Pros: Mercedes' only hybrid SUV; "green" image that comes from hybrid ownership; typical Mercedes-Benz craftsmanship and quality

Cons: Fuel economy similar to cheaper ML350 BlueTEC diesel; far more expensive than gasoline ML350; resale value will reflect its lack of popularity

What's new: The 2011 Mercedes-Benz ML450 Hybrid received no major changes in its final model year. The hybrid powertrain didn't return when the M-Class was redesigned for 2012.

Overview:

The Mercedes-Benz ML450 Hybrid was the brand's first attempt at a hybrid SUV. While the second-generation M-Class debuted for the 2006 model year, the ML450 Hybrid was only available in 2010 and 2011. It was sold alongside a similarly efficient diesel model, which arrived for the 2007 model year.

The ML450 Hybrid mated a 275-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 to an 80-hp electric motor. Fuel economy ratings from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were 20 miles per gallon in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. Those numbers only slightly bested the diesel-powered ML350 CDI's 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway fuel ratings. Like the ML350 CDI, but unlike the regular ML350, the ML450 Hybrid was only offered with all-wheel drive.

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz ML450 Hybrid started around $56,500, making it around $5,000 more expensive than the ML350 CDI. It also was around $7,000 pricier than the gas-powered ML350 4Matic. All ML450 Hybrid models used a continuously variable automatic transmission, designed for maximum gas mileage.

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Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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