“A box with wheels” is something of a risky design strategy for automakers. The Nissan Cube, Scion xB and Honda Element are all examples of discontinued models that never really gained much more than a small cult following in the U.S. — but the Jeep Wrangler and this, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, are iconic (if impractical) designs that have continued on successfully for decades.
Related: 2019 Mercedes-Benz G550 Review: A Better Baller Box
Cars.com reviewer Aaron Bragman is particularly fond of the G-Class and its refusal to compromise or stray from its roots even as it’s been updated. The G-Wagen doesn’t have many one-to-one competitors: The Land Rover Range Rover comes closest in terms of price and capability; the Porsche Cayenne and Maserati Levante may similarly drain your bank account, but they can’t go off-road the same way the Mercedes can.
Read Bragman’s full view via the related link above, and go to our model page to research the Mercedes-Benz G-Class to see its specs and pricing. In the meantime, here are three things we love about the redesigned 2019 G-Class, and three things we just have to accept as part of the cost of iconicism:
Things We Like
1. Commitment to Tradition
The redesign of the G-Wagen may have made it a little bigger and a little more civilized, but it’s still true to its roots. The exposed door hinges and rifle-bolt door locks are helpful reminders, as are things like the turn signals on top of the front fenders and the round headlights.
2. Crazy Power
The standard engine for the “entry-level” G550 is a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 good for 416 horsepower and 450 pounds-feet of torque. If that isn’t enough, upgrade to the Mercedes-AMG G63 for a 577-hp version of the powerplant. The standard engine is enough to propel the G550 to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, according to Mercedes-Benz — in an SUV that laughs in the face of aerodynamics.
3. Luxurious Interior
The interior quality of the G550 is incredible, with rich materials everywhere, and real wood and metal among the accents. The increased dimensions and stretched wheelbase make the 2019 G550’s backseat a comfortable place to be and finally allow the rear seats to be folded down without moving the front seats forward. To top it all off, dual 12.3-inch displays give the old-school G550 a modern feel inside.
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Things We Don’t Like
1. The Cost
The G550 starts at just over $125,000 with destination, and in Mercedes-Benz tradition can be optioned to your heart’s desire — though your accountant might object. Our tester topped out at slightly less than $150,000, which is coincidentally around the starting price for the G63 variant. The G550 also drinks premium fuel — of course — though “gulps” might be a better word choice, with a 13/17/14 mpg city/highway/combined fuel-economy rating.
2. Not Thoroughly Modern Inside
While the twin screens are nice, the G550 also doesn’t come with Mercedes’ latest MBUX infotainment system, instead using the previous Comand technology. It’s not that Comand is terrible, it’s just that in a car like the G-Wagen, you should get the very best. The touch-sensitive steering-wheel controls are easy to accidentally activate, as well, which can get annoying quickly.
3. Wind Is Your Enemy
While the redesign has done wonders to improve the G550’s on-road stability with a new independent front suspension, in Bragman’s words, “You’re more at the mercy of stiff crosswinds than Christopher Columbus.” Even without the wind trying to interfere, the G550 still handles and feels like an off-roader rather than a refined SUV.
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