2019 Buick Enclave vs. 2019 Mercedes GLS

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the Buick Enclave’s middle seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Mercedes GLS doesn’t offer comfort guides on its middle seat belts.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Enclave are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The GLS doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Enclave has a standard front seat center airbag, which deploys between the driver and front passenger, protecting them from injuries caused by striking each other in serious side impacts. The GLS doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

To help make backing safer, the Enclave Essence/Premium/Avenir’s 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 Enclave and the GLS have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

Warranty

Buick’s powertrain warranty covers the Enclave 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 Enclave’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the GLS’ (6 vs. 5 years).

Buick pays for the first scheduled maintenance on the Enclave. Buick will pay for the first oil change, lubrication and any other required maintenance in the first year. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the GLS.

There are over 5 times as many Buick dealers as there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Enclave’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick third in reliability, above the industry average. With 31 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Enclave AWD gets better fuel mileage than the GLS 450 V6 (17 city/25 hwy vs. 16 city/22 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Buick Enclave uses regular unleaded gasoline. The GLS requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Enclave 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.

Brakes and Stopping

The Enclave stops shorter than the GLS:

 

Enclave

GLS

 

60 to 0 MPH

130 feet

136 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

146 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The Buick Enclave’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Mercedes GLS only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Enclave 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

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Enclave is 2 inches wider in the front and .9 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the GLS.

For better maneuverability, the Enclave’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the GLS’ (39 feet vs. 40.7 feet).

Chassis

The Buick Enclave may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1000 to 1050 pounds less than the Mercedes GLS.

The front grille of the Enclave uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The GLS doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Enclave 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.

Passenger Space

The Enclave has .9 inches more front legroom, 3.9 inches more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear legroom, 3.4 inches more rear shoulder room and 6.8 inches more third row shoulder room than the GLS.

Cargo Capacity

The Enclave’s cargo area provides more volume than the GLS.

 

Enclave

GLS

Behind Third Seat

23.6 cubic feet

16 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

58 cubic feet

49.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

97.6 cubic feet

93.8 cubic feet

The Enclave’s cargo area is larger than the GLS’ in every dimension:

 

Enclave

GLS

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

23.8”/54”/90”

19.7”/52.4”/84.1”

Max Width

52.7”

n/a

Min Width

48.6”

n/a

Height

30.8”

n/a

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Enclave’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The GLS doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Enclave 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.

Consumer Reports rated the Enclave’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the GLS’ headlights, which were rated “Good.”

The Enclave 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.

Model Availability

The Enclave 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 Enclave owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Enclave will cost $3500 to $9190 less than the GLS over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Enclave is less expensive to operate than the GLS because typical repairs cost much less on the Enclave than the GLS, including $126 less for a water pump, $155 less for a muffler, $21 less for front brake pads, $282 less for a starter, $150 less for fuel injection, $328 less for front struts and $11 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Buick Enclave will be $28617 to $65972 less than for the Mercedes GLS.

Recommendations

The Buick Enclave outsold the Mercedes GLS by over two to one during 2018.

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

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