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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 Honda Pilot 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 Pilot 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 Pilot.
When descending a steep, off-road slope, the GLS’ standard Downhill Speed Regulation allows you to creep down safely. The Pilot 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 Pilot 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 Pilot doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Both the GLS and the Pilot 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, rearview cameras and available lane departure warning systems.
The Mercedes GLS weighs 1382 to 1665 pounds more than the Honda Pilot. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.
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 Pilot’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
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 Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th.
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 Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 16th.
The GLS 450’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. hybrid produces 82 more horsepower (362 vs. 280) and 107 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 262) than the Pilot’s 3.5 SOHC V6. The GLS 580’s standard 4.0 turbo V8 hybrid produces 203 more horsepower (483 vs. 280) and 254 lbs.-ft. more torque (516 vs. 262) than the Pilot’s 3.5 SOHC V6.
Regenerative brakes improve the GLS’ fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Pilot doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
The GLS has 4.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Pilot (23.8 vs. 19.5 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 Honda Pilot (3). This means the GLS produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Pilot every 15,000 miles.
For better stopping power the GLS’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Pilot:
The GLS’ standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Pilot are solid, not vented.
For better traction, the GLS has larger tires than the Pilot (255/50R19 vs. 245/60R18).
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 Pilot LX/EX/EX-L’s standard 60 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLS has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Pilot LX/EX/EX-L. The GLS’ optional 23-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels on the Pilot Touring/Elite/Black Edition.
The front and rear suspension of the GLS uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the Pilot, 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. Honda doesn’t offer an active suspension on the Pilot.
The GLS has a standard driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Pilot’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
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 Pilot doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLS’ wheelbase is 12.4 inches longer than on the Pilot (123.4 inches vs. 111 inches).
For greater off-road capability the GLS has a 2.8 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Pilot (10.1 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the GLS to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The GLS Off-Road Package’s minimum ground clearance is 4 inches higher than on the Pilot (11.3 vs. 7.3 inches).
The GLS has 3.5 inches more rear legroom and 2.7 inches more third row legroom than the Pilot.
Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the GLS’ second and third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Pilot doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
The GLS’ standard towing capacity is much higher than the Pilot’s (7700 vs. 3500 pounds).
The GLS uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Pilot uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.
The engine in the GLS is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Pilot. 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 Honda. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 55% lower rating, Honda is ranked 23rd.
Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Pilot EX-L/Touring/Elite/Black Edition, 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 Pilot doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The GLS’ power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Pilot’s parking brake has to released manually.
The power windows standard on both the GLS and the Pilot have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the GLS is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Pilot prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.
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 Pilot’s 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 Pilot’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 Pilot 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’ power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Pilot’s power mirror controls are on the dash where they are possibly hidden by the steering wheel and are awkward to manipulate.
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. Honda doesn’t offer heated seats in the third row of the Pilot.
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 Pilot 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 Pilot.
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 is only available on the Pilot EX/EX-L/Touring/Elite/Black Edition.
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 Pilot Elite//Black Edition 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 Pilot doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
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