Dan Neil Likes but not in Love with the Mercedes-Benz GL320 CDI

Illustration for article titled Dan Neil Likes but not in Love with the Mercedes-Benz GL320 CDI

Full disclosure: I often find myself recommending the MB GL450 to my wealthier friends who ask about big SUVs. That overgrown puppy is one hell of a truck, even if you get to watch your average fuel economy decrease while idling (no really, it's true). Elegant, burly, hella capable and epically comfortable, the GL450's only flaws are embarrassingly terrible gas mileage (14 mpg around town going with the wind) and lofty price tag ($70,000 with the chimes and the catcalls). Realizing this, Big Daddy Daimler just unleashed a diesel version of their biggest 'Ute here in America which gets 36% better mileage. They think the price is fine where it is. Dan has mixed feelings:

I started thinking about this on the drive in this morning, when I saw three GLs on the highway, each with one occupant and — as it happened — each occupant weighing approximately 110 pounds. And blond. What is it about Mercedes-Benz and blonds?

So, let's put each of these coeds in a vehicle that gets 36% better fuel economy. Have we solved much? No, because they are still operating vehicles twice or thrice the size required to move their scrawny bits of protoplasm from point A to point B. And let's not kid ourselves. That's what duty these harlots of petroleum are destined to perform. Very few people are going to tow a boat or go off-road in a GL320 CDI.

Therein lies the rub. We're Americans. Thou shalt not tread on me! Who the hell are you to tell me what I need? Go back to Russia and take your hippie-ass CAFE standards with you. Or, as Dan puts it, "We will incrementalize ourselves to the crack of doom." [Rumble Seat]

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@dearyou: Misfired... Yes, jealous of the doctors and the wives.

@Charles_Barrett: It may be worse in small town America. They're the same in our little towns around here. They just push around the help in the mall instead of Rodeo. Attitude is the same. Doctor, Lawyer, Chiropractor, Accountant - whatever.