2021 Cadillac Escalade vs. 2019 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 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.

The Escalade has a standard front seat center airbag, which deploys between the driver and front passenger, protecting them from injuries caused by striking each other in serious side impacts. The GLS doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Escalade offers optional Reverse Automatic Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The GLS doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

To help make backing safer, the Escalade Premium/Platinum/Sport’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The GLS doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Escalade 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, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, night vision systems, lane departure warning systems and blind spot warning systems.

Warranty

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Cadillac’s powertrain warranty covers the Escalade 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’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’s warranty.

Reliability

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The Escalade 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’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 V6.

The Escalade’s 3.0 turbo diesel produces 91 lbs.-ft. more torque (460 vs. 369) than the GLS 450’s standard 3.0 turbo V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Escalade

RWD

6.2 OHV V8

15 city/20 hwy

AWD

6.2 OHV V8

14 city/19 hwy

GLS

AWD

550 4.7 turbo V8

14 city/19 hwy

AMG 63 5.5 turbo V8

13 city/18 hwy

An engine control system that can shut down some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Escalade 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 uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The GLS requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Transmission

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A ten-speed automatic is available on the Cadillac Escalade, 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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The Escalade’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the GLS’ standard 55 series tires.

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

The Cadillac Escalade’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 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.

Suspension and Handling

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For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Escalade is 3.1 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the GLS.

For better maneuverability, the Escalade’s turning circle is 1 foot tighter than the GLS’ (39.7 feet vs. 40.7 feet).

Chassis

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The front grille of the Escalade (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 offers optional seating for 8 passengers; the GLS can only carry 7.

The Escalade has 24.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the GLS (168.4 vs. 143.6).

The Escalade has 1.1 inches more front headroom, 4.2 inches more front legroom, 7 inches more front shoulder room, 3.2 inches more rear legroom, 6.3 inches more rear shoulder room and 12.2 inches more third row shoulder room than the GLS.

Cargo Capacity

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

Escalade

GLS

Behind Third Seat

25.5 cubic feet

16 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

72.9 cubic feet

49.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

121 cubic feet

93.8 cubic feet

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

Payload and Towing

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The Escalade’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the GLS’ (8000 vs. 7500 pounds).

The Escalade 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 can be unhitched and driven around locally. The GLS can’t be towed flat on the ground.

The Escalade has a higher standard payload capacity than the GLS (1636 vs. 1587 lbs.).

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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The Escalade’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. An easy entry system costs extra on the GLS.

The Escalade Premium/Platinum/Sport has a standard 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 GLS doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Escalade 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 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.

The Escalade 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 costs extra on the GLS.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Cadillac Escalade has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The GLS doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Model Availability

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

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