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Automotive Section


Mercedes-Benz creates a nice new 'cute ute'  

The small SUV niche is a crowded and popular market these days, with entries from just about every major automotive brand. So if a new kid on the block wants a piece of this luxuriant landscape of lucre, they'd better offer something pretty compelling.

And that's exactly what Mercedes-Benz has done with its new GLA 250 4MATIC, a handsome and capable vehicle that's not only a nice entry into this niche but is also a way for new customers to discover the joys of owning a Mercedes-Benz.

It's funny to think of one of the world's oldest surviving automaker as being a new kid on the block, but the closest the company has come to making an "entry level" (for a premium car company, anyway) SUV before was the GLK – which is also a very nice vehicle but a tad bigger and more up market than the new GLA. more...

Mercedes-Benz CLA 250 4Matic a fine sedan

It isn't the smallest car Mercedes-Benz sells in North America, but the CLA-class "four door coupe" is a very nice vehicle that, despite big time turbo lag, moves its passengers along smartly and in great comfort.

Designed to compete with such worthy cars as the Audi A3, Acura TLX, Lexus IS and the like, the CLA wears the "four door coupe" look the company pioneered with its original CLS a few years back. And while I think the four door coupe concept is silly - why not just call it a sedan and be done with it, since there's nothing wrong with having four doors? - it's a handsome car inside and out. And it starts at a reasonable (for a Benz, anyway) $34,300. more...

Mercedes-Benz E250 Bluetec boasts diesel economy and torque

Take a good diesel sedan and subtract two cylinders from its engine and what do you get?

In the case of Mercedes-Benz' new E250 Bluetech, you get a car that may have a tad less horsepower and torque than the outgoing model, but not enough less to make any substantive difference.

Gotta love the onward march of technology! more...

Mercedes driving course helps teach safe driving techniques – and more

What did the driver of the German car say when he wrapped it around a light pole?

"That's the way the Mercedes bends!"

A bad joke, indeed, but a good way to illustrate what Mercedes-Benz is accomplishing with its Driving Academy, a roving series of courses designed not only to help you drive more safely, but to also understand the capabilities of your car and its technology. It's also a delicious way to drive a whole bunch of fine Mercedes-Benz vehicles in a single setting – and how bad can that be? more...

Mercedes-Benz GLK 350 – smooth and luxurious small SUV

It's German, it's luxurious, it's built well and it's nice to drive. And perhaps best of all, it's entry level – at least as entry level as one can expect from a marque such as Mercedes-Benz.

There's a lot that's new about the GLK 350, including exterior and interior tweaks and new technology designed to make this "cute ute" even more compelling than the previous model – which was itself no slouch. more...

Mercedes E 300: new entry in the E class

The words "entry level" and "Mercedes-Benz" may sound a lot like an oxymoron, but in the case of the E 300 4MATIC sedan, it's very nearly appropriate.

That's because the E 300 is the low sedan on the E-Class totem pole, one that extends right up to such heights as represented by the company's awesome E63 AMG sport sedan that is apparently quite the tire shredder.

Naturally, you sacrifice some stuff to be the entry level, chief of which in this particular case is that you get a less powerful V6 engine than you'll find in other gas-fired E's. more...

Mercedes-Benz' Slick new SLK

Mercedes-Benz sporty SLK is back with a new, third generation version that's attractive, luxurious, and fun to drive.

And the two seat, retractable hard top "vario-roof" car looks and works better than ever, with a new exterior that's reminiscent of the company's SLS AMG supercar, and with enough performance and technology to please the discerning driver. more...


Mercedes-Benz' "entry level" SUV offers a lot of benefits for the luxury-minded consumer. The midsize GLK goes head to head with such worthy competitors as the Volvo XC60, VW Touareg, Lexus RX 350, BMW X5 and Audi Q5. And 'twould be tough, indeed, to decide between 'em if it were my money.  

The GLK 350 (as do many of today's vehicles) gets its motivation from a 3.5 liter, 24-valve V6 engine. This particular power plant could use just a smidgen more oomph than the 268 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm and 258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2,400-5,000 rpm provided, but it's hardly a deal breaker – and regardless of my oomph angst, it's competitive in its class.  more...

2011 Mercedes Put Author At "E's"

Mercedes-Benz' E Class vehicles offer some compelling choices for drivers looking for a car that's state-of-the-art innovative, comfortable and classy.

I got to spend about a week in each of the E 350 4Matic sedan and the E 550 Cabriolet – proving once again what a great job I have – and, while both E class cars look, act and feel very different from each other, I came away liking both of them more than I thought I would.

Not that I didn't think they'd be great cars. After all, Mercedes-Benz needs no excuses. more...

smart fortwo - Smart? Or Just Politically Correct?

There are many, many good and economical cars on the market today. The "smart" fortwo is not one of them.

The "smart" fortwo is easily the worst new car I have driven. I knew within five minutes, maybe less, of having taken possession of the thing that my week would be an ordeal. And when my time was up I was very happy to turn in the stupidly-designed "black icons on a black background and therefore virtually illegible" key fob. more...

Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy

Take some world class cars from one of Germany's top marques, add a day on a road course race track learning and honing your driving skills, and what do you have?

Well, besides one of my ideas of heaven, you have the Mercedes-Benz Driving Academy. more...

Mercedes-Benz C300 4Matic

Mercedes-Benz' C class is the most affordable of the German carmaker's sedan line, but that doesn't mean it feels like an entry level vehicle. It is, after all, a Mercedes. And that means even its lower end cars are upper echelon in the grand scheme of things.

So it is with the new C. Mercedes-Benz says the fourth generation C300 has a greater emphasis on agility, safety and comfort than before, and with "a sportier flair." more...

Mercedes-Benz E280 4Matic

How can a sedan with a well-earned reputation for excellence leave a reviewer feeling ambivalent after a week behind the wheel?

It couldn't have been the fact that the 2007 Mercedes-Benz E280 4Matic is the "entry level" version of the popular E-Class; heck, a "lower end" Benz (which is about as close to an oxymoron as I can think of!) is still an important vehicle in the automotive world, a car that lets mere mortals know you've arrived. And when I drove the even more "entry level" B200 Turbo a while back, I loved the little critter. What gives? more...

Mercedes B200 Turbo – A Little Car that Can

Maybe Nissan shouldn't have cancelled its Axxess so many years ago.

That old car, long dead now, may have been ahead of its time because it almost seems like a "down market prototype" for the new Mercedes-Benz B 200 "Compact Sports Tourer."

While one could make the argument the B is really more like a miniature minivan than a "Sports Tourer," it's actually a fairly apt description of the beast. It's definitely compact and surprisingly sporty – and during my week of touring around the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in it I really started to like the little critter: it's fun to drive, roomy, efficient, classy – and features a wonderfully expansive sunroof through which you could very nearly parachute. When it's open, of course. more...

Mercedes Benz R – Class, in Minivan Clothes

Mercedes Benz may not want its new R Class to be known as a minivan, but it sure seems like a minivan to me – and a darn fine one at that.

The only real difference I can see between the R 350 I drove for a week and a garden variety minivan (other than M-B’s high end trappings and technology, of course) is the fact that its center passenger doors are hinged to open outward like the front doors instead of sliding backwards the way most minivan doors do.

On the other hand, it looks a lot like those so-called crossover vehicles that are becoming more common – vehicles that supposedly blur the line between minivan and SUV or SUV and wagon such as the Chrysler Pacifica or maybe GM’s models such as the Saturn Relay. DaimlerChrysler seems to want the R to be known as a “sports tourer,” and while I agree with the “tourer” part, I’m not sure a big vehicle like this has a lot of “sports” in it. more...

Reviews by Brand

Acura Audi BMW Cadillac Chevrolet Chrysler Dodge Ford GMC Honda Hummer
Hyundai Infiniti Jaguar/Land Rover Jeep Kia Lexus Lincoln Mazda Mercedes-Benz Mini Mitsubishi
Nissan Pontiac Porsche Saab Saturn Scion Subaru Suzuki Toyota Volkswagen Volvo

Jim Bray is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada. His columns are available through the TechnoFile Syndicate.

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