2019 GMC Yukon vs. 2019 Mercedes GLS

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front shoulder belts of the GMC Yukon are height-adjustable, and the middle and rear 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.

Both the Yukon and GLS have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Yukon has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The GLS’ child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

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 Yukon 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 Yukon 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 Yukon SLT/Denali’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 Yukon and the GLS have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems and blind spot warning systems.

Warranty

GMC’s powertrain warranty covers the Yukon 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the GLS. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the GLS ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The Yukon’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the GLS’ (6 vs. 5 years).

GMC pays for scheduled maintenance on the Yukon for 2 years and 24,000 miles. GMC will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance (up to 2 oil changes). Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the GLS.

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

Reliability

The Yukon has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The GLS doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Yukon second among large suvs in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The GLS isn’t in the top three in its category.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the GMC Yukon uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended on Yukon Graphite Performance Edition/Denali for maximum performance). The GLS requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Yukon 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.

Transmission

A ten-speed automatic is standard on the GMC Yukon Graphite Performance Edition/Denali, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a nine-speed automatic is available for the GLS.

Brakes and Stopping

The Yukon stops shorter than the GLS:

 

Yukon

GLS

 

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The GMC Yukon’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 Yukon 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 Yukon is 3.4 inches wider in the front and 2.6 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the GLS.

The Yukon SLT 4x4 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the GLS 450 (27.5 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

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

For greater off-road capability the Yukon has a greater minimum ground clearance than the AMG GLS 63 (8 vs. 7.8 inches), allowing the Yukon to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The front grille of the Yukon 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 Yukon Graphite Performance Edition//Denali 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 Yukon offers optional seating for 9 passengers; the GLS can only carry 7.

The Yukon has 1.6 inches more front headroom, 5 inches more front legroom, 6.3 inches more front shoulder room, .5 inches more rear legroom, 6.8 inches more rear shoulder room and 12.1 inches more third row shoulder room than the GLS.

Cargo Capacity

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

 

Yukon

GLS

Third Seat Folded

51.7 cubic feet

49.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

94.7 cubic feet

93.8 cubic feet

The Yukon’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The GLS’ rear cargo window doesn’t open.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Yukon SLT/Denali’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.

Payload and Towing

Maximum trailer towing in the Mercedes GLS is limited to 7500 pounds. The Yukon offers up to a 8500 lbs. towing capacity.

The Yukon has a higher standard payload capacity than the GLS (1650 vs. 1587 lbs.).

Ergonomics

The Yukon’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The GLS does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The Yukon Graphite Performance Edition/Denali has a standard heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation 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 Yukon 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 Yukon 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 Yukon is available in both rear-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 Yukon owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Yukon will cost $3830 to $9190 less than the GLS over a five-year period.

The Yukon will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Yukon will retain 52.03% to 54.5% of its original price after five years, while the GLS only retains 43.11% to 44.05%.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the GMC Yukon will be $27208 to $61072 less than for the Mercedes GLS.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Yukon second among large suvs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The GLS was rated third in its category.

The GMC Yukon/Yukon XL outsold the Mercedes GLS by almost four to one during 2018.

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

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