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New M-Class (W166) 2012, Read about the upcoming M-Class

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Old 03-31-2012, 05:39 AM   #1
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Night Vision Assist in ML350

I read that the NVA+ will soon be available in the ML350. I will be taking a test drive next Tuesday in anticipation of ordering a 2013 this summer. I plan to talk to the salesman about this feature but I wanted the impressions of actual users. I have searched the forum and there are a few posts on other boards where the reaction of drivers of other Mercedes vehicles so equipped are mixed. Some like the feature while others say it is a waste and nothing more than a toy. Most of the negative comments come from city dwellers who say it is not useful but admit that it might be in the country.

The reason I am interested in this option is that I do live in the country. There are no street lights out here whatsoever. What we do have in abundance is deer and wild hogs. I have had animal collisions before and there are stretches near my home where I dare not go above 40 mph. I would like the lighting package because of the enhancements over regular headlights for night driving but now that the NVA+ is available I want to know more about it and if anyone has had experience using this technology in dark, country driving conditions.

I have read it is different and (arguably better) than the BMW system. Has anyone had experience with either or both that could compare the two? Is the lighting package necessary with NVA+? Do these two options work together or does one override the other? From what I have read you need to use your low beams when using NVA which makes me think you might not want or even be able to order the lighting package if you opt for the NVA. I don't want both options if I can help it but then again, I do not want to rely only on a camera which might not be dependable and prone to problems. If I had to choose, I think I would want the best, wide-range lighting I could find. For those of you with experience, which one would you choose if you lived in the country or would you want both?
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:28 AM   #2
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Assuming that "NVA+" means NAV Plus or enhanced navigation system it seems to me that it might be handy for those who live in the sticks.If it reliably detects warm blooded creatures on (or near) the road in a timely fashion and gives some kind of warning (audible would be best IMO) it may well be worth considering.I live in the city but have done a fair amount of driving in the sticks (The Dakotas,Upper Michigan,Manitoba) and recall seeing *dozens* of huge blood spots on the highway...each one,I assume,having been a deer or something.
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:42 AM   #3
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Yes, I've hit deer before and it is not pretty. Two years ago a small buck jumped out in front of me and just grazed by bumper. He ran off unhurt with just a slight limp but I needed about $1300 worth of repair done! As I understand it, the "Plus" highlights forms and figures such as people (and I assume deer) into a little box on the screen to alert you they are in the field of view.

Since asking my question, I found a a couple videos on youtube which show how this camera works. The images are very clear, like a military night vision goggle and you can see much further and wider than you can with headlamps. It might indeed be useful but I don't even know how much extra this option will be on a ML350. On other models it is around $2000 I believe so I assume the ML350 pricing will be about the same.
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Old 03-31-2012, 03:55 PM   #4
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It is correct that Night View Assist will be available for MY13. Unfortunately, on Benzs other than the S/CL is relatively useless as the screen is in the center console. You simply cannot monitor the screen effectively/safely while driving.

Cool option to show your friends. That's about it.
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Old 03-31-2012, 06:34 PM   #5
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It is correct that Night View Assist will be available for MY13. Unfortunately, on Benzs other than the S/CL is relatively useless as the screen is in the center console. You simply cannot monitor the screen effectively/safely while driving.

Cool option to show your friends. That's about it.
Thanks for that information as that means everything. The youtube demos I saw had the screen in the main display area, not the center console. Of course, those were not the ML350. I don't know why they would do that with the ML.
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:23 PM   #6
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Buy the Bi-Xenon Active Headlights for sure! A bonus: The halogen cornering lights are a big help at HLR.

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Old 03-31-2012, 10:53 PM   #7
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I've used it extensively in the S550. Amazing in the thick of night especially at high speeds on roads in the middle of naught.

However, if its going to be on the middle console display then it is useless!

I was wondering how they would have fit it into the instrument cluster!

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Old 04-01-2012, 06:14 AM   #8
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I agree. I won't waste my money if it is not in the instrument cluster. How do they expect you to see the road looking down at the screen in the center console? It appears they want you to "fly by instrument"!

Wayne, I also agree with you. I want the lighting package for sure. As you point out, a good lighting system is probably the very best defense we have out here. You know as well as I do how the deer jump out, even within our gates. And especially where the woods are close to the road like down 49 and 2869 between 49 and 154. They are on you instantly and even a camera won't help in those situations. But my biggest worry is always that seven miles heading towards Pine Mills (that's where I hit one a couple years ago). I think the camera would help a lot down that stretch - but not if it is shown outside the instrument cluster.
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:38 AM   #9
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But my biggest worry is always that seven miles heading towards Pine Mills (that's where I hit one a couple years ago). I think the camera would help a lot down that stretch - but not if it is shown outside the instrument cluster.
deer whistle?
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Old 04-01-2012, 08:50 AM   #10
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deer whistle?
I've considered that. There are cheap models that operate from wind flow and other more expensive ones that are motor controlled. The problem is I am not sure of their effectiveness. They're cheap so you loose nothing and even if one deer is scared off it might prevent a bad accident. What effect it would have on other large game such as wild hogs I am not sure.

The article below represents one of the best reviews of these things I have found. It is not very encouraging. The review says the air whistles are useless but there is some hope for the electronic units. However, the bottom line is have good lights and use your horn, which should scare them more than a whistle - IF you see them in time.

http://www.thevog.net/forum/rights-a...t-by-fred-rau/

I also looked for brush buster grills for my truck but the ones made for my particular model are just that - for brush. They are not stout enough to smash a deer to the pavement which is what I want, and would collapse at impact with anything bigger than a rabbit. Of course, such a contraption would be out of the question on a ML350 anyway.
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:52 PM   #11
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Deer & hog protection

Quote:
Originally Posted by shortspark View Post
I also looked for brush buster grills for my truck but the ones made for my particular model are just that - for brush. They are not stout enough to smash a deer to the pavement which is what I want, and would collapse at impact with anything bigger than a rabbit. Of course, such a contraption would be out of the question on a ML350 anyway.
In Australia you see all sorts of vehicles with very effective "bull bars" or "roo bars." The ones I've seen for the ML, however, typically are just a bar style with maybe a skid plate, which don't seem to offer too much protection for hitting an animal.
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Old 04-01-2012, 03:17 PM   #12
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Yes Greg, that is the problem with finding a guard for my Ridgeline. They look good and seem sturdy but that is for looks only and none I've found offer any real protection. I've checked with the manufacturer of one that seemed well built but they said it would collapse even at anything above very low speed impact. Of course nothing will protect you from a moose or elk but those are not the problem for me.

There are guards made for some trucks that are really heavy duty and if you hit a deer it will not collapse too much. More important is the design itself that would take the animal down rather than "flip" it up to the windshield. I came upon an accident scene in upstate New York once where a deer went through the windshield and injured the driver. Although nothing is a guarantee of course, the guard needs to be a little higher than the hood and angled slightly forward so it smashes the animal down to the ground, not up. Well, this has nothing to do with night vision cameras and if maybe I would spend more time watching the roads better I wouldn't be so paranoid!!
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Old 04-01-2012, 03:31 PM   #13
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You are unlikely to find what you're looking for, especially in an OEM solution. While a heavy-duty brush guard would be great protection against a deer, it wouldn't be so great for an unlucky pedestrian.

I believe you can still get a brush guard on the G-Wagen in USA, but not sure for how much longer...
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:00 AM   #14
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A heads up display on the windshield is the only way these gizmos would be effective. Didn't Cadillac have a heads up display a few years ago?
BINGO! Wonder whatever happened to it?

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...8/ai_21155127/

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Last edited by venchka; 04-02-2012 at 09:04 AM.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:33 AM   #15
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Yes, Cadillac used night cameras years ago and the article you posted verifies that. But I don't know what became of it either. I think this technology is good for people who live where we do, in the country with no lights and high animal concentrations. People who live in conditions such as that are in the minority of users so I can understand where only true "luxury" brands would have it available these days. BTW, I am meeting with your salesman Mike tomorrow for a test drive.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:05 AM   #16
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Good luck. If time permits, you might want to drive one of the gently used 2010/2011 M-class vehicles they have on hand to get a feel for the improvements in the 2012 version.

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Old 04-02-2012, 02:48 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by venchka View Post
A heads up display on the windshield is the only way these gizmos would be effective. Didn't Cadillac have a heads up display a few years ago?
BINGO! Wonder whatever happened to it?

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...8/ai_21155127/

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BMW is doing a great job with HUD these days. The new 6-series is a great example:

Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:03 AM   #18
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Doesnt NVA+ feature an external, computer controlled mini-spotlight that automatically shines a light on whatever heat the system detects? Thought i read that somewhere. If true, it would make the center mounted screen less bothersome. . .
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Old 04-03-2012, 09:03 AM
 
 
 
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2012, 350, assist, display, famatic, heads, helpful, lighting, mercedes, ml, ml350, night, package, view, vision, worth



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