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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 Buick Enclave 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 Enclave doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.
For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes GLS 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 Buick Enclave doesn’t offer height-adjustable front seat belts.
The GLS has all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Enclave doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
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 Enclave doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the GLS and the Enclave have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available lane departure warning systems.
The Mercedes GLS weighs 1016 to 1342 pounds more than the Buick Enclave. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Buick vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 2 places higher in reliability than Buick.
The GLS 450’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid produces 52 more horsepower (362 vs. 310) and 103 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 266) than the Enclave’s 3.6 DOHC V6. The GLS 580’s standard 4.0 turbo V8 hybrid produces 173 more horsepower (483 vs. 310) and 250 lbs.-ft. more torque (516 vs. 266) than the Enclave’s 3.6 DOHC V6.
Regenerative brakes improve the GLS’ fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Enclave doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
The GLS has 4.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the Enclave FWD’s standard fuel tank (23.8 vs. 19.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The GLS has 2.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Enclave AWD’s standard fuel tank (23.8 vs. 21.7 gallons).
For better stopping power the GLS’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Enclave:
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 Enclave’s standard 65 series tires. The GLS’ tires are lower profile than the Enclave’s optional 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLS has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Enclave. The GLS’ optional 23-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels optional on the Enclave.
The front and rear suspension of the GLS uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the Enclave, 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. Buick doesn’t offer an active suspension on the Enclave.
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 Enclave doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.
The GLS’ 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 Enclave doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLS’ wheelbase is 2.5 inches longer than on the Enclave (123.4 inches vs. 120.9 inches).
For greater off-road capability the GLS has a 2.4 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Enclave (10.1 vs. 7.7 inches), allowing the GLS to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The GLS Off-Road Package’s minimum ground clearance is 3.6 inches higher than on the Enclave (11.3 vs. 7.7 inches).
The GLS has .3 inches more rear headroom, 3 inches more rear legroom and 1.1 inches more third row legroom than the Enclave.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the GLS’ middle and third row seats recline. The Enclave’s third row seats don’t recline.
The GLS has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The Enclave doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.
Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the GLS’ second and third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Enclave doesn’t offer automatic folding second row seats.
A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the GLS. The Enclave doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
The GLS’ standard towing capacity is much higher than the Enclave’s (7700 vs. 1500 pounds).
The engine in the GLS is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Enclave. 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 Buick. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 13% lower rating, Buick is ranked 8th.
Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Enclave Premium/Avenir, 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 Enclave doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The GLS’ front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Enclave’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.
The GLS’ 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 Enclave’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.
To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the GLS has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Enclave doesn’t offer cornering lights. The GLS also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.
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. Buick doesn’t offer heated seats in the third row of the Enclave.
Optional air conditioned the front and second row seats keep the GLS’ passengers comfortable and take the sting out of hot leather in summer. The Enclave doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats for the second row.
Both the GLS and the Enclave offer available massaging front seats. The GLS also offers optional massaging second row seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging second row seats aren’t available in the Enclave.
To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Mercedes GLS has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console and one for the rear passengers. Only the Enclave Avenir offers wireless charging.
The GLS’ Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Enclave doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
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