2020 Mercedes G-Class vs. 2020 Land Rover Defender

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 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 2020/09/29

The G-Class’ pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Defender doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes G-Class 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 Land Rover Defender doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

The G-Class’ driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Defender doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the G-Class and the Defender have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and front and rear parking sensors.

Warranty

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There are over 2 times as many Mercedes dealers as there are Land Rover dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the G-Class’ warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Land Rover vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 36 more problems per 100 vehicles, Land Rover is ranked 32nd.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Land Rover vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 87 more problems per 100 vehicles, Land Rover is ranked 30th.

Engine

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The G 550’s standard 4.0 turbo V8 produces 120 more horsepower (416 vs. 296) and 155 lbs.-ft. more torque (450 vs. 295) than the Defender P300’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The G 550’s 4.0 turbo V8 produces 21 more horsepower (416 vs. 395) and 44 lbs.-ft. more torque (450 vs. 406) than the Defender P400’s standard 3.0 turbo/supercharged 6-cylinder hybrid. The AMG G 63’s standard 4.0 turbo V8 produces 182 more horsepower (577 vs. 395) and 221 lbs.-ft. more torque (627 vs. 406) than the Defender P400’s standard 3.0 turbo/supercharged 6-cylinder hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

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An engine control system that can shut down some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the G-Class’ fuel efficiency. The Defender doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the G-Class’ engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Defender doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The G-Class has 2.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Defender (26.4 vs. 23.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Mercedes G-Class as an “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV). The Land Rover Defender is only certified to “Low Emissions Vehicle” (LEV) standards.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes G-Class, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Defender.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the G-Class’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Defender:

G 550

AMG G 63

Defender P300

Defender P400

Front Rotors

13.9 inches

14.8 inches

13.7 inches

14.3 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

13 inches

12.8 inches

13.8 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the G-Class has larger standard tires than the Defender (275/55R19 vs. 255/70R18). The G-Class’ optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Defender (295/40R22 vs. 275/45R22).

The G 550’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Defender’s standard 70 series tires. The G-Class’ optional tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Defender’s optional 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the G 550 has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Defender.

Chassis

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The G 550 is 7.9 inches shorter than the Defender, making the G-Class easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The G-Class has 1.3 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more rear headroom and 1.1 inches more rear legroom than the Defender.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Land Rover. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With an 89% lower rating, Land Rover is ranked 30th.

Ergonomics

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The G-Class has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Defender doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the G-Class has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Defender doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The G-Class’ sun-visors swivel front-to-side to block glare from the side windows. The Defender’s visors are fixed into the windshield header.

The G-Class offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Defender.

The G-Class’ Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Defender doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

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 2020/09/29

The G-Class was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2019. The Defender has never been an “All Star.”

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