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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes GLC Coupe have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Ford Explorer doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.
The GLC Coupe’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Explorer doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
The GLC Coupe has standard NECK-PRO front head restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the NECK-PRO front head restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Explorer doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.
To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the GLC Coupe. But it costs extra on the Explorer.
Both the GLC Coupe and the Explorer have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.
The GLC Coupe comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Explorer’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the GLC Coupe third among compact premium suvs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Explorer isn’t in the top three in its category.
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 Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 1 place higher in reliability than Ford.
As tested in Motor Trend the Mercedes GLC Coupe is faster than the Ford Explorer turbo 4 cyl.:
Zero to 60 MPH
On the EPA test cycle the GLC 300 Coupe gets better fuel mileage than the Explorer 4WD turbo 4 cyl. (21 city/28 hwy vs. 20 city/27 hwy).
The GLC Coupe’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs standard on the Explorer ST are solid, not vented.
The GLC Coupe’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 Explorer’s standard 65 series tires. The GLC Coupe’s optional 285/40R20 rear tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Explorer ST/Platinum’s optional 45 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLC Coupe has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Explorer.
The Mercedes GLC Coupe may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 950 pounds less than the Ford Explorer.
The GLC Coupe is 1 foot shorter than the Explorer, making the GLC Coupe easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The GLC Coupe’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Explorer’s (3500 vs. 3000 pounds).
The GLC Coupe uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Explorer uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Ford. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 59% lower rating, Ford is ranked 24th.
Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum, the GLC Coupe offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.
The GLC Coupe offers an optional 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 Explorer doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The GLC Coupe’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Explorer’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.
The GLC Coupe’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Explorer’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the GLC Coupe to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Explorer doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
When the GLC Coupe is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Explorer’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.
Motor Trend selected the GLC Coupe as their 2017 Sport Utility of the Year. The Explorer has never been chosen.
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