2019 Nissan Armada vs. 2019 Mercedes GLS

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Nissan Armada are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Mercedes GLS doesn’t offer height-adjustable 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 Armada 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 Armada has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The GLS doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Armada (except SV) offers optional Backup Collision Intervention that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The GLS doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

To help make backing safer, the Armada (except SV)’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 Armada 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

Warranty

Nissan’s powertrain warranty covers the Armada 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.

There are almost 3 times as many Nissan dealers as there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Armada’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 14th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 14 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Nissan 3 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Engine

The Armada’s 5.6 DOHC V8 produces 28 more horsepower (390 vs. 362) and 25 lbs.-ft. more torque (394 vs. 369) than the GLS 450’s standard 3.0 turbo V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

Brakes and Stopping

The Armada stops shorter than the GLS:

 

Armada

GLS

 

70 to 0 MPH

182 feet

186 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

The Nissan Armada’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 Armada 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 Armada is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the GLS.

For greater off-road capability the Armada SV has a 1.3 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the AMG GLS 63 (9.1 vs. 7.8 inches), allowing the Armada to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The design of the Nissan Armada amounts to more than styling. The Armada has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .37 Cd. That is lower than the GLS (.37 to .38). A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Armada get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space

The Armada has standard seating for 8 passengers; the GLS can only carry 7.

The Armada has 10.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the GLS (154.5 vs. 143.6).

The Armada has 1.6 inches more front legroom, 5.3 inches more front shoulder room, 2.5 inches more rear legroom, 5.1 inches more rear shoulder room and 10 inches more third row shoulder room than the GLS.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Armada’s middle and third row seats recline. The GLS’ third row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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

 

Armada

GLS

Behind Third Seat

16.5 cubic feet

16 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

49.9 cubic feet

49.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

95.4 cubic feet

93.8 cubic feet

Towing

The Armada’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the GLS’ (8500 vs. 7500 pounds).

Ergonomics

The Armada’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.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Armada 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 Armada 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 Armada 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 Armada owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Armada will cost $330 to $6850 less than the GLS over a five-year period.

The Armada will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Armada will retain 44.62% to 46.35% of its original price after five years, while the GLS only retains 43.11% to 44.05%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Armada is less expensive to operate than the GLS because typical repairs cost much less on the Armada than the GLS, including $508 less for a water pump, $163 less for a muffler, $132 less for front brake pads, $193 less for a starter, $264 less for fuel injection, $51 less for a fuel pump, $108 less for front struts and $468 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Nissan Armada will be $20405 to $56726 less than for the Mercedes GLS.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Nissan Armada, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Mercedes GLS isn't recommended.

The Nissan Armada outsold the Mercedes GLS by 49% during 2018.

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

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