Mercedes-Benz continued to make improvements to its ML430 for the 2001 model year. Part of the automaker's focus was on improving the vehicle's off-road capabilities. Upgrades included a "downhill traction function" that automatically engages to assist drivers with braking when descending hills at low speeds of 2 to 12 mph. A similar system, called the "two foot mode," assisted with braking and applying light throttle at "crawl" speeds when ascending steep slopes or climbing over obstacles.
Other new features of the 2001 ML430 included front airbags with dual-deployment levels and a Tele Aid emergency calling system, which uses GPS satellites to pinpoint the exact location of the vehicle in an emergency.
Of course, the ML430 still offered the luxury features drivers expected in a Mercedes, including burl walnut interior trim, leather seats (heated in the front), velour carpeting, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, power windows and door locks, anti-lock brakes, an anti-theft alarm system, and a keyless entry system, among other features.
Generally, drivers liked the ML430's styling, handling, roominess, and firm seats, though some still complained about the quality of some of the vehicle's components. Miles-per-gallon ratings were also a concern for some.