NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The Mercedes-Benz GL, a large luxury SUV, was named SUV of the Year by Motor Trend, the magazine announced Monday.

The GL isn't a cheap ride. The entry level GL350 starts at $63,305, while the top-level GL550 starts at about $88,500. With all the options, the GL550 tested by Motor Trend was priced at an ultra-hefty $108,310.

View photosBut, even at those prices, the GL still represents a strong value and a good buy given all that it offers, the magazine said.

Despite the rise in gas prices, SUVs, which have become lighter and more fuel efficient thanks to engineering advancements, remain a very popular choice with car shoppers.

To decide on the SUV of the year, the magazine started with every all-new or fully redesigned SUV model for the 2013 model year. Since these vehicles covered a wide range of types and prices, from small crossovers like the Subaru XV Crosstrek and the Honda CR-V to big vehicles like the GL and the Nissan Pathfinder, the vehicles were not compared directly to one another.

Instead, each vehicle was rated against six standard criteria: Design advancement, engineering excellence, performance of intended function, efficiency, safety and value. The winning vehicle would be the one that performed best against those six criteria, regardless of its price or size.

All the vehicles were put through a series of tests that included test-track maneuvers as well as on-road and off-road driving.

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Motor Trend SUV of the year: Mercedes GL

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