2021 Cadillac Escalade ESV vs. 2020 Mercedes GLS

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Escalade ESV are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The GLS doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

An active infrared night vision system optional on the Escalade ESV Premium/Platinum/Sport helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The GLS doesn’t offer a night vision system.

Both the Escalade ESV and the GLS have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, around view monitors, available all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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Cadillac’s powertrain warranty covers the Escalade ESV 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the GLS. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the GLS ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The Escalade ESV’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the GLS’ (6 vs. 5 years).

There are over 2 times as many Cadillac dealers as there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Escalade ESV’s warranty.

Reliability

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The Escalade ESV has a standard “limp home system” to keep drivers from being stranded if most or all of the engine’s coolant is lost. The engine will run on only half of its cylinders at a time, reduce its power and light a warning lamp on the dashboard so the driver can get to a service station for repairs. The GLS doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

Engine

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The Escalade ESV’s 6.2 V8 produces 58 more horsepower (420 vs. 362) and 91 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 369) than the GLS 450’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid.

The Escalade ESV’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 91 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 369) than the GLS 450’s standard 3.0 turbo 6-cylinder hybrid.

Fuel Economy and Range

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An engine control system that can shut down some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Escalade ESV V8’s fuel efficiency. The GLS doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Cadillac Escalade ESV uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The GLS requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Escalade ESV has 4.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the GLS (28.3 vs. 23.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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A ten-speed automatic is available on the Cadillac Escalade ESV, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a nine-speed automatic is available for the GLS.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Escalade ESV has larger tires than the GLS (275/50R22 vs. 255/50R19).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Escalade ESV has standard 22-inch wheels. Smaller 19-inch wheels are standard on the GLS.

The Cadillac Escalade ESV’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Mercedes GLS only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Escalade ESV has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The GLS doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

The Escalade ESV has a standard full size spare tire so a flat doesn’t interrupt your trip. A full size spare isn’t available on the GLS; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Escalade ESV’s wheelbase is 10.7 inches longer than on the GLS (134.1 inches vs. 123.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Escalade ESV is 2.7 inches wider in the front and 1.5 inches wider in the rear than on the GLS.

Chassis

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The front grille of the Escalade ESV (except Diesel) uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The GLS doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The Escalade ESV offers optional seating for 8 passengers; the GLS can only carry 7.

The Escalade ESV has 2.9 inches more front headroom, 4.2 inches more front legroom, 6.2 inches more front shoulder room, 6.1 inches more rear shoulder room and 2 inches more third row legroom than the GLS.

Cargo Capacity

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The Escalade ESV’s cargo area provides more volume than the GLS.

Escalade ESV

GLS

Behind Third Seat

41.5 cubic feet

17.4 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

94.1 cubic feet

42.7 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

142.8 cubic feet

84.7 cubic feet

Towing

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The Escalade ESV’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the GLS’ (7900 vs. 7700 pounds).

The Escalade ESV 4WD with optional equipment can be flat towed on all four wheels (dinghy towed), allowing recreational vehicle owners to bring it with them on the road. When they reach their destination, the Escalade ESV can be unhitched and driven around locally. The GLS can’t be towed flat on the ground.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Cadillac service is better than Mercedes. J.D. Power ranks Cadillac third in service department satisfaction. With a 10% lower rating, Mercedes is ranked fifth.

Ergonomics

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To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Escalade ESV has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the GLS only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

The Escalade ESV has a standard heated steering wheel to take the chill out of steering on extremely cold winter days before the vehicle heater warms up. A heated steering wheel costs extra on the GLS.

Model Availability

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The Escalade ESV is available in both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The GLS doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

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 2020/08/09

The Cadillac Escalade/Escalade ESV outsold the Mercedes GLS by 59% during 2019.

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