2020 Lincoln Navigator vs. 2020 Mercedes G-Class

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Lincoln Navigator 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 G-Class has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

The middle row seatbelts optional on the Navigator Reserve/Black Label inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The G-Class doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

The Navigator Reserve/Black Label has a standard 360-Degree Camera 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 Navigator 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, driver alert monitors and available all wheel drive.

Warranty

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Lincoln’s powertrain warranty covers the Navigator 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.

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

Reliability

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The Navigator 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 reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The G-Class 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 Navigator second among large premium suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The G-Class isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lincoln vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lincoln fifth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 12th, below the industry average.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Lincoln vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lincoln 6 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Engine

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The Navigator’s 3.5 turbo V6 produces 34 more horsepower (450 vs. 416) and 60 lbs.-ft. more torque (510 vs. 450) than the G 550’s standard 4.0 turbo V8.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Navigator 4WD gets better fuel mileage than the G 550 (16 city/21 hwy vs. 13 city/17 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Lincoln Navigator 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 Navigator 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

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A ten-speed automatic is standard on the Lincoln Navigator, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a nine-speed automatic is available for the G-Class.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Navigator stops shorter than the G-Class:

Navigator

G-Class

60 to 0 MPH

132 feet

136 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Navigator Standard has standard 20-inch wheels. Smaller 19-inch wheels are standard on the G 550.

The Lincoln Navigator’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.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Lincoln Navigator has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Mercedes G-Class has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

The Navigator’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The G-Class doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Navigator’s wheelbase is 8.7 inches longer than on the G-Class (122.5 inches vs. 113.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Navigator is 2.8 inches wider in the front and 2.7 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the G-Class.

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

The Navigator Black Label 4WD handles at .74 G’s, while the G 550 pulls only .61 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Navigator Black Label 4WD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.3 seconds quicker than the G 550 (28.4 seconds @ .61 average G’s vs. 30.7 seconds @ .53 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Navigator’s turning circle is 3.6 feet tighter than the G-Class’ (41 feet vs. 44.6 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Navigator has a greater minimum ground clearance than the G-Class (9.6 vs. 9.5 inches), allowing the Navigator to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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For excellent aerodynamics, the Navigator 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 Navigator 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 Navigator 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

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

The Navigator has 65 cubic feet more passenger volume than the G-Class (172 vs. 107).

The Navigator has 5.2 inches more front legroom, 7.4 inches more front shoulder room, 1.6 inches more rear legroom and 7.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the G-Class.

Cargo Capacity

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

Navigator

G-Class

Third Seat Folded

57.5 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

38.1 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

103.3 cubic feet

68.6 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Navigator’s second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The G-Class doesn’t offer automatic folding second row seats.

The Navigator’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 Navigator’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 Navigator’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

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Maximum trailer towing in the Mercedes G-Class is limited to 7000 pounds. The Navigator offers up to a 8700 lbs. towing capacity.

The Navigator 4WD with optional equipment can be flat towed on all four wheels (dinghy towed), allowing recreational vehicle owners to bring it with them on the road. When they reach their destination, the Navigator can be unhitched and driven around locally. The G-Class can’t be towed flat on the ground.

Ergonomics

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The Navigator (except Standard) offers an available heads-up display that projects speed and navigation instruction 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.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Navigator’s exterior PIN entry system. The G-Class doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its Mercedes-Benz Emergency Call can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Navigator has a standard rear variable 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.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Navigator has standard extendable sun visors. The G-Class doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Navigator 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

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

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Navigator owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Navigator will cost $6015 to $6700 less than the G-Class over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lincoln Navigator will be $30139 to $77494 less than for the Mercedes G-Class.

Recommendations

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Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its January 2019 issue and they ranked the Lincoln Navigator Black Label 4WD higher than the Mercedes G 550.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Navigator first among large premium suvs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The G-Class isn’t in the top three.

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the Navigator as the 2018 North American Truck of the Year. The G-Class has never been chosen.

The Lincoln Navigator/Navigator L outsold the Mercedes G-Class by almost three to one during 2019.

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