The not so good

* Space and performance * The family loved it * Two faults is unforgiveable...

The not so good

It sounds like all was rosy, doesnt it? However, Im afraid theres a big, bad but rolling into town. Unfortunately, I got all too used to Mercedes rescue service.

On the first occasion, a couple of colleagues had mentioned that the car had occasionally stuck in gear. I hadnt noticed it, but I called Mercedes rescue anyway. They turned up promptly enough, but pronounced it NFF No Fault Found.

It was the next day on the motorway when I noticed the car was stuck in seventh gear. Not too much of a problem at 70mph, but when I came off the motorway and into town traffic, the car was far from happy.

So the car went off to Mercedes Brentford (020 8560 2151), where a faulty electromechanical valve sensor in the gearbox was diagnosed. That, of course, had to be sourced from Germany, and it took a week to arrive.

One fault can be forgiven, but two? The second one was rather odd. It happened while we were on our caravan holiday: wed dressed up and were ready to go out for the evening, and the car wouldnt start. Whats more, the clock was going backwards and the windows were opening on their own. Bizarre. The rescue service got the car going, but back the car went again, this time for a faulty signal acquisition module to be changed.

Two faults in under a year is pretty unforgivable in any car, really even if Mercedes-Benzs reaction to both of these was swift and professional.

The problems may have tarnished my own feelings towards the GL, but it didnt dent the rest of the familys enthusiasm for the Mercedes. My wife Victoria loved its comfort, my daughter Gemma loved the fact that she could escape from her brothers and still have plenty of space to herself in the third row, and both my boys Harry and Jack loved it because it was big!

Me? Nagging doubts about the cars reliability remain, but on
the whole the GL left a pretty positive impression and assured me that it is possible to combine luxury, seven people and decent performance together in one prestige package.