2014 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class
After gaining a new diesel-engine option midway through model-year 2013, the compact Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class stands pat for 2014. As with the full-size GL-Class, the diesel version is the entry-level model in the range. It’s a 200-horsepower 2.1-liter four-cylinder unit. Despite standard all-wheel drive, the GLK250 BlueTec achieves an impressive EPA combined city/highway fuel economy score of 28 mpg. Gasoline-powered GLK350 models also return with a 302-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 and 21 mpg fuel economy rating for both the rear- and AWD editions. This compact luxury SUV’s cabin is as well appointed as you’d expect a Mercedes to be, and GLK is available with a full complement of the latest safety technologies. Its looks might be a bit too boxy for style-conscious shoppers, and while the base-price range of $38,405-$39,905 is competitive, it quickly shoots skyward as you add costly packaged and standalone options.
2014 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
Mercedes’ five-passenger midsize SUV enters the 2014 model year with no major changes. Though its official name is M-Class, model designations start with the ML prefix. The lineup consists of the turbodiesel ML350 BlueTec and gasoline V-6 ML350, V-8 ML550, and high-performance V-8 ML63 AMG. Horsepower ratings are 240, 302, 402, and 516, respectively. ML63 buyers can order a special package that increases horsepower to 550. Diesel models rate a thrifty-for-the-class 23 mpg city/highway combined while gas models range from 15-20. All M-Class variants boast high levels of refinement. They’re not especially fun to drive, with the exception of the ML63 AMG. That privilege will cost you plenty, though; its base price is $98,175. Non-AMG versions start at $48,715, but that figure is deceptive as it doesn’t include such niceties as satellite radio or a rearview camera. Worthwhile safety features, such as blind-spot alert, are only available as part of costly option packages, which further inflate the bottom line.
2014 Porsche Cayenne
Model-year 2014 is a quiet one for Porsche’s midsize SUV following a busy 2013 that saw the addition of diesel, gas/electric hybrid (read more in the CarPreview.com 2014 Electric and Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle Buying Guide), and sporty GTS variants. Cayenne is Porsche’s best-selling vehicle, and it does a fine job of injecting some sport into the sport utility vehicle segment. Flavors range from mild to wild with the top-line Turbo S model producing 550 horsepower. This SUV might not be as opulent inside as its contemporaries, but it more than gets the job done. It’s a worthwhile compromise considering how enjoyable it is to drive. EPA projected fuel economy ranges from 16-23 mpg city/highway combined. Like other German-brand luxury SUVs, Cayenne’s starting price of $50,575 is in line with the class, but you will have to pay plenty extra for items that are otherwise standard in other high-class SUVs. You’ll have to open up your wallet especially wide if you want the Turbo S, as it will set you back at least $146,975.