Every autumn, the Texas Auto Writers Association holds a two-day truck rodeo to determine the best in class in all of the different segments of the truck market. Out of all of this year's SUV competitiors, the auto writers (do they actually sell any cars in Texas?) picked out the updated Mercedes-Benz GL350 Bluetec.
The big GL was among 16 SUVs put to the test by the 41 journalists and was the first ever European model to win the category. The GL's 210 hp and 400 pound-feet of torque help it get a 7,500 pound tow rating, The EPA rates the GL350 at 17 mpg city and 23 mpg although on a recent stint with the GL, we averaged just over 23 mpg combined, easily topping our best results to date with any of the GM hybrid SUVs. Besides best overall SUV, the GL350 also earned an honor as the best full-size luxury boat.
MERCEDES-BENZ GL350 BlueTEC WINS BEST SUV OF TEXAS
Montvale, NJ – The 2010 seven-passenger Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTEC clean diesel wins awards for best Full-Size Luxury Sport Utility Vehicle, and best SUV of Texas at this year's annual Texas Truck Rodeo™, held by the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), during a two-day event October 17-18, 2009 at the legendary Knibbe Ranch in the Texas Hill Country, outside of San Antonio.
Forty-one journalists put 16 SUVs to the test and the 2010 GL350 BlueTEC clean-diesel is now officially Best SUV of Texas. It is the first time a European luxury automaker claims this award, and it recognizes leading attributes of the redesigned 2010 GL350 BlueTEC from its off-road handling capabilities to its exceptional value, class-leading safety features, and great fuel economy.
During the two day event, the Texas auto writers judge vehicles participating in the truck rodeo on many criteria with a keen focus on off-road capabilities over terrain that covers river crossings, rock climbs, and steep down-hill grades. The off-road systems of the GL350 BlueTEC manage this challenging terrain with a combination of features including, 4MATIC permanent all-wheel drive, Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR), Hill Start Assist, and AIRMATIC suspension that provides ground clearance of up to 12 inches. Unibody construction provides an integral body shell that provides ride comfort on-road and greater torsional stiffness for off-road stability.
Produced in the Mercedes-Benz Tuscaloosa, Alabama plant, the GL350 BlueTEC, is one of the world's cleanest luxury SUVs with a V6 diesel engine that delivers 210 hp and 400 lb-ft. of torque, making it ideal for towing up to 7,500-lb with optional class IV trailer hitch. It provides a cruising range of up to 600 miles on one tank of fuel and qualifies for a $1,800 Alternative Motor Vehicle Tax Credit (30B).
Newly restyled for model year 2010, the GL350 BlueTEC features a sporty front grille and bumpers with chrome-ringed fog lights, redesigned stainless steel skid plates with trapezoidal exhaust pipes, and 20-inch five-twin-spoke alloy wheels with all-season run-flat tires. The GL's second and third-row seats can be easily stowed to provide a flat cargo space that totals 83 cubic feet of cargo room. Safety features include standard ESP® stability control with Trailer Stability Assist, LED taillights; ABS anti-lock internally ventilated brakes; two-stage adaptive air bag for the driver and passenger, driver's knee air bag, seat-mounted side air bags in front and rear, and curtain side air bags protecting all three rows; NECK-PRO active front head restraints; and adaptive belt tensioners and force limiters. The GL is also equipped with PRE-SAFE®, a safety system that senses impending collisions and automatically positions passengers for better protection. The PRE-SAFE system will close windows and the sunroof if an impending crash is sensed while the POST-SAFE® system avoids consequential damage after an accident by turning-on hazard lights, unlocking doors, and cutting-off engine and fuel supply.
The 2010 Mercedes-Benz GL350 BlueTEC is available in U.S. dealerships with an MSRP of $59,950.00. Additional information can be found at www.mbusa.com.
About Mercedes-Benz USA
Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA), headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is responsible for the sales, marketing and customer service for all Mercedes-Benz and Maybach products in the United States. MBUSA offers drivers the most diverse line-up in the luxury segment with 12 model lines ranging from the sporty C-Class to the flagship S-Class sedans and CL coupes. More information on MBUSA and its products can be found at www.mbusa.com and www.maybachusa.com.
About Texas Auto Writers Association
The Texas Auto Writers Association was founded in 1985 and its 65 member base is highly regarded by the automotive industry as experts on trucks and SUV's.
"Trucks and SUV's are genetic to Texans and contagious to those who move here," says TAWA President, Harold Gunn. "We use them, we need them, and some of us love them."
The 17th Annual Texas Truck Rodeo presented by the Texas Auto Writers Association October 15 - 18 has been declared the best ever. The drive course was on the historic Knibbe Ranch just north of San Antonio, Texas.