Introduced for the 1998 model year, the Mercedes-Benz ML320 is a medium-sized sport utility vehicle (SUV). Though produced by a German company, the vehicle is manufactured in Alabama. Unlike many other SUVs, the ML320 is designed for luxury and comfort, and is not intended to see rough off-road use. This focus on luxury helped the ML320 win the Truck of the Year award from Motor Trend Magazine, and the North American International Auto Show Truck of the Year award, both in 1998.
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The Mercedes-Benz ML320 features a six-cylinder gasoline engine with 3.2 litres, or 3,200 cubic centimetres, of displacement. The engine has 18 valves and produces approximately 215 horsepower at its maximum of 5,700 revolutions per minute (rpm.) The torque produced by this engine is 229 foot-pounds.
Linked to this engine is an electronically controlled five-speed automatic transmission with overdrive. In addition to this transmission, and two-speed transfer case allows the ML320 to operate in high and low four-wheel drive gears. Even at highway speeds, the ML320 is able to maintain full time four-wheel traction due to this transfer case.
The ML320 has an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimated miles per gallon (mpg) rating of 17mpg in the city and 21mpg on the highway. According to the Auto Channel, customers report an average real-world mpg of approximately 19.
During hard acceleration, the ML320 is able to go from zero to 60 miles per hours in nine seconds. Its maximum quarter-mile time is 17 seconds. When used for towing, the vehicle is rated at a 5,000 pound maximum capacity. A class-three towing hitch is standard.
Both driver and passenger front airbags are standard on the ML320. Additionally, the vehicle comes standard with side-impact airbags. Additional safety features include crash absorption zones in the front and rear.
Seat belts with adjustable shoulder straps are included in both the front and rear seats. The ML320 also comes standard with a four-wheel anti-lock break system (ABS), which assists in stopping the vehicle during wet and slippery conditions.
Power windows, power door locks and air conditioning are standard on the ML320. With two front-row and three back-row seats, the vehicle is able to accommodate five people comfortably. A radio and cassette player are standard.
Though not standard, a special luxury package is also available on the ML320. This upgrade includes leather seats with built-in heat. The luxury option also includes privacy tinted glass on the windows, and comes with a trip computer and outdoor temperature readout.
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