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Mercedes ML 280 CDI: Test Drive

Date: 26 March 2009   |   Author: Tom Webster

Category: Large 4x4
P11D price: £38,445
Key rival: BMW X5

Mercedes has given its large 4x4, the ML, a facial tweak to keep it fresh in its mid-life years.

The alterations - redesigned front and rear bumpers and the addition of roof-rails as standard - make for a good-looking and imposing car. It's also typical Mercedes to drive, with comfort a priority over sportiness. The interior is also very Mercedes - comfortable and reasonably spacious, although it's still only a five-seater.

As with all Mercedes models, beware the curse of the options list. Our car carried more than £8000-worth of extras including the expensive off-road package, plus a rear-mounted spare wheel that increases ground clearance. It costs just under £1500 but destroys rear visibility and makes opening the tailgate more difficult. If drivers are that serious about going off-road, they should maybe be looking at a more serious 4x4.

But despite that the ML is still a classy, and now tidier-looking piece of kit. There is, though, a question over whether buyers in this segment could afford to make the £2000 step up from ML 280 to ML 320. Despite offering an extra 34PS at 224PS and 0-62mph time that's 1.2 seconds quicker, the 320 boasts identical economy and CO2 figures. Offering a lower powered cut-price option in a small hatchbatck makes sense, but for a large 4x4 with an entry-level P11D of £38,445, buyers will probably be able to swallow the extra step up to the 320.

Mercedes ML 280 CDI SE 5dr auto
P11D price£38,445
Model price range£38,445-£75,818
Fuel consumption30.1mpg
CO2 (tax) 246g/km/35%
BIK 20/40% per month£224/£449
Service interval15,534mls/12 months
Insurancegroup 17
Warranty3yrs/unlimited mls
Boot space (min/max)833/2050 litres
Engine size/power2987cc/193PS
Top speed/0-62mph127mph/9.8secs
On sale now
VerdictDon’t throw all your money
at the options list and treat
yourself to a welcome
extra boost of power


Don’t throw all your money at the options list and treat yourself to a welcome extra boost of power