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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 Cadillac Escalade ESV doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.
To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the GLS. But it costs extra on the Escalade ESV.
When descending a steep, off-road slope, the GLS’ standard Downhill Speed Regulation allows you to creep down safely. The Escalade ESV doesn’t offer Downhill Speed Regulation.
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 Escalade ESV doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
For better protection of the passenger compartment, the GLS uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The Escalade ESV uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.
Both the GLS and the Escalade ESV have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, around view monitors and available lane departure warning systems.
For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the GLS have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the engine in the Escalade ESV.
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 Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 17th.
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 Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 32 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 23rd.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 11 places higher in reliability than Cadillac.
The GLS 580’s standard 4.0 turbo V8 hybrid produces 63 more horsepower (483 vs. 420) and 56 lbs.-ft. more torque (516 vs. 460) than the Escalade ESV’s 6.2 V8.
On the EPA test cycle the GLS gets better fuel mileage than the Escalade:
3.0 Turbo V6
19 city/23 hwy
6.2 DOHC V8
14 city/21 hwy
Regenerative brakes improve the GLS’ fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Escalade ESV 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 Escalade ESV doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes GLS higher (6 out of 10) than the Cadillac Escalade ESV (3). This means the GLS produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Escalade ESV every 15,000 miles.
For better stopping power the GLS’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Escalade ESV:
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 Escalade ESV’s standard 55 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLS offers optional 23-inch wheels. The Escalade ESV’s largest wheels are only 22-inches.
For superior ride and handling, the Mercedes GLS has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Cadillac Escalade ESV has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.
The front and rear suspension of the GLS uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the Escalade ESV, 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. Cadillac doesn’t offer an active suspension on the Escalade ESV.
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 Escalade ESV doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.
For better maneuverability, the GLS’ turning circle is 3.6 feet tighter than the Escalade ESV’s (39.4 feet vs. 43 feet).
For greater off-road capability the GLS has a 2.1 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Escalade ESV (10.1 vs. 8 inches), allowing the GLS to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The GLS Off-Road Package’s minimum ground clearance is 3.3 inches higher than on the Escalade ESV (11.3 vs. 8 inches).
The GLS 450 is 1 foot, 7.3 inches shorter than the Escalade ESV, making the GLS easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
Unibody construction lowers the GLS’ center of gravity significantly without reducing ground clearance. This contributes to better on the road handling and better off-road performance and stability. In addition, unibody construction makes the chassis stiffer, improving handling and reducing squeaks and rattles. The Escalade ESV uses body-on-frame design instead.
The GLS has 1.1 inches more rear headroom, 2.2 inches more rear legroom and .1 inches more third row legroom than the Escalade ESV.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the GLS’ middle and third row seats recline. The Escalade ESV’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 Escalade ESV doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.
A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the GLS. The Escalade ESV doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.
Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Escalade ESV, 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’ power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Escalade ESV’s parking brake has to released manually.
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 Escalade ESV’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.
If the windows are left open on the GLS the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Escalade ESV can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
The Escalade ESV Premium Luxury/Platinum’s cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The GLS’ standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.
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. Cadillac doesn’t offer heated seats in the third row of the Escalade ESV.
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 Escalade ESV doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats for the second row.
Both the GLS and the Escalade ESV 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 Escalade ESV.
The GLS’ Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Escalade ESV’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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