By KBB.com Editors
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz M-Class SUV is a far cry from the original model. Whereas the first M-Class featured body-on-frame construction, today's 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. Although rival BMW also offers a diesel option for its X5, The M-Class' BlueTEC diesel engine option is fairly unique in this class and is capable of meeting all 50 state's stringent emissions standards.
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 2010 Mercedes-Benz M-Class.
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 pricier GL-Class SUV.
For 2010, all ML models receive standard burl walnut trim, a premium leather steering wheel and an advanced tire-pressure monitoring system.
Driving Impressions By having unibody construction instead of a ladder-frame platform the 2010 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 ML350 BlueTEC is equally satisfying.
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.
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.
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 2010 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 four-way power adjustable lumbar support for the driver and a new leather-wrapped 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 2010 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. The ML touts a wide grille and large headlamps, along with stainless steel skid plates and large 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. Like all vehicles in the class, however, the tall roof height requires some stretching to reach items affixed at the roof rack's center point.
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz ML350 features a 3.5-liter V6, seven-speed automatic transmission, automatic climate control, multimedia head unit with in-dash six-disc changer, auxiliary input jack and Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, cruise control, automatic headlamps, heated and auto-dimming exterior mirrors, multifunction leather-wrapped 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.
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 audio system. For the lucky few, the ML63 AMG offers the ultimate in ML performance and luxury.
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 ML350 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.
268 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2400-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/21 (2WD), 15/20 (AWD)
3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel
210 horsepower @ 3800 rpm
400 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1600-2400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25
382 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
391 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2800-4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/18
503 horsepower @ 6800 rpm
465 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 11/15
By Big Moo on Wednesday, January 14, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Diesel mileage is terrific. Price of diesel is not. Turbo engine is fantastic. Super traction in snow. Highly recommend this vehicle."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By CO skier on Saturday, November 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 120,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Powerful and quiet. Exudes confidence on the road."
Cons: "Expensive to maintain."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I've had this car for 8 years now. I absolutely love it. Aside from the stalk and NAV issues (which are correct, but you adapt) the car is well designed and exudes a solid and stable feel. I drive it up I 70 from Denver to go skiing 40 to 50 times a season and it eats up the inclines and mountain passes with it's twin turbo V6. The car is comfortable for four people and their day ski items. I have a Thule roof box for extended trips to Telluride, Aspen or Steamboat. The car is quiet and powerful. Never been stuck or had the engine not start even in -20F temps. The downside is that it is expensive to maintain, especially off warranty. I track expenses very carefully. I've spent $17,800 in 8 years on direct mx. That works out to $2,250 per year. That's for scheduled and unscheduled mx. The car also eats tires. I have gone through 4 sets in 120,000 miles at a cost of another $5,000 (19" wheels and 2 sets Pirelli Scorpion Ice & Snow and 2 sets Continental Contact. BTW I find these tires to be a perfect fit with this car). If you can afford the mx then you will not be disappointed with the power and solid feel of the ML 320CDI. Also note that the 2007 and 2008 were the only two years that MB did not use Blue-Tec (Urea) to reduce emmissions. The Blue tec has it's own tank and needs to be replaced every 10k miles, which will add to mx expense. I have never failed an emmissions test in CO with the 2007 and it does not exhibit any smoke, nor 'diesel' noise. The only way you know you are in a diesel is when you hit the 'gas' and are thrust forward under the twin turbo's 398 ft pnds of torque. I've averaged 30 MPG and get a little over 600 miles per tank. I'd buy one again, but I'd also buy an extended warranty with the purchase."
17 people out of 31 found this review helpful
By EdBenz on Thursday, October 09, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 115,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"The ML500 W164 has been a great vehicle, before I bought I compared with X5 V8/ Range Rover Sport and I'm very glad I went for it, its superior in reliability to the other 2 above that are known for problems after problems and very expensive maintanance. This one has all the space I need, enough HP (302) it's seemless how nice it shifts, it cruises on the road in comfort luxury and safety and the looks are better as well comparing ML500 with the other 2 with same year, all I do is an oil change every 10000 miles, tires rotation, and a few light bulbs. Superior quality and reliability."
16 people out of 29 found this review helpful
By Mercedes Lover on Thursday, October 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to Drive"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I'm the 2nd owner of this ML320 Diesel. I purchased it with 48,000 miles -and I will own it when it has 248,000 miles. Runs like a well oiled machine -25 mpg -like riding on a cloud! If you offered me a new one for no additional dollar difference -I wouldn't give you my 08 ML320. I LOVE IT!!!!!!"
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By bill on Tuesday, September 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "quiet ride, handles nicely"
Cons: "$$$$ Service, Poor Nav/Ent system, too many stalks"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"our first and last Mercedes benz car. Have come to dread even routine service appointments. Cheapest one has been $250 with the latest almost $2,500. Really do not like the automatic shift design. It is a stalk on the steering column you push down for D and UP for R. Very counter intuitive after decades of driving and always pulling down for any gear. Had no idea how to get car in neutral for car washes etc. After three years still confuse cruise control stalk for directional. Way to many stalks on steering column. Nav/Ent is a beast to use like the style and cosmetics of the car and it rides SUPER quiet, but not a good value at all based on service costs."
5 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By Barb on Tuesday, August 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 66,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've had my 2006 ML350 since it came off the showroom floor. It still sounds and looks brand new. It's comfortable and easy to drive."
12 people out of 27 found this review helpful