The 2013 Mercedes-Benz ML350 BlueTEC is a mid-size SUV that finds itself in an unusual position for a Mercedes-Benz vehicle. The M-Class, once the focal point of the luxury brand's sport-utility lineup, has been increasingly shunted off to the side with the introduction of the stylish, compact GLK-Class, and the slightly-larger, three-row GL-Class. As the German automaker lost touch with the original spirit of the M-Class its personality has gradually faded to the point where it now rests comfortably in a sea of homogenous premium competitors, five-passenger 'utes and crossovers that have traded any semblance of identity for the ability to please most of the people, most of the time.
If this introduction to the 2013 Mercedes-Benz M-Class comes off as harsh - and equally dismissive of contemporaries like the Acura MDX and the Lexus RX - then you've got me all wrong. There's a definite place in the world for useful, and comfortable SUVs that serve those willing to shell out more cash than the average Ford Explorer buyer. What's more, even though the M-Class 'goes with the flow' more so than any other Mercedes-Benz model in terms of style and driving dynamics, the ML350 BlueTEC does offer an important ace-in-the-hole that goes a long way towards balancing out the more mundane aspects of its character: an amazingly economical turbodiesel drivetrain.