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MSRP: $123,600 - 222,700

7.2

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.0
Performance: 6.9
Interior: 7.5
Safety: N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Review

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class might be one of the most capable off-road vehicles in the class, but it trails its rivals in virtually all other areas. That's why it finishes near the bottom of our luxury large SUV rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent off-roader
  • Powerful engines
  • Premium cabin materials
  • Abysmal fuel economy
  • Subpar on-road handling
  • Below-average cargo space
  • High price

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

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is an OK SUV. It offers a lineup of strong engines and a handsome interior filled with soft-touch materials. There are plenty of negatives, though. This Mercedes has uninspiring handling and gets bad gas mileage. Cargo space is below average, and most class rivals offer more tech features and better seating comfort. While its predicted reliability rating is above average for the industry, it trails nearly every other luxury large SUV.

Should I Buy the Mercedes-Benz G-Class?

This SUV isn't a great choice unless you love the G-wagon's unique look. Most other luxury large SUVs have a lot more to like about them, and almost all of them cost far less than this Mercedes. Better options include the Land Rover Range Rover and Infiniti QX80.

Compare the G-Class, Range Rover, and QX80 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Mercedes-Benz G-class?

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is part of a generation that began with the 1990 model year. There have been changes over the years, but the 2018 model doesn’t look that different from the past few years’ models. The 2016 G-class added a new trim to the lineup, the 12-cylinder Mercedes-AMG G65, and gets a new base engine for the G550 trim. Prior to 2016, the 550 featured 382-horsepower V8, but for 2016, it got a 416-horsepower twin-turbo V8. Fuel economy didn't really change with the new engine.

There were no major changes for the 2017 model, but the 2018 model gets some new features. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto now come standard, and a Wi-Fi hot spot is now available. The 2018 also has slightly more total cargo space than previous models. 

You can potentially save thousands of dollars by buying a used vehicle, but be aware that you may miss out on some features by getting an older model. If you're interested in a used model, be sure to visit our overviews of the 2016 Mercedes-Benz G-Class and 2017 Mercedes-Benz G-Class. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 G-Class »
We Did the Research for You: 80 Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews include everything you need to know before heading to the dealership. We combine the opinions of the automotive press with quantifiable data like crash test results and reliability ratings to form a complete picture of every vehicle we rank.

This overview uses applicable research and data from the 1990 through 2018 model years.

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

With a base price of $123,600, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class has by far the highest price in a class full of SUVs that already cost more than most other vehicles. Every class competitor has a starting price around, if not substantially below, $90,000. The two most expensive trims in the G-Class lineup, the AMG G65 and G550 4x42, both have starting prices above $220,000.

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

Which Is Better: Mercedes-Benz G-Class or Land Rover Range Rover?

The Land Rover Range Rover rivals the off-road ability of the G-Class, but the Range Rover fares much better on the pavement. It has a smoother ride and more adept handling than the Mercedes, making it a better daily driver. While the Land Rover's base engine isn't as powerful as the Mercedes', it gets much better gas mileage. There's also a turbodiesel powertrain available in the Range Rover, which boasts class-leading fuel economy estimates. A supercharged V8 is available as well.

Which Is Better: Mercedes-Benz G-Class or Infiniti QX80?

The Infiniti QX80 costs almost $60,000 less than the G-Class but still finishes higher among luxury large SUVs. It comes with a powerful V8 engine and gets better fuel economy than the G-Class. The Infiniti also provides a comfortable ride and composed handling on the road. Additionally, the QX80 has significantly more cargo space than the G-Class, as well as a longer warranty. However, the Infiniti cannot match the Benz’s off-road ability. In fact, it doesn’t even come close.

Compare the G-Class, Range Rover, and QX80 »

G-Class Interior

How Many People Does the G-Class Seat?

The G-Class seats five. Its front seats are comfortable and supportive but not as pleasant as those in other Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Those up front will enjoy a commanding view of the road. Headroom is vast throughout the cabin, but taller riders will want more legroom.

G-Class and Car Seats

The G-Class has two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors in the rear outboard seats.

G-Class Interior Quality

Put aside your worries that the rugged G-Class may not live up to the Mercedes reputation for luxury. This SUV’s interior is beautiful, and it’s brimming with top-notch materials.

G-Class Cargo Space

The G-Class has less cargo space than most of its competitors, but it still has more than 38 cubic feet of space with the rear seats up. That’s enough room for vacation luggage or outdoor gear. Fold the rear seats down, and you have nearly 80 cubic feet of space, which is enough room for furniture items, provided you can fit them through the cargo hatch.

G-Class Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the G-Class include a sunroof, satellite radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, navigation, and Mercedes' COMAND infotainment system. A rear-seat entertainment system, in-vehicle Wi-Fi, and Mercedes’ mbrace Connect are available.

Because it features a central controller instead of incorporating a touch screen, the COMAND infotainment system will have a slight learning curve. Beyond that, the system is responsive and easy to use.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

G-Class Performance

G-Class Engine: No Shortage of Power

The G-Class comes standard with a 416-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V8 engine that delivers good acceleration and plenty of power for all driving situations. However, there are two performance-oriented trims with much more horsepower. The AMG G63 comes with a twin-turbocharged V8 with a 563-horsepower rating, and the range-topping AMG G65 features a twin-turbo V12 that puts out 621 horsepower.

G-Class Gas Mileage: Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel

This Mercedes gets some of the worst fuel economy estimates of any car on the road, earning 13 mpg in the city and 14 mpg on the highway. Luxury large SUVs aren’t particularly fuel-efficient in general, but the G-Class’ ratings are still 50 percent worse than some rivals’ ratings.

You’ll spend about $750 more per year on gas in the G-Class than in the Infiniti QX80 and about $1,300 more compared to the Land Rover Range Rover with its base V6.

G-Class Ride and Handling: Plenty of Room for Improvement

The Mercedes-Benz G550's on-road handling is unimpressive. There's a lot of body roll when cornering, and steering feedback is lacking. It does feel smaller than it is when driving around town, but most other luxury large SUVs provide more engaging driving experiences.

G-Class Off-Road Performance

This Mercedes is an incredibly capable off-roader. Its boxy design is helpful on trails, providing an excellent perspective on where the corners and wheels of the SUV are located. It also comes standard with plenty of off-road-oriented features, like three locking differentials and full-time four-wheel drive.

Read more about performance »

G-Class Reliability

Is the Mercedes-Benz G-Class Reliable?

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class earns a 3.5 on J.D. Power’s five-point predicted reliability rating scale. While that’s an above-average rating for the automotive industry, most luxury large SUVs have better scores.

Mercedes-Benz G-Class Warranty

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class is covered by a four-year/50,000-mile warranty. Other luxury large SUVs have similar warranty terms.

Read more about reliability »

G-Class Safety

G-Class Crash Test Results

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class hasn’t been crash tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

G-Class Safety Features

Standard active safety features include adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, and blind spot monitoring.

Read more about safety »

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

This luxury SUV is not short on capability; every G-Class has a powerful engine and comes standard with four-wheel drive. There are four trims to choose from, but most have the same comfort, infotainment, and safety features, so the engine and a few performance upgrades are all that really separate the trims from each other.

With that in mind, those who are dead set on buying a G-Class should stick with the base G550. It costs far less than the other trims but has virtually all the same features that most drivers and passengers care about. Plus, its engine already has more than 400 horsepower, so how much more power do you really need?

Mercedes-Benz G550

The G550 has a base price of $123,600. It comes standard with a 416-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V8 engine, a seven-speed automatic transmission, heated front and rear seats, a sunroof, satellite radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, navigation, Mercedes' COMAND infotainment system, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, and blind spot monitoring.

Mercedes-Benz AMG G63

The AMG G63 starts at $142,800. This is one of two high-performance G-Class trims. It features a 563-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V8 engine, performance brakes, a sport-tuned suspension, and upgraded leather upholstery.

Mercedes-Benz AMG G65

The AMG G65 has a starting price of $222,700. This trim has a 621-horsepower, twin-turbo V12 engine, larger wheels, and some new styling.

Mercedes-Benz G550 4x42

The G550 4x42 starts at $227,300. This trim is designed to be the baddest off-roader in the lineup, and it comes with several features to help achieve that goal. These include an adjustable suspension, portal axles, 22-inch wheels, heavy-duty tires, and more than 17 inches of ground clearance.

The G550 4x42 doesn’t offer some features that you can get in other trims, such as a heated steering wheel, a rear-seat entertainment system, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, or front and rear parking sensors.

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 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2018 Mercedes-Benz G-Class is largely the same as the many preceding G-Class models; this SUV hasn’t seen a lot of changes over the years. It has a well-built interior and plenty of off-road ability, but it falls short of the competition in just about every other area. That’s why it finishes at the bottom of our luxury large SUV rankings and why you’re better off considering other buying options.

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

  • "Reality check: Do you really need an SUV with triple-locking differentials, 13-mpg combined fuel economy and the ride quality of, well, a vehicle designed for the military? We get the appeal of driving such an exclusive, luxurious beast. But a Range Rover, Porsche Cayenne or any number of upscale SUVs will deliver far more comfort for far less money." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The G-Class is at its core a nearly 40-year-old military vehicle that's been gradually metamorphosed into a luxury vehicle. Ultimately these mutations have resulted in something that's optimized for neither luxury nor off-road adventure. The G-Class is hilariously hard to get into and out of, steering inputs are met with indifference, and the usefulness of its cargo and storage areas is limited. Yet this iconic truck has experienced a boost in popularity in recent years that has defied logic." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "An Audi Q7, a Toyota Land Cruiser, a Cadillac Escalade, or a Range Rover are more comfortable, they handle better, and they offer far more contemporary technologies than the G550." -- Car and Driver (2016)
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