On the face of it, the Mercedes-Benz M-class seems a bit out of place alongside the BMW X3 and the Volvo XC60. It is a full size bigger than the other two SUVs and has traditionally been a rival to the larger (and more expensive) X5 and XC90 from BMW and Volvo, respectively. So why are we comparing these SUVs? The answer lies in the ‘250 CDI’ badge on the tailgate of the M-class. This recently launched version of the M-class comes with a smaller and less powerful engine than the ML 350 CDI, but it also costs a full R13 lakh less than it!
That means you can have an ML for what you’d pay for the more powerful diesel versions of the smaller X3, XC60 and Audi Q5. We’d have liked to include the Q5 3.0 TDI in this test as well, but Audi did not have the updated version of the car that is scheduled to go on sale later this month.
What we seek to find out is if the smaller-hearted ML is too much of a compromise in terms of performance, or if it is actually a well-rounded luxury SUV that just happens to be well priced too?
What are they like to drive?
ML 250 CDI ****
X3 xDrive 30d *****
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