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2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Review

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class ranks near the top of the luxury large SUV class for its fusion of opulence and technology with comfort and power. It’s a great off-road vehicle too!

Pros & Cons

  • Gentle ride
  • Eager engines
  • Deft off-roader
  • Intuitive high-tech features
  • Poor gas mileage
  • Steering resistance at lower speeds
  • Smaller cargo hold than rivals
  • Eye-popping price

New for 2021

  • 12.3-inch digital driver display now standard
  • Refreshed interior and exterior styling

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class's #2 ranking is based on its score within the Luxury Large SUVs category. Currently the Mercedes-Benz G-Class has a score of 8.2 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 12 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

8.2

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.9
Performance: 8.4
Interior: 7.9
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Mercedes-Benz G-Class?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Mercedes-Benz G-Class a Good SUV?

Yes, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class is a great luxury large SUV. This vehicle is well-rounded, with a coddling ride, lavish cabin materials, a high-tech infotainment system, and spacious seats. It has brutish V8 engines, especially in the powerful AMG trim. It’s also a very capable off-roader, tackling trails, rocks, and water with ease. Just keep an eye on its staggering price tag.

Why You Can Trust Us: 12 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data like fuel economy estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions with 12 professional reviews.

This 2021 G-Class review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2019.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Mercedes-Benz G-Class?

The G-Class is a great choice, but there are some more affordable options you might want to consider instead. If you want the opulence of the G-Class but are put off by its exorbitant price tag, consider the three-row Mercedes-Benz GLS. Also, the Toyota Land Cruiser is one of the few models in the class that can rival the Mercedes’ off-road prowess.

Find a 2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class: What's the Difference?

For 2021, the previously available 12.3-inch digital driver display is now standard in the G-Class.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 G-Class »

Here are the key changes for the Mercedes-Benz G-Class over the last few years:

  • 2019: fully redesigned with updated styling and more standard driver aids; nine-speed automatic transmission replaced seven-speed; AMG model gained 14-horsepower bump
  • 2020: no notable changes
  • 2021: digital cockpit now standard

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2019 G-Class, and 2020 G-Class reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Mercedes-Benz G-Class Cost?

Pricing for the entry-level Mercedes-Benz G 550 starts at $131,600. The Mercedes-Benz AMG G 63 rockets up to $156,650. Both totals are some of the priciest in the class. In fact, aside from the Land Rover Range Rover, the top trim of every rival costs thousands of dollars less than the G 550.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mercedes-Benz dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mercedes-Benz deals page.

Mercedes-Benz G-Class Versus the Competition

Mercedes-Benz G-Class vs. Mercedes-Benz GLS

The Mercedes-Benz GLS competes in the same luxury large SUV segment as the G-Class, but there are some key differences between these two Mercedes models. The GLS has third-row seating and more cargo room than its sibling. It’s more fuel-efficient too, even with all-wheel drive and a V8 engine. However, its biggest edge may be its affordability, as the GLS costs about $55,000 less than the base G-Wagen. The G-Class is a superior off-roader and has the stronger AMG model, but whether it’s worth the extra money is up to you.

Compare the G-Class and GLS »

Mercedes-Benz G-Class vs. Land Rover Range Rover

The Land Rover Range Rover is the other pricey model in the class. Its starting price is way more affordable than the Mercedes-Benz – by around $39,100 – but in its top trim, it surpasses even the G-Class AMG by more than $26,000. Both are adept off-roaders with a range of strong engines, but the Mercedes-Benz gets the edge for its user-friendly infotainment system and more stylized cabin.

Compare the G-Class and Range Rover »

Compare the G-Class, GLS, and Range Rover »

G-Class Interior: Fanciful Comfort

G-Class Cargo Space

With 38.1 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 68.6 cubic feet behind the front seats, this vehicle trails most of its rivals in cargo capacity. However, it’s worth noting that the G-Wagen is a luxury two-row SUV, and most of its competitors have three rows. Additionally, its liftgate opens out to the side instead of upward.

How Many People Does the G-Class Seat?

This Mercedes-Benz can seat up to five people. The front seats have 10-way power adjustability, and both rows of seats are heated. Leather upholstery and a power-adjustable steering wheel come standard too.

Both rows of seats are cushioned, supportive, and roomy. Generous space and an open cabin help the G-Class feel comfortable, even on long drives.

G-Class and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats.

G-Class Interior Quality

Luxurious materials such as soft leathers or wooden accents fill this SUV’s cabin. Everything looks and feels high-quality.

G-Class Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The COMAND infotainment system is both modern and easy to use. It’s not as state-of-the-art as the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) in newer Mercedes vehicles like the A-Class, but it’s still high-end. Most settings can be controlled via a touchpad or a rotary knob. The digital display is another highlight, mapping out information for the driver and reducing the need to look away from the road.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 12.3-inch infotainment display, a 12.3-inch digital driver display, a touchpad controller, a navigation system, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, HD Radio, a 15-speaker Burmester stereo, two USB ports, and Bluetooth
  • Available infotainment features: a Wi-Fi hot spot, wireless device charging, and a rear-seat entertainment system with twin 10-inch displays
  • Additional standard features: push-button start, remote start, proximity keyless entry, tri-zone automatic climate control, and a sunroof

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

G-Class Performance: Packing Power

G-Class Engine

You have a choice of two 4.0-liter V8 engines in this vehicle. The G 550 has a twin-turbocharged engine rated at 416 horsepower and 450 pound-feet of torque. The AMG G 63 also has a twin-turbo V8, but it makes 577 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. Both are mated with a refined nine-speed automatic transmission.

Both engines are beasts. Power comes briskly and smoothly, and you’ll have no trouble getting uphill or up to speed. The performance-oriented AMG model can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, which approaches sports car territory.

G-Class Gas Mileage

There are no EPA estimates for the 2021 G-Class as of this writing. The similar 2020 model gets 13 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway, and the AMG returns 13 mpg in the city and 15 mpg on the highway. Both totals are among the worst of any vehicle on the market.

G-Class Ride and Handling

Unlike many body-on-frame vehicles that sacrifice some on-road comfort for off-roading prowess, this Mercedes remains comfortable in just about any driving situation. Its suspension smooths out most flaws in the road, and handling is largely composed, though there can be some body roll. A few critics also note a feeling of steering resistance at lower speeds. Four-wheel drive (4WD) is standard.

G-Class Off-Road Performance

Don’t let the luxury badge fool you. This Mercedes-Benz has no problem traversing rugged terrain. Not only does it have an impressive 9.5 inches of ground clearance, but this vehicle also comes with a two-speed transfer case, three locking differentials, and 4WD.

Read more about performance »

G-Class Reliability

Is the Mercedes-Benz G-Class Reliable?

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five.

Mercedes-Benz G-Class Warranty

Mercedes-Benz covers the 2020 G-Class with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty.

Read more about reliability »

G-Class Safety

G-Class Crash Test Results

Like many high-end luxury vehicles, the 2021 G-Class has not been crash tested by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

G-Class Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Mercedes Pre-Safe (tightens seat belts and rolls up windows if sensors detect an impending rear-end collision)
  • Mercedes Pre-Safe Sound (emits pink noise to protect your ears from the noise of a crash)
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Automatic high-beam headlights
  • Lane keep assist
  • Lane departure warning
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Driver condition monitor
  • Rearview camera
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Parallel and perpendicular park assist

Available advanced safety features:

  • Mercedes’ Car-to-X communication (lets equipped vehicles “talk” to each other to exchange information about traffic or obstacles on the road)

Read more about safety »

G-Class Dimensions and Weight

The G-Class is between 15.8 and 16 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 5,554 to 5,845 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Built?

Mercedes-Benz builds the 2021 G-Class in Austria.

Which Mercedes-Benz G-Class Model Is Right for Me?

Mercedes-Benz makes the 2021 G-Class in two trim levels: G 550 and AMG G 63. For high performance, go for the AMG and its 577-horsepower V8 engine. Otherwise, the base model is a great choice. Its engine is muscular as well, and it’s loaded with features.

Mercedes-Benz G-Class G 550

The Mercedes-Benz G 550 has a starting MSRP of $131,600. For that price, you’d expect a ton of standard features, and the G 550 delivers. You’ll get a 12.3-inch infotainment display with a touchpad controller, a 12.3-inch digital driver display, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a navigation system, a 15-speaker Burmester surround-sound stereo, HD Radio, satellite radio, two USB ports, and Bluetooth.

Also included are leather seats with heating and 10-way power adjustments up front, heated rear seats, a power-adjustable steering wheel, tri-zone automatic climate control, remote start, an air purifier, 64-color LED-ambient lighting, a sunroof, proximity keyless entry, low-range gear reduction, and alloy wheels.

Several safety features are included too, such as a pre-collision warning and braking system, pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a rearview camera, a driver attention monitor, traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, parallel and perpendicular park assist, automatic high-beam headlights, adaptive headlights, adaptive cruise control, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Numerous options and packages are available in the G 550. The Seat Comfort package adds multicontour massaging and ventilated front seats. The AMG-Line package outfits this vehicle with AMG exterior styling, a sport steering wheel, a sport exhaust, brake calipers, and larger alloy wheels. Upgraded Nappa leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel, a Wi-Fi hot spot, and a rear-seat entertainment system with two 10-inch displays are also available.

Mercedes-AMG G 63

The Mercedes AMG model starts at $156,650. For the most part, the AMG G 63 has the same features as the G 550, although it does get wireless device charging. Its main enhancements lie under the hood. In addition to the stronger engine, it has a sport-tuned suspension with adaptive damping, off-road drive modes, high-performance braking, and AMG exterior styling, such as flared wheel arches and a unique grille.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Mercedes-Benz dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Mercedes-Benz deals page.

See 2021 Mercedes-Benz G-Class specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is one of the best luxury large SUVs you can buy. Elegant, powerful, refined, and adventurous, this Mercedes handles just about any driving situation with ease. Still, it’s one of the priciest models in the class, and it lacks the third-row configuration of most rivals. Additionally, there can be some steering resistance at low speeds.

Don't just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Although it was new from the ground up last year, the G 550 retains a very familiar silhouette, one that has impressed the world with its off-road ability and dogged reliability for over four decades. Still built in the same Austrian town that gave birth to the first G-Wagen, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz G-Class SUV features a body-on-frame chassis with an independent front suspension, a front, center and rear locking differential and a 416-horsepower twin-turbocharged V8." -- Kelley Blue Book (2020)
  • "While competitors have constantly worked to make their towering SUVS feel like a sedan, the G has remained suitably truckish. It has no interest in pretending to be a car. The team behind the all-new G-Class had the unenviable job of improving the vehicle without spoiling the elements that have made it one of the marque's signature models. The result is a larger SUV with a touch more civility that hasn't sacrificed any of its capability." -- Automobile Magazine (2019)
  • "The 2019 G-Class drives the fine line between evolution and revolution, capturing the spirit and personality of the original, while improving in just about every way. It may be more modern and refined than the original, but it's still unmistakably a G-Wagen – which is unquestionably the biggest compliment it can get." -- Motor Trend (2019)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: January 22, 2021

Low, Steady Sales: The G-Class currently sits in the bottom half of the luxury large SUV sales rankings. Sales remained consistent last year compared to 2019. 

Research more buying advice »
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