2019 GMC Yukon XL vs. 2019 Mercedes GLS

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front shoulder belts of the GMC Yukon XL 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 XL and GLS have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Yukon XL 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 XL 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 XL 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 XL 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 XL 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 XL 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 XL’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the GLS’ (6 vs. 5 years).

GMC pays for the first scheduled maintenance on the Yukon XL. GMC 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 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 XL’s warranty.

Reliability

The Yukon XL 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.

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Yukon XL’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 XL uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended on Yukon XL Graphite Performance Edition/Denali for maximum performance). The GLS requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Yukon XL has 4.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the GLS (31 vs. 26.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The Yukon XL 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 XL 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 XL stops shorter than the GLS:

 

Yukon XL

GLS

 

70 to 0 MPH

181 feet

186 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The GMC Yukon XL’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 XL 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 a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Yukon XL’s wheelbase is 8.9 inches longer than on the GLS (130 inches vs. 121.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Yukon XL 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 XL Denali 4x4 handles at .75 G’s, while the GLS 450 pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For greater off-road capability the Yukon XL has a greater minimum ground clearance than the AMG GLS 63 (7.9 vs. 7.8 inches), allowing the Yukon XL to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The front grille of the Yukon XL 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 XL 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 XL offers optional seating for 9 passengers; the GLS can only carry 7.

The Yukon XL has 1.6 inches more front headroom, 5 inches more front legroom, 6.3 inches more front shoulder room, 1.2 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 XL’s cargo area provides more volume than the GLS.

 

Yukon XL

GLS

Behind Third Seat

39.3 cubic feet

16 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

76.7 cubic feet

49.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

121.7 cubic feet

93.8 cubic feet

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

 

Yukon XL

GLS

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

31.6”/63.6”/100.3”

19.7”/52.4”/84.1”

Min Width

49.3”

n/a

Height

34.9”

n/a

The Yukon XL’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 XL 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.

Towing

Maximum trailer towing in the Mercedes GLS is limited to 7500 pounds. The Yukon XL offers up to a 8300 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

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

Recommendations

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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