Motor Trend Names Mercedes-Benz GL-Class as 2013 Sport/Utility of the Year

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After Rigorous Testing of 11 Vehicles, Mercedes-Benz Emerges with the Famed Golden Calipers.

Source Interlink Media, LLC (SIM) announced today that Motor Trend has selected the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class as its 2013 Sport/Utility of the Year®. The award announcement, made through an extensive feature on and a special presentation on the Motor Trend YouTube Channel, comes after the 11 contenders were put through Motor Trend’s extensive battery of testing to examine virtually every aspect of each vehicle. This is the second time the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class has won the award, as the first-generation GL-Class was selected in 2007.

In order to determine which car deserved top honors, the Motor Trend staff employed the same stringent standards as it has since the inception of the Sport/Utility of the Year award in 1999:

1.    Standard testing, including 0–60 mph and 1/4-mile acceleration, 60-0 mph braking, and Motor Trend’s signature figure-eight handling test.
2.    Limit handling evaluation on closed track (added to this year’s test).
3.    Real-world road loops; 35 miles on a mixture of roads (city, freeway, canyon) followed by 5 miles of light off-roading.

Once the testing and road loops were completed, each car was evaluated against the award’s six criteria: Advancement in Design, Engineering Excellence, Efficiency, Safety, Value, and Performance of Intended Function. The SUV of the Year is not chosen from a direct comparison against the other contenders, but rather as a result of how it measures up to the six criteria.

After all was said and done, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class was hands-down the winner, and, according to some of the judges, the best its class has ever seen. They were impressed with the comfort and roominess offered by the seven-passenger, luxury SUV, as well as the compelling array of standard and optional equipment, including a 360-degree camera, auburn brown leather interior, and matte-finish wood accents. From the optional, decadent designo interior (which offers Mercedes-Benz exclusive premium paint, leather, and trim options) to the unadulterated driving experience, the GL served up a winning combination for a majority of the nine judges.

The Mercedes-Benz GL-Class impressed the Motor Trend editors on the road as well. When equipped with the diesel engine, the GL-Class produced the second-best mpg observed in the competition; not bad for being the largest and heaviest vehicle tested. Yet despite its size, the GL-Class was remarkable in the way it “drove small.” For several of the editors, the time behind the wheel of the GL-Class provided the most fun throughout the two-and-a-half-day venture.

When measured against the criteria, the GL-Class outshone the rest of the field in this year’s competition and, in Motor Trend’s eyes, set the industry standard for luxury, three-row crossover SUVs.

“We had an extremely competitive field for Motor Trend's 2013 Sport/Utility of the Year," said Edward Loh, Editor-in-Chief of Motor Trend. "However, the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class truly outshone the field and emerged as the clear winner by the end of our program. The goal of the award is to name the SUV that best meets our six criteria, and none of the new 2013 SUV or crossover models managed to do that better than the GL-Class. Simply put, the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class is an outstanding vehicle, and we're proud to name it our 2013 Sport/Utility of the Year.”

In addition to the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, the 2013 Sport/Utility of the Year competition included:

2013 Acura RDX
2013 Audi Allroad
2013 Ford Escape
2013 Honda CR-V
2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
2013 Infiniti JX
2013 Mazda CX-5
2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK
2013 Nissan Pathfinder
2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek

"We're honored that the GL-Class has once again been awarded Motor Trend's Sport/Utility of the Year," said Steve Cannon, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA. "From the very beginning, the GL-Class has been perfectly tuned to the needs of U.S. customers, and those customers made the GL-Class the segment-leading sales performer. Motor Trend's critical acclaim for the depth of its functionality together with the broadest powertrain offering in any full-size SUV shows our commitment to delivering on our promise to our customers of the best or nothing."

Sport/Utility of the Year® is one of several coveted honors Motor Trend bestows upon automakers, including Best Driver’s Car®, Car of the Year® and Truck of the Year®.

About Motor Trend Magazine:
Motor Trend, a publication of Source Interlink Media, LLC, was founded in 1949 and has a circulation of 1.1 million and a total readership of 7 million. Internationally recognized as one of the leading brands in automotive publishing, MOTOR TREND comprises Motor Trend Magazine; the award-winning website; the Motor Trend YouTube Channel; Motor Trend Radio; Truck Trend; Motor Trend Classic; Motor Trend International Auto Shows; Motor Trend en Espanol; and the renowned Motor Trend Car, Truck, and SUV of the Year Awards program. The website attracts more than 5.5 million unique visitors per month and its YouTube channel averages more than 1 million views a week. Motor Trend's social media presence spans 1.1 million followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google Plus. Follow along @MotorTrend.

About Source Interlink Media
Source Interlink Media, LLC is the premier source of special interest media in the United States. With more than 75 publications, 100 Web sites, 800 branded products, 50+ events, and TV and radio programs, SIM is the largest provider of content to enthusiast communities interested in automotive, action sports, home theater and other niche activities. The division's strategy is to wholly focus on targeted audiences by leveraging and expanding upon its core market-leading brands through a multiplatform media approach.

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Jeremy Riffle
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