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Mercedes-Benz’s reputation as one of the world’s foremost, venerated luxury car brands is so established that it’s hard to appraise one of its models as anything but exceptional.

It’s easy to understand why. The automaker has proven itself as a brand that buyers keep coming back to. Thus, buyers interested in putting a Mercedes in their driveways might find it hard to take an unbiased look at a carmaker whose vehicles are among the best.

Mercedes’ ML350 is no exception. Several iterations of the midsize luxury SUV have been on the market for nearly 20 years, giving owners a rare combo of refined class and rugged utility. Is this a contradiction in terms, or does the ML350 truly deliver as a high-end crossover?

AxleGeeks examined its price, performance, passenger comforts and more to see if the ML350 is the SUV worth upgrading to a Mercedes.

2015 Mercedes-Benz ML350 Price

For its luxury underpinnings, the ML350 is surprisingly affordable—at $48,300, it’s $8,480 cheaper than other new crossovers in its class; however, buyers must be prepared to pay for quality, since the ML350 is also $9,800 more than the average SUV.

2015 Mercedes-Benz ML350 Fuel Economy

Against names like BMW and Infiniti, the ML350 ekes out one mile per gallon more in the city (18 mpg), the highway (24 mpg) and combined (21 mpg).

Where the ML350 stretches owners’ fuel dollars is in its total range. A full tank can cover 443 city miles and 590 miles of highway driving. That’s 14 percent more than other luxury SUVs and 22 percent more than all crossovers.

2015 Mercedes-Benz ML350 Horsepower and Torque

A Mercedes engine and powertrain will always make use of superior German engineering, and in the ML350, it results in a 3.5-liter V6 engine, sending power to the rear wheels through a 7-speed automatic transmission. With a zero to 60 time of 7.3 seconds, it out-accelerates its German BMW and Porsche contemporaries.

The ML350 produces 302 horsepower and 273 ft-lbs of torque. In terms of horsepower, it’s only average compared to today’s luxury crossovers, while it’s torque is lacking by 56 ft-lbs. However, when compared to crossovers from budget marques, the ML350 offers more horsepower and torque than the class average.

2015 Mercedes-Benz ML350 First-Row Dimensions

SUV shoppers will be impressed with the range of luxury options available inside the ML350, like premium sound systems, interior ambient lighting, automatic climate control, ventilated seats and top-grade touch surfaces. Unfortunately, these creature comforts might not compensate for the ML350’s slightly-less spacious front row.

A driver and front passenger have 38.9 inches of total headroom and 40.3 inches of legroom. That’s roughly one inch less in both metrics compared to luxury and standard SUVs. Only when stacked up against the Acura MDX does the ML350 win by an eighth of an inch.

2015 Mercedes-Benz ML350 Second-Row Dimensions

What the ML350 lacks in the front row, it makes up for in the back. With 38.5 inches of headroom, it offers more than the Infiniti QX60 and Acura MDX. In terms of legroom, 38.4 inches of rear-seat space is 1.5 inches more than the class average.

2015 Mercedes-Benz ML350 Cargo Space

It can be said that above all else, an SUV should be judged by its cargo space. ML350 shoppers can rest assured that this midsize Mercedes-Benz leads the way when it comes to storage room.

Standard trunk space of 38.2 cubic feet, according to our data, is up to 10.5 cubic feet more than the average for its class—a 38 percent advantage. That’s 13.3 cubic feet more than the average for all SUV crossovers.

Fold the rear seats down, and the ML350’s trunk room expands to 80.3 cubic feet: 17.75 cubic feet more than the average luxury crossover, 16.6 cubic feet more than other SUVs.

2015 Mercedes-Benz ML350 Overview

To decide whether the Mercedes-Benz ML350 is truly your best luxury option, compare its features to those of the BMW X5.

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