2020 Mercedes GLS vs. 2020 Ford Expedition Max

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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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 Ford Expedition Max 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 Expedition Max doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the GLS. But it costs extra on the Expedition Max.

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 Expedition Max uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

Both the GLS and the Expedition Max 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and available lane departure warning systems.

Warranty

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The GLS comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Expedition Max’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Reliability

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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.

Engine

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The GLS 580’s standard 4.0 turbo V8 hybrid produces 83 more horsepower (483 vs. 400) and 36 lbs.-ft. more torque (516 vs. 480) than the Expedition Max Platinum’s standard 3.5 turbo V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the GLS 450 gets better fuel mileage than the Expedition Max 4WD (19 city/23 hwy vs. 16 city/21 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the GLS’ fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Expedition Max doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes GLS higher (6 out of 10) than the Ford Expedition Max (5). This means the GLS produces up to 6.9 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Expedition Max every 15,000 miles.

Drivetrain

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The GLS has 4ETS, a true four-wheel-drive system, which uses a four wheel traction control system to redirect engine power to the axle and wheel that still has traction to keep the GLS moving if even only one wheel still has traction. The Expedition Max doesn’t offer a true four-wheel drive system; it could get stuck while one or more wheels still have traction.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the GLS’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Expedition Max:

GLS

Expedition Max

Front Rotors

14.8 inches

13.8 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

13.2 inches

Tires and Wheels

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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 Expedition Max’s standard 65 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLS has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Expedition Max. The GLS’ optional 23-inch wheels are larger than the 22-inch wheels optional on the Expedition Max.

Suspension and Handling

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The front and rear suspension of the GLS uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the Expedition Max, 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. Ford doesn’t offer an active suspension on the Expedition Max.

For better maneuverability, the GLS’ turning circle is 3.9 feet tighter than the Expedition Max’s (39.4 feet vs. 43.3 feet).

For greater off-road capability the GLS has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Expedition Max (10.1 vs. 9.7 inches), allowing the GLS to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The GLS Off-Road Package’s minimum ground clearance is 1.6 inches higher than on the Expedition Max (11.3 vs. 9.7 inches).

Chassis

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The GLS 450 is 1 foot, 4.9 inches shorter than the Expedition Max, 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 Expedition Max uses body-on-frame design instead.

Passenger Space

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The GLS has .2 inches more rear headroom and .4 inches more rear legroom than the Expedition Max.

Cargo Capacity

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The GLS has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The Expedition Max doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

Towing

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The GLS’ standard towing capacity is much higher than the Expedition Max’s (7700 vs. 6000 pounds).

Servicing Ease

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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.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory system optional at extra cost in the Expedition Max, 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’ standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. An easy entry system costs extra on the Expedition Max.

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 Expedition Max doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The GLS’ 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 Expedition Max’s standard rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

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 Expedition Max’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the GLS has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Expedition Max 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.

Manual rear side window sunshades are available in the GLS to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Expedition Max doesn’t offer rear side window sunshades.

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 Expedition Max’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. Ford doesn’t offer heated seats in the third row of the Expedition Max.

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 Expedition Max doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats for the second row.

Both the GLS and the Expedition Max 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 Expedition Max.

The GLS has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Expedition Max.

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. Wireless charging costs extra on the Expedition Max.

The GLS’ Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Expedition Max (except XLT)’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park.

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