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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 Nissan Armada 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 Armada 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 Armada.
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 Armada 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 Armada uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.
Both the GLS and the Armada 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 GLS comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Armada’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.
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 Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 15th.
The GLS 580’s standard 4.0 turbo V8 hybrid produces 93 more horsepower (483 vs. 390) and 122 lbs.-ft. more torque (516 vs. 394) than the Armada’s 5.6 DOHC V8.
On the EPA test cycle the GLS 450 gets better fuel mileage than the Armada 4WD (19 city/23 hwy vs. 13 city/18 hwy).
Regenerative brakes improve the GLS’ fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Armada 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 Armada 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 Nissan Armada (3). This means the GLS produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Armada every 15,000 miles.
A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes GLS, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the Armada.
For better stopping power the GLS’ front brake rotors are larger than those on the Armada:
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 Armada SV’s standard 70 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLS has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Armada SV. The GLS’ optional 23-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels on the Armada SL/Platinum.
The front and rear suspension of the GLS uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the Armada, which uses coil springs in front. 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. Nissan doesn’t offer an active suspension on the Armada.
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 Armada’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.
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 Armada doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLS’ wheelbase is 2.3 inches longer than on the Armada (123.4 inches vs. 121.1 inches).
For better maneuverability, the GLS’ turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the Armada’s (39.4 feet vs. 41.3 feet).
For greater off-road capability the GLS has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Armada SV (10.1 vs. 9.1 inches), allowing the GLS to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The GLS Off-Road Package’s minimum ground clearance is 2.1 inches higher than on the Armada SL/Platinum (11.3 vs. 9.2 inches).
The GLS 450 is 3.9 inches shorter than the Armada, 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 Armada uses body-on-frame design instead.
The design of the Mercedes GLS amounts to more than styling. The GLS has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .32 Cd. That is significantly lower than the Armada (.37) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the GLS get better fuel mileage.
The GLS has .2 inches more rear headroom, .9 inches more rear legroom and 6.2 inches more third row legroom than the Armada.
The GLS’ cargo area provides more volume than the Armada.
Behind Third Seat
17.4 cubic feet
16.5 cubic feet
Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the GLS’ second and third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Armada doesn’t offer automatic folding second row seats.
To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the GLS’ cargo door can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Armada doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Nissan. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 38% lower rating, Nissan is ranked 17th.
Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Armada SL/Platinum, 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 Armada doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The GLS’ power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Armada’s parking brake has to released manually.
The power windows standard on both the GLS and the Armada 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 Armada 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 Armada’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 Armada SV’s standard intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the GLS detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Armada doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the GLS has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Armada 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 Armada doesn’t offer rear side window sunshades.
The GLS’ power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Armada’s power mirror controls are on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.
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. Nissan doesn’t offer heated seats in the third row of the Armada.
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 Armada 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 Armada.
The GLS’ Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Armada doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
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