2020 Cadillac Escalade ESV vs. 2019 Mercedes G-Class

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front shoulder belts of the Cadillac Escalade ESV 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 G-Class has only front height-adjustable 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 Escalade ESV are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The G-Class doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Escalade ESV 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 G-Class doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Escalade ESV Premium Luxury/Platinum has standard Reverse Automatic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The G-Class doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Escalade ESV has a standard Surround Vision to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The G-Class only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the Escalade ESV and the G-Class 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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

The Escalade ESV’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the G-Class’ (6 vs. 5 years).

There are over 2 times as many Cadillac dealers as there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Escalade ESV’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Escalade ESV first among large premium suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The G-Class isn’t in the top three in its category.

Engine

The Escalade ESV’s 6.2 V8 produces 4 more horsepower (420 vs. 416) and 10 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 450) than the G 550’s standard 4.0 turbo V8.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Escalade ESV 4WD gets better fuel mileage than the G 550 (14 city/21 hwy vs. 13 city/17 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Cadillac Escalade ESV uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The G-Class requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Escalade ESV has 4.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the G-Class (31 vs. 26.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The Escalade ESV 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 G-Class doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Cadillac Escalade ESV, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a nine-speed automatic is available for the G-Class.

Brakes and Stopping

The Escalade ESV stops much shorter than the G-Class:

Escalade ESV

G-Class

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

136 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Escalade ESV’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the G-Class (285/45R22 vs. 275/55R19).

The Escalade ESV’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the G-Class’ optional 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Escalade ESV has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 19-inch wheels are standard on the G-Class.

The Cadillac Escalade ESV’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Mercedes G-Class only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Escalade ESV 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 G-Class doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The Escalade ESV has a standard automatic rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The G-Class doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Escalade ESV’s wheelbase is 16.2 inches longer than on the G-Class (130 inches vs. 113.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Escalade ESV is 4.2 inches wider in the front and 4.2 inches wider in the rear than on the G-Class.

The Escalade ESV’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51% to 49%) than the G-Class’ (53% to 47%). This gives the Escalade ESV more stable handling and braking.

The Escalade ESV 4WD handles at .76 G’s, while the G 550 pulls only .61 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Escalade ESV 4WD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.8 seconds quicker than the G 550 (27.9 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 30.7 seconds @ .53 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Escalade ESV’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the G-Class’ (43 feet vs. 44.6 feet).

Chassis

For excellent aerodynamics, the Escalade ESV has standard flush composite headlights. The G-Class has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.

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

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

Passenger Space

The Escalade ESV offers optional seating for 8 passengers; the G-Class can only carry 5.

The Escalade ESV has 15.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the G-Class (122.4 vs. 107).

The Escalade ESV has .9 inches more front headroom, 6.6 inches more front legroom, 7.1 inches more front shoulder room, .2 inches more rear legroom and 7 inches more rear shoulder room than the G-Class.

Cargo Capacity

The Escalade ESV’s cargo area provides more volume than the G-Class.

Escalade ESV

G-Class

Third Seat Folded

76.7 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

38.1 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

120.9 cubic feet

68.5 cubic feet

The Escalade ESV’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The G-Class’ swing out door blocks loading from the driver’s side.

The Escalade ESV’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The G-Class’ rear cargo window doesn’t open.

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Escalade ESV’s power cargo door can be opened or closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The G-Class doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening cargo door.

Towing

The Escalade ESV’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the G-Class’ (7900 vs. 7700 pounds).

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Cadillac service is better than Mercedes. J.D. Power ranks Cadillac third in service department satisfaction. With a 10% lower rating, Mercedes is ranked fifth.

Ergonomics

The Escalade ESV’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 G-Class does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The Escalade ESV Luxury/Premium Luxury/Platinum 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 G-Class doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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

The Escalade ESV has a standard heated steering wheel to take the chill out of steering on extremely cold winter days before the vehicle heater warms up. A heated steering wheel costs extra on the G-Class.

Model Availability

The Escalade ESV is available in both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The G-Class doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Recommendations

The Cadillac Escalade/Escalade ESV outsold the Mercedes G-Class by over 9 to one during 2018.

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

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