The Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, a large 4x4 that is designed, built and primarily sold in North America, risks feeling utterly out of its place on a British back road or in a British car park.

But the Mercedes GL, partly down to its body control, partly down to steep sides that make it possible to place it accurately and partly down to a design that lacks brashness, fits in here – just. 

It's a shame that some of the cost options aren't standard

It feels vast, granted, but if you need to seat seven in comfort, there aren’t too many alternatives. If you need the off-road capability it offers and if you desire and can afford the luxury that it combines with a fine breadth of ability, the GL becomes more than just acceptable.

There are undeniably things to appreciate in the new Mercedes-Benz GL, and it could be convincingly argued that you’re getting rather a lot of space, kit, quality, economy and ability (even without the added off-road kit, it’s mighty capable on mud and capable of towing 3500kg) for the asking price.

Its Mercedes badge, however, does not stop it being squashed by the hefty handsome appeal and ineffable driver reward of anything under Range Rover branding.

For some, however, it will be genuinely desirable. We suspect that, ultimately, it will remain a car that, in Britain at least, sells in the hundreds rather than the thousands each year. But we also suspect that those hundreds will find the GL to be everything they wanted.


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