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For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes GLS 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 Lincoln MKT doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.
The GLS’ pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The MKT doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
The GLS has standard Active Brake Assist, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The MKT offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.
When descending a steep, off-road slope, the GLS’ standard Downhill Speed Regulation allows you to creep down safely. The MKT doesn’t offer Downhill Speed Regulation.
The Mercedes GLS has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The MKT doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.
The GLS has a standard Surround View System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The MKT 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.
The GLS’ 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 MKT doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the GLS and the MKT have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and available lane departure warning systems.
The Mercedes GLS weighs 759 pounds more than the Lincoln MKT. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.
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 Lincoln vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lincoln is ranked 19th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Lincoln vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 3 places higher in reliability than Lincoln.
The GLS 450’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid produces 19 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 350) than the MKT’s 3.5 turbo V6. The GLS 580’s standard 4.0 turbo V8 hybrid produces 118 more horsepower (483 vs. 365) and 166 lbs.-ft. more torque (516 vs. 350) than the MKT’s 3.5 turbo V6.
On the EPA test cycle the GLS 450 gets better fuel mileage than the MKT (19 city/23 hwy vs. 15 city/21 hwy).
Regenerative brakes improve the GLS’ fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The MKT doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the GLS’ 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 MKT doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
The GLS has 5.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the MKT (23.8 vs. 18.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes GLS higher (6 out of 10) than the Lincoln MKT (3). This means the GLS produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the MKT every 15,000 miles.
A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes GLS, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the MKT.
For better stopping power the GLS’ brake rotors are larger than those on the MKT:
For better traction, the GLS has larger tires than the MKT (255/50R19 vs. 235/55R19).
The GLS’ tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the MKT’s standard 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLS offers optional 23-inch wheels. The MKT’s largest wheels are only 20-inches.
The front and rear suspension of the GLS uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the MKT, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.
The GLS offers an available adjustable active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Lincoln doesn’t offer an active suspension on the MKT.
The GLS has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The GLS’ height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The MKT doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLS’ wheelbase is 5.5 inches longer than on the MKT (123.4 inches vs. 117.9 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the GLS is .3 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than on the MKT.
For better maneuverability, the GLS’ turning circle is 2.1 feet tighter than the MKT AWD’s (39.4 feet vs. 41.5 feet).
The GLS has .7 inches more front shoulder room, 1.2 inches more rear headroom, .1 inches more rear legroom, .4 inches more rear shoulder room and 1.6 inches more third row legroom than the MKT.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the GLS’ middle and third row seats recline. The MKT’s third row seats don’t recline.
The GLS’ cargo area provides more volume than the MKT.
Third Seat Folded
42.7 cubic feet
39.6 cubic feet
Second Seat Folded
84.7 cubic feet
75.9 cubic feet
To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the GLS’ cargo door can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The MKT doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
The GLS’ standard towing capacity is much higher than the MKT’s (7700 vs. 2000 pounds).
The engine in the GLS is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the MKT. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Lincoln. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 5% lower rating, Lincoln is ranked 7th.
Unlike the driver-only memory system in the MKT, the GLS has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position, suspension setting, power steering assist, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.
The GLS 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 MKT doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The GLS’ power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The MKT’s parking brake has to released manually.
When the GLS 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 MKT’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.
The GLS has standard heated front and optional heated second and third row seats, which keep the driver and passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Lincoln doesn’t offer heated seats in the third row of the MKT.
The GLS offers optional massaging front and second row seats, which keep the driver and middle row passengers. Massaging seats aren’t available in the MKT.
The GLS’ Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The MKT Reserve’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.
The Mercedes GLS outsold the Lincoln MKT by almost six to one during the 2019 model year.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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