The new Mercedes-Benz GL- and R-Class luxury sport utility vehicles
outpointed competitors from Volvo, Audi, and Cadillac in tests
for the November issue of Consumer Reports.
Best 2007 Luxury SUVs,
According to Consumer Reports
Mercedes-Benz GL and
The GL- and R-Class posted “Very Good” overall scores
in tests against the Volvo XC90, Audi Q7, and new 2007 Cadillac
Escalade. Though the Volvo, Audi, and Cadillac finished lower
in the scoring, those three vehicles still posted “Very
Consumer Reports also tested all-wheel-drive versions of four
previously tested sedans: The Volkswagen Passat 3.6 4Motion, BMW
325xi, Volvo XC70 and Subaru Outback 3.0R VDC. Of that group,
the Passat received an “Excellent” overall road test
score. The 325xi, Outback 3.0R and XC70 received Consumer Reports’
Recommended status. All in the group are less expensive and viable
alternatives to some SUVs.
“Both the GL- and R-Class vehicles offer exceptional combinations
of luxury, utility and performance—at a premium price,”
said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports’
Auto Test Center.
Full tests and ratings of the luxury SUV group appear in the November
issue of Consumer Reports on sale now. The complete report is
also available to subscribers of www.ConsumerReports.org.
Consumer Reports did not recommend any of the SUVs tested in this
group because they are either too new to have sufficient owner
reliability data, or have below average predicted reliability.
The magazine only recommends vehicles that have performed well
in its tests, have at least average predicted reliability based
on CR’s Annual Car Reliability Survey of its own subscribers,
and performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included
in a government rollover test.
The GL-Class, standard with three rows of seats, provides a very
high level of luxury and utility—at a price. The Mercedes-Benz
GL450 ($67,820 Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price as
tested), the most expensive of the group, is powered by a 335-hp,
4.6-liter V8 engine that delivers 15 mpg overall on premium fuel.
Its seven-speed automatic transmission sometimes hesitates and
bumps into gear when downshifting. The GL has a very quiet and
roomy interior. With its off-road mode, the GL easily climbed
CR’s rock hill despite not having a low range. Braking performance
is very good.
The R-Class is almost in a class of its own. It is not quite an
SUV, not quite a minivan. Riding very much like a luxury sedan,
the Mercedes-Benz R500 ($62,055 MSRP as tested) is powered by
a smooth and powerful 302-hp 5.0-liter V8 that gets 15 mpg overall
on premium fuel. The interior is nicely finished and has the feel
of a limousine in the rear. Brakes are very good overall.
Volvo’s XC90 has always provided a comfortable, flexible
interior and extensive safety features, but the under-powered
engines and below-par reliability have been big disappointments.
The addition of a Yamaha-built V8 engine provides better performance,
refinement, and slightly better fuel economy. The XC90 ($47,685
MSRP as tested) is equipped with a 311-hp, 4.4-liter V8 that has
plenty of power. It’s mated to a six-speed automatic that
shifts smoothly. The XC90’s brakes perform well.
The Q7, Audi’s first SUV, is a heavy vehicle that’s
powerful and luxurious. However, it has more than its share of
idiosyncrasies, especially the many complex electronic controls.
The third-row seat is especially cramped. The Q7 ($57,920 MSRP
as tested) is powered by a 350-hp, 4.2-liter V8 that delivers
very good acceleration. Its six-speed automatic transmission is
smooth and responsive. Brakes are impressive.
The Cadillac Escalade is large, luxurious, comfortable, quiet
and quick. But it gets poor fuel economy, feels clumsy in turns
and has a tight third-row seat. The Escalade has higher-quality
trim and more power than its Chevrolet Tahoe cousin. The base
Escalade ($64,905 MSRP as tested) is equipped with a 403-hp, 6.2-liter
V8 that is brawny and provides quick acceleration. The six-speed
automatic transmission is smooth and responsive. But the Escalade
gets a disappointing 13 mpg overall on regular fuel. Braking is
below par, with long stopping distances on both wet and dry surfaces.
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