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2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

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2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Review

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The 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV is a far cry from the original model. Whereas the first M-Class featured body-on-frame construction, the newest ML employs a unit-body design. This creates a stiffer chassis, which helps eliminate rattles and vibration as well as quiets the interior. The design also allows for a more sophisticated suspension, yielding better handling and a more civilized ride. Although it can seat five, the ML is most comfortable with four passengers. It offers a modest cargo bay of 29.4 cubic feet, which is more space than an Infiniti FX35, but less than offered by the Acura MDX. The M-Class' BlueTEC diesel engine option is unique in this class, and Mercedes-Benz promises the engine will meet all 50 state's stringent emissions standards.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're seriously shopping in the upscale SUV category and are drawn to the Lexus RX 350 and/or the BMW X5, you may very well find your new home away from home behind the wheel of the 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If, like so many SUV buyers today, you'll settle for no fewer than three rows of seats, you'll have to look elsewhere. Mercedes-Benz does, however, offer a third-row seat in its slightly larger and pricer GL-Class SUV.

What's New for 2009

The M-Class receives some modest interior and exterior upgrades including a revised grille and headlamp treatment, four-way power-lumbar support for the driver and a new audio head unit. The PRE-SAFE preventative occupant protection system is made standard, as are newly designed 19- and 20-inch wheels.

Driving the M-Class
Driving Impressions

By having unibody construction instead of a ladder-frame platform the 2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class transcends any comparison with the first generation M-Class. The highway ride is as smooth as you'd expect...

... from any of the automaker's stately sedans, with the added benefit of being able to negotiate large rocks (or parking blocks) with exceptional composure. It's this silkiness that makes the SUV's confidence-inspiring cornering ability just that much more impressive. While in a price-is-no-object world we would prefer the V8-powered ML550, the torque-happy ML320 BlueTEC is equally satisfying.

Safety First
A long list of safety equipment includes traction and stability control, multiple airbags, active headrests and Mercedes-Benz's PRE-SAFE system that tightens seatbelts and closes windows when it senses an impending collision.

Air Suspension
An optional air suspension allows for an extra three inches of ground clearance, while an active damping system lets you choose between Auto, Comfort and Sport settings, to best suit the road ahead.

2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Details
2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class photo Interior

Some of the first interior details you may notice are the large, circular air vents dominating the dash and the padded rails at the bottom of the center console that are more of an off-road touch than we expected from the more street-friendly 2009 M-Class. What you'll be forced to notice before moving the car an inch, however, is the dainty transmission selector stalk on the steering column. It removes the shifter from the center console and its operation, though not conventional, is easy to get used to. The seats are as comfortable as you'd expect, with a new four-way power adjustable lumbar support for the driver and a new four-spoke steering wheel with gearshift paddles. The roomy M-Class cabin delivers plenty of room for five adults, but only average cargo space behind its second-row seat.

Exterior

The sleek 2009 Mercedes-Benz ML is a sharp looking ride and is particularly menacing when clad in AMG trappings. Body additions from AMG impart a sporty look, and the big 20-inch wheel and tire package is downright aggressive. A new front end treatment sees a wider grille and larger headlamps, along with stainless steel skid plates and larger side mirrors. Though larger in every way than the original ML, the current model retains a comfortable size that is as easy to manage in traffic as in confined parking situations.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2009 Mercedes-Benz ML350 features a 3.5-liter V6, seven-speed automatic transmission, permanent all-wheel drive, automatic climate control, multimedia head unit with in-dash six-disc changer and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, cruise control, automatic headlamps, heated and auto-dimming exterior mirrors, multifunction steering wheel, outside temperature display, 19-inch wheels, power glass sunroof and a four-way adjustable steering column. Standard safety equipment includes the PRE-SAFE system as well as an array of passive and active safety technologies, including front, front-side and front and second-row side-curtain airbags.

Optional Equipment

In addition to its 5.5-liter V8 engine, the ML550 includes wood trim, the AMG trim package and other features. Additional options for all ML models are, for the most part, grouped into packages, but include an active-damping air suspension, DVD navigation, keyless entry and start, power liftgate, active bi-xenon headlights, Parktronic park assist, heated steering wheel and rear seats, rear-seat entertainment system and a harman/kardon premium six-disc audio system. For the lucky few, the ML63 AMG offers the ultimate in ML performance and luxury.

Under the Hood

With an impressive V6 good for 268 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, opting for the lower-priced, higher-mileage ML350 won't leave you feeling short-changed in the power department. For those who want the towing capability of a V8 with the fuel mileage of a frugal four-cylinder, the ML320 BlueTEC diesel is an excellent choice. Die-hard speed freaks will no doubt drool over the ML63 AMG's 503 horsepower, but the price tag near $90,000 may render this hot-rod SUV little more than a pipe dream.

3.5-liter V6
268 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2400-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/20

3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel
210 horsepower @ 3800 rpm
398 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1600-2400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/24

5.5-liter V8
382 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
391 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2800-4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/18

6.3-liter V8
503 horsepower @ 6800 rpm
465 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 11/15

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2009 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 215 Ratings for the 2006 - 2011 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.3/10
    Quality
    8.8/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    8.9/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

THREE ROWS OF SEATS, TOWS MY RACE CAR, 27mpg HWY

By on Thursday, June 30, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 155,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "fun, fast, great diesel mileage, tows well, roomy"

Cons: "expensive parts if something goes wrong"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Luxurious, elegant, powerful, classy. Fits family of 5 and two small dogs. Hauls a trailer and race car. Drives like a dream! Covers 700mi on a single tank of gas… What's not to like? Expensive repairs and parts. STILL….I LOVE THIS CAR!"

Very nice

By on Friday, April 15, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Appearance, driveability, comfort"

Cons: "Audio/communication/navigation controls."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"Bought this as a certified pre-owned in 2015 and have owned it for a year. Very comfortable and easy to drive. Looks great. Gets pretty good gas mileage. There are just three things I really don't like: (1) Running boards make it awkward to get in and out. You have to reach your foot over them or step on them, but they are too narrow to step onto comfortably. (2) This model/year still has an awkward button-only audio/communication/navigation system. No touch screen. Quite complicated to set destinations, enter/save phone numbers etc. (3) The design of the manual is terrible. The information is all there, but it is very hard to figure out what applies to your model vehicle."

7 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Bought w 68K-now at 114K. Best car ever bought.

By on Saturday, March 19, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 114,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Safe, easy to handle great all around SUV."

Cons: "Maintenance cost over 125K ?????"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"In 2014 I purchased off lot w 68K. Loved the look, drive, and 40K later probably best car ever bought. Owned 2 previous ML320's-best SUV in winter & snow. ML 350 almost as good. Overall Hwy plus city driving=good, safe,"high value car." No matter what anyone says," you get what you pay for. Good luck shopping."

7 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Very reliable, great gas milage

By on Monday, September 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "gas milage, reliability, cargo room"

Cons: "no heated seats on ours"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This has been a great car for our family. Excellent gas milage on our diesel engine of up to 30mpg in town, 26 hwy. Lots of cargo capabilty (we bought and brought home a new stove) and it fit without a problem. Reliability has been fantastic! We've taken it in for the requisite "spa"days at the dealer (the required milage maintenance) but absolutely no problems, and it has 90k miles! The engine is so powerful, passing is never an issue."

18 people out of 32 found this review helpful

Geat Value and great choice

By on Thursday, June 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,300

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Sporty, comfortable (slightly used only $40K)"

Cons: "Delayed shift changes, plastic trim (MB-Tex)"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I traded this BlueTec for a 2001 ML350 and have not regretted this choice one bit. One reason is that mine is an off-lease car just under 30K miles and only 2 yrs old when I purchased it. There has only been one issue, a bum fuel pump which was replaced under warranty and yes, just recently one of the tire pressure monitors went bad, also replaced under warranty. So the only expense so far new tires. The tires which were on the car still had enough tread but I was hydroplaning like crazy on one long-distance trip. So for long-distance driving this car is just perfect. I have two complaints (minor) that is the annoying delay when, for instance, throwing the gears from R to D or D to R. The, somewhat fraction of a second delay is too long for this German driver. I actually prefer stick shift cars, but that was not available here in the US on this model. My other complaint (minor) is that plastic upholstering. Again, otherwise I love this car (truck) also because I saved approx. $20,000 by buying a used one from a dealer, and therefore still had all the warranty, for a warranty for another year. Hurrah."

20 people out of 34 found this review helpful

Love this SUV!

By on Thursday, March 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Especially great for long drives."

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This was a great buy for me. I have enjoyed this vehicle tremendously. It is so comfortable to drive and ride in. I definitely want to be a ML or GL driver the rest of my days!"

26 people out of 37 found this review helpful

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