Not a matter of how they look....its a matter of the fact that these retractable running boards make this SUV the easiest to get in and out of for both myself and the wife...... more so than the past 3 MB's I have had with the factory fixed boards ( that looked better )...actually one of the reasons I moved to the Caddy....Benz doesn't offer 'em! The Lincoln Navigator has also adopted the retractables.......the whole idea being that they move out to a point that is actually useful !! My point was ..... clean the slop away before it freezes!And that's a reason not to get this option if you live in the northeast! Permanently present running boards don't look so bad anyway, been living with them on my SUVs for 20 years now.