2020 Mercedes GLS vs. 2021 Cadillac Escalade

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 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 2020/07/06

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 Cadillac Escalade doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

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

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

Both the GLS and the Escalade have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, around view monitors and available lane departure warning systems.

Reliability

© 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 2020/07/06

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 engine in the Escalade.

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 Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 12th in initial quality. With 6 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 17th.

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 Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 32 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 23rd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mercedes 9 places higher in reliability than Cadillac.

Engine

© 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 2020/07/06

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 Escalade’s 6.2 V8.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

GLS

AWD

3.0 turbo 6-cyl. Hybrid

19 city/23 hwy

4.0 turbo V8 Hybrid

16 city/21 hwy

Escalade

RWD

6.2 OHV V8

15 city/20 hwy

AWD

6.2 OHV V8

14 city/19 hwy

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

Brakes and Stopping

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

GLS

Escalade

Front Rotors

14.8 inches

13.5 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLS offers optional 23-inch wheels. The Escalade’s largest wheels are only 22-inches.

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 Escalade, 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. Cadillac doesn’t offer an active suspension on the Escalade.

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 Escalade doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLS’ wheelbase is 2.5 inches longer than on the Escalade (123.4 inches vs. 120.9 inches).

Chassis

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The GLS 450 is 6.9 inches shorter than the Escalade, 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 Escalade uses body-on-frame design instead.

Passenger Space

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The GLS has 1.3 inches more rear headroom and .2 inches more rear legroom than the Escalade.

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 Escalade doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

Ergonomics

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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. Cadillac doesn’t offer heated seats in the third row of the Escalade.

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

Both the GLS and the Escalade 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 Escalade.

Economic Advantages

© 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 2020/07/06

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the GLS is less expensive to operate than the Escalade because it costs $218 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the GLS than the Escalade, including $423 less for a muffler, $38 less for a fuel pump, $328 less for front struts, $619 less for a timing belt/chain and $223 less for a power steering pump.

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