2008 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class


$8,457 - $10,397

2008 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2008 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class was new.


Interior: 8.3

The seven-seat interior of the 2008 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is luxurious enough to earn a good score.  However, the lack of standard leather seats and other features in a car of this class causes the interior to rank at the middle of the class.

A luxury car should be comfortable, and reviewers agree the 2008 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class fits the bill. Edmunds calls the interior "well-appointed and a comfortable place to be." Many reviewers note that the interior is exceptionally quiet for an SUV. The Boston Globe says that the "incredibly quiet interior lets you forget you are in an SUV" and Consumer Guide says it is "among the quietest premium SUVs." As for materials, they are generally considered to be top-notch; the New York Times says "handsome bird's-eye maple trim, leather with neat stitching and a two-tone instrument panel highlight the rich interior."

On the other hand, a few reviewers weren't happy some luxury features weren't included. The Detroit News' reviewer says "I took for granted that the luxury SUV would offer such sophisticated features as massaging seats and ‘waterfall' cabin lighting that wraps the passengers in a warm glow at night. But you can't get them on the GL450." Another reviewer was irked at the lack of standard leather seats.

A few reviewers noted that the shift-lever is in a different place than many other SUVs, getting it off the floor and back on the steering wheel, where it is often found in trucks and vans. Opinions were somewhat mixed though, with the Detroit News in favor, saying "the GL450 skips the bulky shift lever that you see on most SUVs, in favor of a small, electronic stalk on the steering column that helps to clean up the center console." Kelley Blue Book wasn't as happy with it, stating "we remain unsure regarding the shift lever returning to the steering column; it does provide for a clean, uninterrupted console, but is less-than-intuitive in its operation."


Every reviewer found the seats and passenger comfort to be up to Mercedes standards, with generous legroom in all three rows of seats. Edmunds remarks, "The GL550's practicality also encompasses three rows of seats (actual adult humans can fit in every row)."

The New York Times loved the front-seats. "Mercedes offers some of the industry's most comfortable and supportive seats, and the GL's optional multicontour chairs are no exception. The range of lumbar support seems almost limitless." AutoWeek notes that the front row has "good sightlines and superbly comfortable drivers' seats"

While Edmunds notes that the "second row could benefit from being able to move fore and aft, as it can get tight with taller occupants seated up front," most reviews praise the third-row seat, which is raised and lowered with a motorized system. The third-row seat can be folded completely flat, a real benefit when hauling cargo. Reviewers note that this motorized system is a rare feature, one not found in the Cadillac Escalade, or many other luxury SUVs. Motor Trend agrees with many other reviewers when it finds the third-row to be highly usable and comfortable, saying it "offers a commodious 34.0 inches of legroom, nearly nine more than in the [Cadillac Escalade]." The New York Times agrees, saying "while most big sport-utes break their promise to provide comfortable seating for six or seven adults, the Mercedes delivers with a third-row seat that is more spacious and more easily reached than those in any of its rivals." Two buttons, one near the second-row, and one in the cargo area, allow either passengers or those loading cargo to hide the seat away or unpack it. However, those who need more room to get into the third seat will need to use standard levers to lower the second row seats.

Interior Features

Edmunds says that the GL's interior "promotes a luxury experience, yet the interior materials are tough enough to stand up to the dirt and debris a sport-utility should be expected to encounter in America." They also report, "The center console even incorporates two huge wells for 32-ounce, Big Gulp-style refreshment (or even one 44-ounce container), long-overdue acknowledgement by the Germans that cups actually exist."

Standard features include dual-zone climate control, four power outlets, and a front center console with a padded armrest. If only two people are present in the second row, the center section can become an armrest and storage compartment as well.

The 2008 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class also uses Mercedes' "COMAND" system for one-screen control of the climate controls, stereo, and optional navigational system. MarketWatch says it's "one of Mercedes' less-than-brilliant ideas," and notes that its manual is 237 pages in length. Cars.com adds that the interior is "blighted by Mercedes' difficult-to-use Comand electronic system."

Autobytel says the optional navigation system "offers a useful bread crumb trail feature and GPS coordinates, but is somewhat confusing to program. Mercedes can still take a lesson from Lexus on this front." Many other options, such as a hands-free communication system using Bluetooth linked to the steering wheel, are available but can significantly add to the GL-Classes price.

The standard entertainment system includes a six-disc CD-changer, as well as an auxiliary jack for MP3 players. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes that with the optional entertainment center, "the DVD player is inconveniently located under the right-side second-row seat. The system, which features screens in the front-seat headrests, is operated by a remote control, but cannot be operated by the driver, so if mom is alone with the kids she must stop the car and crawl back there to change the movie."


Cargo space is slightly less than in some other luxury SUVs, and with the third-row seat up, Consumer Guide says "volume is restricted to a few grocery bags," given the small 14.3 cubic feet of space. With both the second and third-row seats down, the GL-Class expands to 83.3 cubic feet, which Edmunds reports is "much smaller than full-size luxury SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade but on par with vehicles like the Acura MDX."

A motorized third row seat makes expanding the cargo area simple -- the seats fold into the floor at the touch of a button. The system makes the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel note, "For people who need a seven-passenger vehicle that can also haul a lot of stuff, Mercedes makes it easy." If this doesn't make accessing the cargo space easy enough, Mercedes also offers an optional power lift gate.

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