2020 Mercedes GLS vs. 2020 Toyota Land Cruiser

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 Toyota Land Cruiser doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

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

Both the GLS and the Land Cruiser have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, all wheel drive, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors, rear cross-path warning, driver alert monitors 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 Land Cruiser’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Engine

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The GLS 580’s standard 4.0 turbo V8 hybrid produces 102 more horsepower (483 vs. 381) and 115 lbs.-ft. more torque (516 vs. 401) than the Land Cruiser’s 5.7 DOHC V8.

As tested in Motor Trend the Mercedes GLS is faster than the Toyota Land Cruiser:

GLS 450

GLS 580

Land Cruiser

Zero to 60 MPH

5.8 sec

5.4 sec

6.8 sec

Quarter Mile

14.3 sec

14 sec

15.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97 MPH

101.7 MPH

91.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the GLS gets better fuel mileage than the Land Cruiser:

MPG

GLS

3.0 turbo 6-cyl. Hybrid

19 city/23 hwy

4.0 turbo V8 Hybrid

16 city/21 hwy

Land Cruiser

5.7 DOHC V8

13 city/17 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the GLS’ fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Land Cruiser 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 Land Cruiser doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop 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 Toyota Land Cruiser (3). This means the GLS produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Land Cruiser every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Mercedes GLS, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Land Cruiser.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the GLS’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Land Cruiser:

GLS

Land Cruiser

Front Rotors

14.8 inches

14 inches

The GLS stops much shorter than the Land Cruiser:

GLS

Land Cruiser

70 to 0 MPH

166 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

143 feet

158 feet

Consumer Reports

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 Land Cruiser Heritage Edition’s standard 65 series tires. The GLS’ tires are lower profile than the Land Cruiser’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLS has standard 19-inch wheels. Only 18-inch wheels are available on the Land Cruiser. The GLS offers optional 23-inch wheels.

Suspension and Handling

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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 Toyota Land Cruiser 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 Land Cruiser, 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. Toyota doesn’t offer an active suspension on the Land Cruiser.

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 Land Cruiser’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 Land Cruiser doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

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 Land Cruiser doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLS’ wheelbase is 11.2 inches longer than on the Land Cruiser (123.4 inches vs. 112.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the GLS is .9 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Land Cruiser.

The GLS 580 handles at .90 G’s, while the Land Cruiser pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The GLS 450 executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.5 seconds quicker than the Land Cruiser (26.4 seconds @ .7 average G’s vs. 28.9 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the GLS has a 1.2 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Land Cruiser (10.1 vs. 8.9 inches), allowing the GLS to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The GLS Off-Road Package’s minimum ground clearance is 2.4 inches higher than on the Land Cruiser (11.3 vs. 8.9 inches).

Chassis

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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 Land Cruiser 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 lower than the Land Cruiser (.35) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the GLS get better fuel mileage.

Cargo Capacity

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The GLS’ cargo area provides more volume than the Land Cruiser.

GLS

Land Cruiser

Behind Third Seat

17.4 cubic feet

16.1 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

42.7 cubic feet

41.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

84.7 cubic feet

82.8 cubic feet

The GLS’ cargo area provides more volume than the Land Cruiser Heritage Edition.

GLS

Land Cruiser

Second Seat Folded

84.7 cubic feet

82.8 cubic feet

The GLS’ cargo area is larger than the Land Cruiser’s in almost every dimension:

GLS

Land Cruiser

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

22.2”/48.1”/81.3”

16.5”/46”/66.5”

Max Width

49”

56”

Min Width

42.5”

40”

Height

34.7”

41.5”

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

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the GLS’ second and third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Land Cruiser doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

The GLS’ liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The Land Cruiser’s tailgate’s top part raises up, but the bottom part lowers, getting in the way of loading and making an uneven surface for sliding cargo.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the GLS’ liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Land Cruiser doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its tailgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Mercedes service is better than Toyota. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 30% lower rating, Toyota is ranked 14th.

Ergonomics

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The GLS has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Land Cruiser doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Land Cruiser, 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 Land Cruiser doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The GLS’ power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Land Cruiser has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

The power windows standard on both the GLS and the Land Cruiser 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 Land Cruiser prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The GLS’ power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Land Cruiser’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the GLS has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Land Cruiser 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 Land Cruiser doesn’t offer rear side window sunshades.

The GLS’ power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Land Cruiser’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. Toyota doesn’t offer heated seats in the third row of the Land Cruiser.

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 Land Cruiser 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 Land Cruiser.

The GLS’ Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The Land Cruiser doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/08/13

The Mercedes GLS outsold the Toyota Land Cruiser by over six to one during 2019.

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