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5 smooth-riding SUVs for the urban warrior

Auto » 5 Smooth-Riding SUVs

2012 Mercedes-Benz M Class
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2012 Mercedes-Benz M Class

Starting price: $49,865 (includes $875 delivery)

Base engine: 3.5 liter, V-6, 302 horsepower

What's new: Complete redesign with new high-tech safety features

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz M Class is the third generation of the first luxury-brand SUV. When it debuted in 1997, people weren't sure "Mercedes" and "SUV" belonged in the same sentence. Since then, the company has sold more than 1 million worldwide -- about half in the U.S.

The first generation was developed with robust off-road driving in mind, a capability that few owners ever used. Each version since then has gotten better on-road. The 2012 ML350 4Matic has a 3.5-liter, gasoline-powered, direct-injected V-6 that gets 13 percent more horsepower and 6 percent more torque than the engine it replaces. It also gets 2 more miles per gallon, at 17 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. Safety features include a drowsiness warning that can tell if you start wandering in your lane.


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