average for this segment. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 19 mpg combined (17 city/22 highway) with AWD.
Standard safety features for all 2015 Mercedes-Benz M-Class models include antilock brakes, traction and stability control, PreSafe (which can identify an imminent crash and automatically take measures to secure occupants), hill-start assist and hill-descent control, active front head restraints, a driver inattention warning system, a collision warning system, front and rear side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. The mbrace2 communications system includes automatic collision notification, an SOS button, stolen vehicle location, geo-fencing, alarm notification and remote door lock/unlock. A rearview camera is standard on the ML 63 and optional on all other versions.
The M-Class additionally offers two levels of blind-spot and lane-departure protection. The first level comes via the Lane Tracking package, which monitors road conditions and alerts the driver by vibrating the wheel or emitting a beep. The second level is found in the Driver Assistance package, which adds "active" versions of these systems that can selectively apply the brakes if the driver fails to heed the car's warnings.
In government crash testing, the M-Class received a perfect five stars for overall, front and side crash protection. The M-Class also came up aces in crash tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, receiving the top mark of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal offset, small-overlap frontal offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. Its seat/head restraint designs also rate "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts, plus the M-Class garnered a "Superior" grade for front crash prevention when equipped with the optional Driver Assistance package.
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Exterior: The exterior of this Mercedes is in excellent shape with no major flaws.
Interior: The interior is in excellent condition.
Mechanical: This vehicle is "Insight Certified" with no known mechanical defects after completing a 144 point mechanical inspection with required maintenance performed.
Tires: The tires are in excellent health with plenty of tread life remaining.