2019 Acura MDX vs. 2019 Mercedes GLS

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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To help make backing safer, the MDX’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The GLS doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the MDX and the GLS have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the MDX the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 100 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The GLS has not been tested, yet.


Acura’s powertrain warranty covers the MDX 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the GLS. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the GLS ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.


The engines in the MDX have a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engines in the GLS have dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Acura vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Acura 4 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the MDX Sport Hybrid gets better fuel mileage than the GLS 450 (26 city/27 hwy vs. 16 city/22 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the MDX gets better fuel mileage than the GLS:








3.5 SOHC V6

20 city/27 hwy



Sport Hybrid 3.0 V6 Hybrid

26 city/27 hwy



3.5 SOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy



A-Spec 3.5 SOHC V6

19 city/25 hwy




450 3.0 turbo V6

16 city/22 hwy



550 4.7 turbo V8

14 city/19 hwy



AMG 63 5.5 turbo V8

13 city/18 hwy

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the MDX’s fuel efficiency. The GLS doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Regenerative brakes improve the MDX Sport Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The GLS doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The MDX has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The GLS doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.


The MDX offers an available sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The GLS doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

The MDX stops shorter than the GLS:





70 to 0 MPH

185 feet

186 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

121 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

140 feet

146 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The MDX has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The GLS doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The MDX SH-AWD handles at .82 G’s, while the GLS 450 pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The MDX SH-AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the GLS 450 (27 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the MDX Sport Hybrid’s turning circle is 2.3 feet tighter than the GLS’ (38.4 feet vs. 40.7 feet). The MDX’s turning circle is 2 feet tighter than the GLS’ (38.7 feet vs. 40.7 feet).


The Acura MDX may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1250 to 1300 pounds less than the Mercedes GLS.

The MDX is 5.8 inches shorter than the GLS, making the MDX easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The MDX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The GLS doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the MDX SH-AWD is quieter than the GLS 450 (36 vs. 37 dB).

Passenger Space

The MDX has 1.1 inches more front legroom, 2.6 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear shoulder room and 4.2 inches more third row shoulder room than the GLS.


The MDX’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. An easy entry system costs extra on the GLS.

The MDX offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The GLS doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the MDX has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the GLS only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

The MDX has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the GLS.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Acura MDX offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) for the front seat. The GLS doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Acura MDX offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) for the front seat. The GLS doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Model Availability

The MDX is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The GLS doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the MDX owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the MDX will cost $3770 to $9475 less than the GLS over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the MDX is less expensive to operate than the GLS because it costs $126 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the MDX than the GLS, including $296 less for a water pump, $61 less for a muffler, $124 less for a starter, $200 less for front struts, $1 less for a timing belt/chain and $179 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Acura MDX will be $26800 to $62920 less than for the Mercedes GLS.


The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Acura MDX, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels.

The Acura MDX outsold the Mercedes GLS by over two to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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