2020 Kia Telluride vs. 2019 Mercedes GLS

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Telluride and GLS have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Telluride 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 Telluride are reminded to check the back seat when a sensor determines the back seat is occupied. The GLS doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

To help make backing safer, the Telluride’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 Telluride and the GLS have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

Warranty

The Telluride comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The GLS’ 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Telluride 6 years and 50,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the GLS. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the GLS ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

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

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 20 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 15th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 8 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 12 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Telluride gets better fuel mileage than the GLS 450:

MPG

Telluride

FWD

3.8 DOHC V6

20 city/26 hwy

AWD

3.8 DOHC V6

19 city/24 hwy

GLS

AWD

450 3.0 Turbo V6

16 city/22 hwy

550 4.7 Turbo V8

14 city/19 hwy

AMG 63 5.5 Turbo V8

13 city/18 hwy

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

Brakes and Stopping

The Telluride stops much shorter than the GLS:

Telluride

GLS

70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

186 feet

Car and Driver

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Telluride is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 1.5 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the GLS.

The Telluride SX 4x4 handles at .81 G’s, while the GLS 450 pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Telluride’s turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the GLS’ (38.8 feet vs. 40.7 feet).

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

Chassis

The Kia Telluride may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1200 to 1300 pounds less than the Mercedes GLS.

The Telluride is 5.1 inches shorter than the GLS, making the Telluride easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Telluride SX 4x4 is quieter than the GLS 450 (36 vs. 37 dB).

Passenger Space

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

The Telluride has 11.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the GLS (155 vs. 143.6).

The Telluride has 3.8 inches more front legroom, 3.1 inches more front shoulder room, .2 inches more rear headroom, 3.9 inches more rear legroom, 2.9 inches more rear shoulder room and 4.8 inches more third row shoulder room than the GLS.

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

Cargo Capacity

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

Telluride

GLS

Behind Third Seat

21 cubic feet

16 cubic feet

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Telluride’s liftgate can be opened just by waiting momentarily behind 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

The Telluride offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed 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 Telluride 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 Telluride EX/SX has standard front air-conditioned seats and the Telluride SX offers them optionally in the second row. This keeps the passengers comfortable and takes the sting out of hot seats in summer. The GLS doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats for the second row.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Kia Telluride EX/SX has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) for the front seat. The GLS doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Model Availability

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

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

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