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Photos: 2008 Mercedes-Benz GL320 CDI

The cabin electronics and interface for the 2008 Mercedes-Benz GL320 CDI's infotainment system are old and have fallen far behind today's standards, but the diesel engine makes the car drive well and get incredible fuel economy for a full-size SUV.

CNET Reviews staff

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The GL-class is a full-size luxury SUV with three rows of seating. This model comes with a diesel engine.
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Although built as a luxury SUV, the GL320 is rugged, with standard all-wheel drive.
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The 3-liter turbocharged V-6 diesel engine produces 215 horsepower and 395 ft-lbs of torque, the latter number giving the big SUV plenty of boost. Fuel economy is exceptional with this engine, coming in at well over 20 mpg.
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The GL-class is very large, making urban maneuvering uncomfortable.
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As part of its off-road gear, the GL320 has an air suspension. With it, you can give the car 3 inches of extra clearance over its standard drive height.
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The third- and second-row seats fold down, creating a huge cargo area. Even with just the third-row seats down, there's plenty of room.
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We particularly like that you can lower and raise the third-row seats with these buttons, set on the wall in the cargo area.
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The third-row seats actually have footwells that make them usable by adults. But getting into them can be difficult.
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The switchgear on the dashboard is nice, but we don't like the color scheme. The interface for the navigation and audio systems isn't very good.
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The GL320 gets a lot of body roll in corners. The steering is fairly responsive, although tuned for lightness to make turning the big tires easy.
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We like the information display between tach and speedo, which can be made to show navigation, audio, or trip information.
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At the push of a button you can raise the car's height, put it in off-road mode, or activate the hill descent control.
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The resolution could be better on the map screens. Street names appear jaggy and are generally only visible when you are in maximum zoom.
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The Today's Plan feature lets you input multiple addresses, then have the navigation system determine the best route between them all.
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Satellite radio is available with the Premium II Package.
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We are disappointed that the stereo only shows file names and not extended track information.
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Our GL320 was optioned with a six-disc changer mounted in the glovebox.
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The rear-seat DVD player is very inconveniently mounted under the right rear seat.
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Rear-seat screen placement is good, as they are mounted in their own casings so as not to interfere with front seat headrest control.
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The picture from the rear-view camera is exceptionally fine.

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