Safety & Reliability

As of this writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not yet crash-tested the GL-Class. Eight standard airbags include three-row side curtain airbags and seat-mounted side-impact airbags for the first and second rows. Active head restraints, all-disc antilock brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system are also standard.

With Latch child-seat anchors for the outboard second- and third-row seats, don't be surprised if you're drafted to schlep the entire neighborhood's tots to daycare. The second row has top-tether anchors for all three seats, and they're conveniently mounted midway down the back of the seats. Parents should note that all the anchors have removable plastic covers. They're a pain in the neck to pry off, so here's betting you'll leave them off — and lose them over time.

Poor reliability is the GL's biggest drawback. In its first year on the market, the SUV earned the worst possible score, Much Worse Than Average, from Consumer Reports. The publication cited power accessories as the GL's biggest trouble spot. I'd be more concerned if large luxury SUVs weren't generally such a reliability abyss; the Escalade earned dismal CR scores, and although the publication didn't have sufficient data to rate the Range Rover or QX56 in 2007, both SUVs scored poorly in prior years. The Navigator is the one bright spot, with a CR rating of Better Than Average. The redesigned LX 570 hasn't been on the market long enough to gauge.

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    Problems with the side windows
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