2020 Lincoln Navigator vs. 2020 Mercedes GLS

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 GLS doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle 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 GLS doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

Both the Navigator 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive and around view monitors.

Warranty

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Lincoln’s powertrain warranty covers the Navigator 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the GLS. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the GLS 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 GLS doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Navigator’s reliability 17 points higher than the GLS.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Navigator second among large premium suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The GLS 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 88 more horsepower (450 vs. 362) and 141 lbs.-ft. more torque (510 vs. 369) than the GLS 450’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Lincoln Navigator is faster than the GLS 450 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid:

Navigator

GLS

Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

6.4 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.5 sec

4.6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

14.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

98 MPH

97 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Lincoln Navigator uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The GLS 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 GLS 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 GLS.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Navigator has larger standard tires than the GLS (275/55R20 vs. 255/50R19). The Navigator Reserve/Black Label’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the GLS (285/45R22 vs. 275/50R20).

The Navigator Reserve/Black Label’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the GLS’ 50 series tires.

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

The Lincoln Navigator’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.

Suspension and Handling

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For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Navigator is 1.9 inches wider in the front and .6 inches wider in the rear than on the GLS.

Chassis

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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 GLS 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 GLS doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The Navigator offers optional seating for 8 passengers; the GLS can only carry 7.

The Navigator has 2.4 inches more front headroom, 3.6 inches more front legroom, 5.9 inches more front shoulder room, 6.6 inches more rear shoulder room and 1.5 inches more third row legroom than the GLS.

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

Cargo Capacity

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

Navigator

GLS

Behind Third Seat

19.3 cubic feet

17.4 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

57.5 cubic feet

42.7 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

103.3 cubic feet

84.7 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Navigator easier. The Navigator’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 29 inches, while the GLS’ liftover is 31.8 inches.

The Navigator’s cargo area is larger than the GLS’ in almost every dimension:

Navigator

GLS

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

24”/48”/86”

22.2”/48.1”/81.3”

Max Width

51”

49”

Min Width

51”

42.5”

Height

37”

34.7”

The Navigator’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.

Towing

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Maximum trailer towing in the Mercedes GLS is limited to 7700 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 GLS can’t be towed flat on the ground.

Ergonomics

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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 GLS 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.

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 GLS 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 GLS only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

Consumer Reports rated the Navigator’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the GLS’ headlights, which were rated “Good.”

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 GLS.

Model Availability

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

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/12

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

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

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