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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 GMC Yukon XL 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 Yukon XL 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 Yukon XL.
When descending a steep, off-road slope, the GLS’ standard Downhill Speed Regulation allows you to creep down safely. The Yukon XL doesn’t offer Downhill Speed Regulation.
The GLS has a standard Surround View System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Yukon XL 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 Yukon XL 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 Yukon XL uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.
Both the GLS and the Yukon XL 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, rearview cameras and available lane departure warning systems.
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 Yukon XL’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
The GLS’ corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Yukon XL’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).
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 engines in the Yukon XL.
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 GMC vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 27 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC is ranked 22nd.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than GMC vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 8 places higher in reliability than GMC.
The GLS 450’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid produces 7 more horsepower (362 vs. 355) than the Yukon XL’s standard 5.3 V8. 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 Yukon XL Graphite Performance Edition/Denali’s standard 6.2 V8.
On the EPA test cycle the GLS 450 gets better fuel mileage than the Yukon XL 4WD (19 city/23 hwy vs. 14 city/21 hwy).
Regenerative brakes improve the GLS’ fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Yukon XL 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 Yukon XL 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 GMC Yukon XL (3). This means the GLS produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Yukon XL every 15,000 miles.
For better stopping power the GLS’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Yukon XL:
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 Yukon XL SLE/SLT Standard Edition/SLT’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 Yukon XL SLE/SLT Standard Edition/SLT. The GLS’ optional 23-inch wheels are larger than the 22-inch wheels optional on the Yukon XL.
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 GMC Yukon XL has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.
The GLS has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the GLS flat and controlled during cornering. The Yukon XL’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.
The front and rear suspension of the GLS uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the Yukon XL, 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. GMC doesn’t offer an active suspension on the Yukon XL.
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 Yukon XL doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.
For better maneuverability, the GLS’ turning circle is 3.6 feet tighter than the Yukon XL’s (39.4 feet vs. 43 feet).
For greater off-road capability the GLS has a 2.2 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Yukon XL (10.1 vs. 7.9 inches), allowing the GLS to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The GLS Off-Road Package’s minimum ground clearance is 3.4 inches higher than on the Yukon XL (11.3 vs. 7.9 inches).
The GLS 450 is 1 foot, 7.4 inches shorter than the Yukon XL, 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 Yukon XL 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 Yukon XL.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the GLS’ middle and third row seats recline. The Yukon XL’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 Yukon XL doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.
The GLS’ standard towing capacity is much higher than the Yukon XL’s (7700 vs. 6000 pounds).
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than GMC. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 30% lower rating, GMC is ranked 14th.
Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Yukon XL SLT Standard/SLT/Denali, 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 Yukon XL’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 Yukon XL’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 Yukon XL can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the GLS has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Yukon XL 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. GMC doesn’t offer heated seats in the third row of the Yukon XL.
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 Yukon XL doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats for the second row.
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 Yukon XL.
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 Yukon XL Denali 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 Yukon XL doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
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