The new ML is the best Mercedes-Benz we’ve ever tested at the Tow Car Awards, and very nearly the best big 4×4 in this year’s competition.

Stability at speed proved impeccable, all the way up to 70mph – which is why our What Car? road tester described the ML as ‘outstanding – very balanced and controllable’.

Performance was also exceptional, with a 30-60mph time of 9.3 seconds making the Merc one of a handful of cars to dip under the 10-second barrier. The engine’s smooth and quiet manners are every bit as remarkable as its power. Like any of the top-three heavyweights, the ML found the hill-start test almost insultingly easy.

The Merc’s suspension feels firmer than the Land Rover’s, but it’s still impressively supple by most standards. Then again, so it should be when our test car came equipped with air suspension, a £1175 option, and the Active Curve System to reduce roll in corners, costing £3240.

Inside, the cabin is spacious for five, with plenty of legroom in the back, although it doesn’t feel as well appointed inside as the Range Rover.

Our practicality judges found room for a typical load of holiday luggage but noted that the electric socket fouled the trim.

2018
Category Winners
2018 Up to 1400kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI 150PS SE L DSG

2018 1400-1549kg

Skoda Superb

2.0 TDI 150PS SE L Executive

2018 1550-1699kg

Peugeot 5008

2.0 BlueHDi EAT8 S&S GT

2018 1700-1899kg

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport

2018 1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE

2018 Best Family SUV

Volvo XC40

Volvo XC40 D4 AWD R-Design Pro

2018 Best Petrol Tow Car

Kia Stinger

2.0 T-GDi GT-Line

2018 Best Ultralight Tow Car

Volkswagen Polo

1.0 TSI 115PS SEL DSG

2018 Fuel Economy Award

Hyundai i30 Tourer

1.6 CRDi 110PS Premium

Previous Winners
2017
1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE*

2016
1400-1549kg

Skoda Superb Hatch

2.0 TDI 150PS SE Business

2015
1400-1549kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI BMT 150PS SE Business DSG

2014
1400-1549kg

Nissan Qashqai

1.6 dCi (130PS) Stop/Start System Acenta Premium

2013
Up to 1424kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI CR 150PS Elegance

2012
1725–1899kg

Jaguar XF

2.2D Premium Luxury

2011
1425-1574kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI 170 Bluemotion Sport

2010
1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery 4

3.0 TDV6 XS

2009
1900kg+

Volvo XC60

D5 SE Geartronic

2008
1575-1724kg

Ford Mondeo Estate

2.0 TDCi Titanium auto

2007
1575-1724kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI Sport 4Motion

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