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2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2012 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class was new.


Interior: 8.0

The 2012 GL-Class’ interior is appointed in true Mercedes-Benz quality. However, some features that would be standard in most luxury SUVs are options on the GL. For instance, other luxury large SUVs include leather upholstery as a standard feature, but you’ll have to pay extra if you want leather seats in your Mercedes-Benz GL. Reviewers agree that the GL-Class is pricey, but say that the GL’s interior quality and comfort, even in the third row, are worth the price premium if you have the money to spend.

  • "High-quality materials, including standard real-wood trim, give the cabin a premium feel. Controls adjust with a weighted, precise feel.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "Big inside, not-so-huge outside.” -- Car and Driver
  • "The big Mercedes SUV is such an indulgence: yards and yards of beautiful black leather, substantial headrests, rich chrome trim, bountiful and sumptuous room for seven.” -- Automobile Magazine
  • "I love the authoritative view of the road from behind the wheel--there is definitely a feeling of being in command. And it's so quiet out on the freeway.” -- AutoWeek


The Mercedes-Benz GL has seating for seven, and comes standard with leatherette upholstery. Reviewers say the GL’s seat comfort is average in a class of luxurious accommodations, and say that while small adults might fit in the tight third row, they won’t be happy back there for long.

  • "The front buckets are firm and comfortable and the interior uses high-quality materials.” -- AutoWeek
  • "Commanding driving position, comfortable front seats.” -- Cars.com
  • "There are four seating positions with the LATCH system for kids' car seats. Unfortunately, you'd have a tough time getting to the two children in the back row, but if your kids are old enough to buckle themselves, the GL-class makes a solid ritzy alternative to a minivan.” -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Mercedes' three-row SUV is more egalitarian than any other model in the brand's lineup, sharing its wealth of space, comfort and safety features among all seven travelers. Every seat is a good fit, and even the two passengers relegated to the third row will have little reason to complain.” -- Edmunds
  • “Smaller adults fit in the third row, but only kids will be happy there on a long trip. Only the right-side section of the 2nd-row bench seat slides forward for 3rd-row access, though it does create a large passageway.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "Cramped third row.” -- Car and Driver

Interior Features

Reviewers mention that the 2012 GL-Class’s interior is typical Mercedes-Benz, with high-quality fit and finish and luxurious materials. However, Mercedes-Benz’s standard COMAND system, which controls climate, stereo and optional navigation, merits nearly unanimous mention as being complicated and finicky.

The Mercedes-Benz GL’s list of standard features is relatively short compared with other luxury large SUVs in its price range. A rearview camera, leather seats and push-button start all cost extra, while the base Infiniti QX56 comes standard with these features plus navigation and a Bose stereo, for a few thousand dollars less.

  • "Gauges are large and easy to read. Most controls are logically placed, but some have cryptic markings and the navigation system absorbs most audio functions, complicating their use.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "The center console is a bit busy, but I got used to it (though I still think it takes too many steps to get from, say, AM to FM or from FM to satellite radio).” -- AutoWeek
  • "The COMAND electronics interface is finicky to use, employing awkward push-buttons on a center-stack-mounted circular control pad instead of the preferred console-mounted control wheel used in more recently introduced Mercedes-Benz models.” -- Edmunds


Reviewers are disappointed with the relatively small cargo space offered in the GL. There are 83.1 cubic feet available with the second and third rows down, 43.8 with the third row stowed and 14.3 with all seats in use. That’s a lot less than what other luxury large SUVs offer. However, a standard power-folding third row and optional power liftgate ease the loading process. Reviewers mention that there’s not much space behind the third row, but that’s a common problem in this class.

  • "Just a few grocery bags fit behind the 3rd row. A low floor height and 2nd- and 3rd-row seat backs that fold flush with the deck ease loading and unloading. Relatively tight dimensions limit overall volume, however, and the rounded hatch opening limits cargo-item size. Numerous cabin storage areas, but none are generously sized.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "Limited cargo room behind third row.” -- Cars.com

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