2010 Mercedes-Benz ML450 Hybrid at 2009 New York Auto Show

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  • Competes with: BMW X5 diesel, Cadillac Escalade Hybrid
  • Looks like: Mercedes has a shot at selling a hybrid
  • Drivetrain: 335-hp, two-mode gas-electric hybrid system
  • Hits dealerships: December 2009

If you make a hybrid, it better get good gas mileage. The 2010 ML450 Hybrid gets 21/24 mpg city/highway, which will make it the most efficient luxury SUV on the market that runs on gasoline and isn’t named Lexus. Only the BMW X5 diesel gets better mileage, at 19/26. The most fuel-efficient ML with a standard V-6 engine gets 16/21 mpg. This all-wheel-drive hybrid also packs 335 hp and 380 pounds-feet of torque, which closes in on V-8 offerings from the competition.

In 2009, Mercedes upgraded the ML’s interior and added a sophisticated infotainment system and a revised instrument panel and controls. It also brought a new diesel version of the SUV to market that gets 18/24 mpg. The hybrid system in the Mercedes is based on a joint program with BMW, GM and Chrysler, yet the ML450 Hybrid is the most efficient hybrid of this type to be produced by any member of that group.

While mileage may not matter to shoppers in this price bracket — we guess the ML450 Hybrid will be in the high-$50,000 to low-$60,000 range — the green halo may be worth the investment, especially if it can perform as well as other M-Class models.

More photos below.

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Former managing editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon. Email David Thomas

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