I think this is the new ML350; I saw it along Beacon Street the other day. It's fine, I guess, but not enough of a change over that old, clunky, ML to make me think I want one, even if I weren't scared off MB because of the quality issues, which I am, and even if it didn't look like a minivan, which it does. Which is a nice segue to the topic I really want to bring up: the new, hip, family vehicle in our social set in the Back Bay is quite surprising. At least, it surprised me.
I know several couples who are trading their expensive German cars for an unlikely new star of the neighborhood. I didn't believe it at first, but the Toyota Sienna minivan is popular around here. Apparently, it's enough like a Lexus that people are willing to overlook the Toyota badge as they trade in their BMW X5's and their Mercedes ML's. Of course, only the top-line XLE Limited will do, but it's a still a surprise to see these wealthy, status-conscious, couples buying a minivan. Even my wife is getting interested, and she's Mrs. No-way-No-how-Not-ever-No-Minivan-Never. All of which leads me to wonder why Lexus doesn't badge-engineer a minivan. Just change the nameplates, make DVD navigation standard, and add $5000 to the price. I promise people will buy them. That's what they did with the Lexus LX (a Landcruiser with a fancy name), and it worked. Watch for a Lexus minivan; you heard it here first.