[quote_box_right]Up: 5-star safety, extra comfortable.

Down: Not the most exciting car on the road.

Neutral: It’s what makes a Mercedes, a Mercedes.[/quote_box_right]There is no doubt that this is the nicest (and most expensive) vehicle I have ever driven. With that being said, I am going to try to review the 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML350 as objectively as possible. Mercedes Benz has always been a powerhouse of style, comfort, power, and most of all, safety. They have always made all of their automobiles with precision and care. In fact, with a pedigree that’s over 100 years old, they are also considered the very first automobile maker!

When I showed up to Luxury Auto Mall in Sioux Falls, I drove by countless cars that I could not afford at this point in my life. There were brand new Cadillacs and BMWs but this venture was about Mercedes. The very friendly, and very knowledgeable, Jeff Driver was my expert for the day. Now when I say expert, I don’t mean that he knows a lot about cars; I mean that he is professionally certified to sell Mercedes-Benz vehicles. After we exchanged pleasantries, we headed out to the brand new ML350.

This particular model was the ML350 4matic and that is just a fancy way of saying that it has Mercedes’ own 3.5 liter V-6 and 4-wheel independent control. Before I got to fire it up, he gave me a walkaround of the outside to show me some of the features most other cars probably don’t have. The first thing he showed me was the Bi-Xenon headlamps and day-running LED lights so the driver is always visible anytime the car is on. The headlights also have what’s called “Active Curve Illumination” which means when the driver turns left, the headlights point left as well. Jeff also showed me that the front door’s lip overlaps the passenger’s door so if there is ever an accident, the doors would fold out and not in on the passengers. It even has 11 airbags just in case something unfortunate happens. It was very clear that this vehicle was made for safety and comfort.

There were a lot of great, and practical, features about the exterior and that went the same for the inside too. The interior was built solely for comfort and to minimize distractions. Everything was placed in an easy to view and easy to reach position. Instead of having to reach across the dash to use touch screen navigation, there is a control wheel right where your hand would be when using the armrest on the center console. The seat controls are at eye level on the door frame instead of under the seat so you don’t have to feel around for what you’re adjusting. And on top of that, almost everything can be controlled hands-free anyways. You can make phone calls, set your navigation point, change radio stations, and even change the volume without having to remove your hands from the wheel or take your eyes off of the road.

Like most new cars, all you have to do is have the key on your person and hit the “Start Engine” button on the dash to get the motor going. This is not only convenient, but also pretty cool. Once I started driving the ML, I was really enjoying this upgrade from my ’99 Subaru with four bad struts and a bad axle. The ML had plenty of power, I could hardly feel any bumps on the road, and the ride was almost silent. The silence, Jeff told me, was due to a completely sealed engine bay that reduces engine noise exponentially. Throughout the expedition, I had to keep looking down at my feet to make sure an automobile was still there, and not just a cloud. This was an all around great ride and I could just feel that it was put together so much better than anything else I have ever driven.

Mercedes Benz built the first car and after 125 years, they are still the leader in safety and comfort. Although the 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML350 might not be the most exciting vehicle for someone my age, it should definitely be a top contender for anyone who values safety and comfort for their family. The engineering is top notch, the ride is as smooth as can be, and it is one of the best looking SUVs on the market. I had always assumed that Mercedes was better than your typical daily driver, I just didn’t know how much better.

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