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Many wonder why people call any product from Germany, the 'German machine.' Those seeking an answer to the riddle may need to experience the ruggedness and luxury of the 2010 Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

Although the vehicle is in the same segment with Land Rover Range Rover, Hummer H2 and Lexus LX 470, whose designs are based on military vehicles, the 2010 G-Class certainly stands out from the crowd, says an online auto magazine,

Designed to be a durable, reliable, and rugged off-roader, the G-Class is characterised by its boxy styling and body-on-frame construction. It utilises three fully locking differentials, one of the few vehicles to have such a feature, wikipedia. org, notes.

Another online authority on automobiles, MSN Autos, which includes the BMW X5 on the list of its competitors, describing as all classy and pricey, says, 'The G-Class is boxy but imposing because it's huge and a second glance reveals that it carries the esteemed Mercedes logo. It stands so tall that it helps to have Schwarzenegger-type muscles and the vehicle's running boards to enter the leather-bathed, wood-trimmed interior.'

Mercedes says it can climb grades up to 36 degrees and is stable on lateral slopes up to 24 degrees.

Ride and handling
The car manufacturer says there is a limit as to how fast a sensible driver would want to go in a G-Class because it is such a big, tall, heavy vehicle, weighing about 5,500 pounds. However, the G-Class drives remarkably well for something originally designed for military use, says MSN Autos.

Its power steering is heavy, but it is quick enough to undertake its task. The G-Class sweeps through curves at fairly high speeds without much body sway. Helping keep the two G-Class sport-utes stable are a traction control system for slippery roads and a stability control system that detects an impending slide or spin and helps keep the vehicle on track.

The ride is comfortable, and the brake pedal has a nice progressive action. The anti-lock brakes have a brake-assist feature that ensures full-power braking in emergency stops.

With its tall-wagon handling and decent ride, the G-Class commands greater respect in its extreme off-road talents. It looks heavy-duty. An automatic four-wheel-drive system with three electronic locking differentials and low-range gearing keeps it clawing over rocky paths and plugging through muddy bogs where only Land Rovers and wildlife are found.

Experts insist that the off-road capability is a big selling point for the 2010 Mercedes-Benz G-Class. For instance, Edmunds, which notes that the G-Class is better off pavement than on, says, 'The G exhibits significant body roll, while its front and rear solid-axle suspension is better suited for tackling rugged off-road hills than it is for cruising through Beverly Hills.' Car and Driver states that the vehicle 'will go places others can't' and 'negotiate the most taxing terrain, thanks to solid axles, high ground clearance, and three lockable differentials.'

It is a five-seat SUV with plenty of cargo room, but passengers will notice it takes a good climb to get into the G-Class, and cargo loading through the side-hinged rear door takes a higher lift than in today's crossovers. Edmunds says 'step-in height is rather lofty-requiring standard running boards-and it combines with smallish doors to make climbing aboard the G-Class a tight squeeze.' Kelley Blue Book observes the Mercedes-Benz G-Class has 'generous storage space' and notes that the 'rear seats are split in a 60/40 configuration and can be folded and flipped to provide more cargo room.'

High-quality materials and an excellent finish mark the cabin. Edmunds criticises its test vehicle for doors that 'close with an unsubstantial 'click' rather than the typical, reassuring Mercedes 'thud.'' Edmunds also notes that 'premium leather and wood cover most surfaces, and buttons and switches are typical of those found in other Mercedes-Benz cars and SUVs, but the upright dashboard and seating position are more Jeep Wrangler than $80,000-plus luxury SUV.' Kelley Blue Book takes issue with noise levels, suggesting that they 'lag behind those of the Land Rover Range Rover and Cadillac Escalade,' but Car and Driver observes that the 2010 G-Class is 'surprisingly quiet at speed.'

TheCarConnection provides a critical detailed review of the safety features. It says, Mercedes-Benz does fit the G-Class with most of the safety gear it puts in other vehicles. Anti-lock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake force distribution along with stability control are standard in the 2010 Mercedes-Benz G-Class, as are curtain airbags. However, both and Edmunds report that, while there are full side-curtain airbags, seat-mounted side airbags are not included.

A rearview camera is standard, and it is useful since visibility is constrained at the rear, where a wide frame surrounding the rear window blocks out most of the view. Kelley Blue Book notes that the rear park assist and rearview camera are standard and will help deal with blind spots. Car and Driver reports that because of the Mercedes-Benz 2010 G-Class' high seating position, the view ahead is 'unencumbered.'