Powerful engines cope with GL's bulk, but it's not easy to manoeuvre around town
Easy to get comfortable, but rear visibility is hampered by headrests
Driver aids and airbags aplenty
Quality is top-notch and we don't expect reliability problems
Good for seven, or five if they've got luggage. Rearmost seats' access is awkward
All the luxuries you'd expect, from cruise and climate control to alloys, plus masses of high-tech driver aids
All the engines are powerful enough to haul the vast Mercedes GL along at a brisk pace, and the seven-speed automatic gearbox makes changes slickly. We'd go for the (slightly) more economic GL350 CDI. It's designed for comfort rather than nimble cornering, so the ride is great. We'd like a little more feedback from the steering, though. There's masses of high-tech wizardry to help you off-road, including hill descent control and adjustable ground clearance, but it's no match for a Range Rover here. It's impressively quiet inside, though.
You'd have to be a very peculiar shape not to settle comfortably behind the wheel, there's so mcuh seat and wheel adjustment. The infotainment system is controlled by a rotary knob which scrolls through menus on the dash screen. There's lots of room in all seven seats and easy access to the back if you fold away the middle row seats, which can be done electrically as an option. The rear two seats fold away electrically as standard, helping extend the boot to a maximum of 2300 litres - enough for some serious removals.
Ten airbags come as standard, and that's just the start of a seriously impressive roster of safety equipment to help keep you out of trouble with masses of options to keep nervous types happy. The car feels beautifully put together, however Mercedes still lags other premium brands in What Car?'s reliability surveys.
You're paying over £50,000 for one of these, so it's not a budget buy. However, resale values are strong, particularly on the diesel models, which makes it a sound investment. The GL350 CDI claims an average of 38mpg and reasonable emissions for this type of car, so makes most sense.