2012 has brought minor changes to the Mercedes M-Class for one good reason: why would you want to mess with a good thing?

This very popular mid-size SUV had already established a nice niche in the market despite its price tag and the makers of Mercedes decided for 2012 they were just going to tweak it a bit but not bother with any major changes and that, my friends, was a good decision.

Offered in several trims this SUV has a little something for everyone.  It comes in the ML350, ML550 and the ML63 and all three are reliable and ooze comfort and quality.  The ML350 has a more powerful V6 with better fuel economy while the ML550 and ML63 have a more powerful V8 which can jump off the line if you feel like accelerating quickly.

The standard package is impressive as you would expect from Mercedes.  The front grille is more traditional this year and 19-inch wheels are standard.  They all offer a wonderful car stereo system and AC climate control and the braking system is superior considering this brute weighs in at over 5,000 lbs.

A 7-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard in all trims and manual transmission is available.  The interiors on all trims are lush and packed with extras, again as you would expect from a Mercedes.  The M-Class may be built like a brute but it drives like a luxury car; in other words, the perfect vehicle for a soccer mom with some extra money to spend.

Chief competition comes from the BMW X5, the Acura MDX and the Lexus RX and at a cheaper price point.  To spend the extra money on the Mercedes is a matter of personal preference for the model because there is very little separating the M-Class from its competition other than name.

Replacement parts are expensive as you would expect for a model at this price point and if you can find a salvage yard that has one of the 2012’s then you would be well-advised to pick up some recycled auto parts on the cheap and do the maintenance repairs yourself.  There is no sense paying a mechanic labor costs and also paying for new aftermarket parts if you don’t have to.  One nice feature is that the engine on the M-Class is easily accessible and most repairs do not involve extensive labor.

All in all this is a fine vehicle worth of the Mercedes name.