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$15,679 - $16,159
$48,990 - $50,490

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful engines
  • Fuel-efficient diesel model
  • Lackluster power in diesel model




Critics' Rating: 9.0
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 8.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.1
Safety: 10.0
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Overview

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML350 comes with a V6 engine that test drivers said has ample power in all situations. They said the turbodiesel V6-powered ML350 BlueTec is quick off the line but doesn't feel very responsive at higher speeds. For those looking for more power, there are two twin-turbo V8-powered variants available, the ML550 and performance-oriented ML63 AMG. A seven-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard. The base ML350 gets an EPA-estimated 17/22 mpg city/highway, which is on par with rivals’ estimates, while the diesel model gets 20/27 mpg, which is excellent for the class. Reviewers said the 2012 M-Class has a comfortable ride, easily absorbing bumps in the road. Some reviewers noticed a fair amount of body lean in turns with the standard suspension and recommended models with the available sport-tuned suspension for more buttoned-down handling.

Test drivers said the 2012 M-Class has a quiet, stylish cabin with classy wood and metal accents. The front seats are comfortable and there’s plenty of legroom in the back seat, reviewers noted. The M-Class' cargo space is competitive with that of other two-row SUVs in the class, at up to 71 cubic feet. The 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML350comes standard with an eight-speaker audio system, HD Radio, a power sunroof, power-adjustable and heated front seats, a power liftgate, a USB port, Bluetooth and Mercedes' COMAND infotainment system. Available features include heated and cooled cup holders, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, navigation, adaptive cruise control, blind spot assist, lane keeping assist, a Harman Kardon audio system and a parallel parking assist system. Reviewers were pleased with the relocation of the seat adjustment controls and cruise control lever to more intuitive locations as part of the 2012 redesign. 

Other SUVs to Consider

Reviewers said the 2012 BMW X5 is one of the sportiest SUVs in the class, and like the M-Class, is available with a fuel-efficient diesel model. The X5 is available with a third row of seats and it offers a bit more cargo space than the M-Class. 

According to auto journalists, the 2012 Volkswagen Touareg has an upscale cabin and most said the audio, climate and navigation controls are simple to use. Reviewers said the available diesel model has ample power, and like the other available diesel models in the class, it returns great fuel economy.

Compare the M-Class, X5 and Touareg »

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