Manufacturers are becoming more and more focused on safety and security - it sells cars.
Safety and Security
Manufacturers are becoming more and more focused on safety and security - it sells cars. The new Mercedes Benz M-Class comes with the usual safety systems as standard - alarm & immobiliser, automatic child seat recognition sensor, ISOFIX and top tether child seat fixing points in outer rear seats, ABS, ESP, Electronic Traction System 4ETS, all round airbags, front, side and curtain/window bags. There are a few options such as Pre-Safe which when an accident threatens to occur, it prepares the car and its occupants for an impending collision. Pre-Safe acts in advance to tighten the driver and front passenger seat belts bring the fore-and-aft setting and the cushion and backrest angle of the optionally electrically adjustable front passenger seats.
One thing worth mentioning is that Mercedes Benz do not fit deadlocks to their cars; deadlocks securely lock the doors and cannot be opened from the inside. This is a great deterrent to thieves but not so great in the case of an accident as rescuers or occupants may not be able to open the doors.
Ease of Use
Our test car was fitted with the optional Easy-Pack tailgate (£400) which allows you to open and shut the rear tailgate with the remote control or with either of the buttons on the tailgate or drivers door. This option is recommended to anyone who is short as when the tailgate is raised the handle to quite hard to reach and the door is quite heavy.
One thing that we did not like about the M-Class was the lack of full size spare tyre - disaster struck when we were deep up an off road track in the Kielder Forest and developed a puncture. Of course it was raining and it was getting dark. We were not too pleased to find a space saver tyre rather than a full size tyre on an alloy wheel.
Fortunately the car was not fully laden as the damaged wheel wouldn't have fitted back into the M-Class. With the space saver fitted it was sixty miles back to our holiday cottage through flooded roads and at speeds under 50 mph, it was not much fun. Luckily a local tyre dealer was able to repair the tyre for £12 as we did not fancy the idea of a four hundred mile trip back to Devon on a space saver tyre.
Comfort and Refinement
The accommodating front seats are electrically adjustable and over the 1,800 miles we drove the M-Class they remained supportive and comfortable. Regrettably for a car costing over £38,000 they did not feature a memory function.
Sound insulation is good and although you knew you were driving a diesel it was not particularly intrusive.
Our car was fitted with the optional Bi-Xenon Active Lighting System, an expensive option at £1,100, but an option well worth considering if you drive in the country at night. It makes all the difference, especially the active function which directs the head lamp beam in the direction of the steering - Now you can really see around bends. At lower speeds it even uses the appropriate front fog light to increase vision, which is helpful at road junctions.
The head lights can be automatically set to come on when the ambient light dictates, i.e. at dusk and when entering underground car parks but the windscreen wipers weren't rain sensitive on the model we tested.
Mercedes Benz M-Class Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Mercedes Benz ML 280 CDI SE|
|Colour||Lazurite Blue Metallic|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||9.8 Seconds|
|Top Speed||127 mph|
|Transmission||7G-Tronic 7-Speed Automatic Gearbox|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||37.7 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Warranty||3 Years / Unlimited Mileage|
|Price (when tested on the 09/11/06)||£38,120|