2006 ML-350 (great vehicle but I miss my BMW X5)
Overall, a very good mid-sized SUV. Typical for this class, not a large storage area but adequate for daily hauling.
We have had quality problems including transmission, hydraulics, and parking/tail/license plate lamps. Ours is a very early model so may be some gremlins as part of the initial production run. We had similar problems with an early-run BMW X5, which we loved.
The Mercedes has a nice ride but is not as sporting as the X5. I'm not wild about the column shifter for the transmission, even with the steering-wheel mounted shift buttons (can't really call them paddles, as in sports cars). You can upshift manually with the shift buttons but when you try to downshift, perhaps wanting to hold the speed on a sharp downhill section, the tranny shifts into whatever gear it believes is suitable based on the vehicle speed. In other words, you cannot downshift sequentially, as it will skip gears. This makes the engine rev up unnecessarily. Of course, leave it in "D" and no real problems.
Well, almost. I don't like the sound of the shifts, either. This may sound picky, but it sounds like a continuos variable transmission (CVT) which is a transmission that can change steplessly through an infinite number of effective gear ratios instead of shifting through the 6 specific gear ratios. As such, instead of hearing the engine rev through each gear, you hear a whining of the transmission up and down over and over again. It's a sickening sound.
My advice is to drive the ML back to back with a BMW X5 for a great comparison.
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Benz World – Mercedes Benz Discussion Forum. Source: www.benzworld.org