Diesel-sipping SUV Crowned As SUV Of The Year

The second-generation Mercedes-Benz GL-Class sport utility has won the 2013 Motor Trend Sport/Utility of the Year award.

The full article, citing the GL as “the best the luxury SUV class has ever seen,” will be published in the December issue of Motor Trend. This marks the second time the GL has won this prestigious Motor Trend award.

Built in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the GL was the first full-size SUV from Mercedes-Benz.

When the first-generation GL was launched, it also won the 2007 Motor Trend Sport/Utility of the Year.

The GL model lineup for 2013 includes the fuel-sipping GL350 BlueTEC turbodiesel (240 horsepower, 455 pound-feet torque). When powered by this diesel engine, the GL is rated at 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and offers a cruising range of over 600 miles; along with a towing capacity of 7,500 pounds.

One of four sport utilities offered by Mercedes-Benz, the full-size GL is part of an SUV family that includes the mid-size M-Class, the compact GLK and the robust G-Class.

“We had an extremely competitive field for Motor Trend’s 2013 Sport/Utility of the Year,” said Edward Loh, editor-in-chief of Motor Trend. “However, the Mercedes-Benz GL truly outshone the field and emerged as the clear winner by the end of our program. The goal of the award is to name the SUV that best meets our six criteria, and none of the new 2013 SUV or crossover models managed to do that better than the GL. Simply put, the Mercedes-Benz GL is an outstanding vehicle, and we’re proud to name it our 2013 Sport/Utility of the Year.”

Since 1999, the Motor Trend editorial staff has selected and evaluated candidates for its Sport/Utility of the Year Award . To be eligible, a vehicle must be all-new or significantly redesigned and must have made its retail debut within the past 12 months. During an intense evaluation process, Motor Trend puts 11 of the latest SUVs through its standard battery of testing, examining virtually every aspect of each vehicle.

Rather than conducting a direct comparison, each Motor Trend Sport/Utility of the Year contender is individually evaluated against six criteria – advancement in design; engineering excellence, efficiency, safety, value and performance of intended function. After a week of reviewing each of the vehicles, the Motor Trend staff selects which model best meets those six criteria.

Each vehicle is subjected to multiple tests that include 0 to 60 mph and 1/4-mile acceleration testing, 60 to 0 mph brake testing, figure-eight handling and skid pad testing. After making a first cut to eliminate a few of the vehicles, the editors conducted 35-mile road loops on a mixture of roads – city, freeway and canyon – followed by five miles of light off-roading. The GL scored especially well in off-road handling, premium interior and the breadth of its line.

The 2013 GL-Class line is equipped with an enhanced seven-speed automatic transmission that provides even better fuel mileage, more responsive driving, quieter operation and increased durability. The new transmission features a more advanced torque converter lock-up clutch and is designed to work best with a new type of low-viscosity ATF transmission fluid, colored blue instead of the usual red.

Together with low-drag planetary gears, bearings and internal seals, the “FE-ATF” fluid provides less friction and improved fuel mileage. Lower hydraulic pressure and enhanced electronic software helps provide even smoother shifting.


  • Monomoy

    “Fuel Sipping”?….19 mpg?? Love to see the diesels but let’s not get carried away on the green cred for this vehicle