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MSRP: $70,150 - 126,150

8.3

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.4
Performance: 8.6
Interior: 7.8
Safety:
This model has never been tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class Review

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS excels across the board. Energetic engine options, a serene ride, lively handling, and a lavish, roomy cabin help it secure a spot near the top of our luxury large SUV rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Ample engine power
  • Confident handling and a comfortable ride
  • Upscale cabin
  • Three rows of spacious seats
  • Rivals have more standard features

Is the Mercedes-Benz GLS a Good SUV?

The Mercedes-Benz GLS is a great luxury large SUV. It’s nimbler than you’d expect from such a large vehicle, and it delivers one of the plushest rides among luxury SUVs. This Mercedes has a range of muscular twin-turbocharged engines that provide ample power for most driving situations. Inside, it coddles up to seven people in luxury and comfort. Cargo space is good for the class, and there's a long list of available features.

Should I Buy the Mercedes-Benz GLS?

The GLS should appeal to a variety of shoppers, including those looking for a family hauler, a fun daily driver, or a luxury vehicle. And its roughly $70,000 price tag makes it a relative bargain in this pricey class.

The Lincoln Navigator is arguably the only other luxury large SUV that's as well-rounded as the GLS. The Lincoln comes packed with standard features and has few faults. If you’re looking to venture off the beaten path in style, you might also take a look at the Land Rover Range Rover.

Compare the GLS, Navigator, and Range Rover »

Should I Buy a New or Used Mercedes-Benz GLS?

The Mercedes-Benz GLS debuted for the 2017 model year as a heavily updated successor to the GL. There haven't been any major changes to the GLS since its introduction, so consider shopping for a used model, which would get you a nearly identical vehicle and likely save you thousands of dollars compared to a new GLS.

Before making your decision, read our reviews of the 2017 and 2018 GLS. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used cars.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 GLS »

We Did the Research for You: 38 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 38 Mercedes-Benz GLS reviews – along with performance specs, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2019 GLS is the right new car for you. This 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which spans the 2017 through 2019 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain objective, we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team manages the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Mercedes-Benz GLS Cost?

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 starts at $70,150, which is below average for a luxury large SUV. The midrange GLS 550 retails for $95,750, and the high-performance AMG GLS 63 has a base price of $126,150. Each trim comes with a powertrain specific to that model and standard all-wheel drive.

Mercedes offers an extensive list of individual options and packages that can raise the price of the two lower trims by tens of thousands of dollars. Since the AMG is packed with the most options, its price won't creep up like with the other trims.

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

Mercedes-Benz GLS Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Mercedes-Benz GLS or Lincoln Navigator?

The Lincoln Navigator is a top-rated luxury large SUV that does almost everything well. It offers spacious seating for up to eight and affords more cargo space than the GLS. Additionally, it comes in a long-wheelbase variant with even more cargo- and third-row-passenger space than the Mercedes. Both SUVs have ritzy cabins with premium materials, but the Navigator has a lengthier list of standard tech features. All those amenities make the Navigator a better value proposition than the GLS, even though it retails for a few thousand dollars more than the Mercedes. The Navigator also offers good performance thanks to a strong 450-horsepower V6 engine and poised handling. Both SUVs are good choices, but the Lincoln offers more value.

Which Is Better: Mercedes-Benz GLS or Cadillac Escalade?

The Cadillac Escalade pales in comparison to the Mercedes GLS. The Cadillac’s standard V8 engine is powerful, but the GLS offers a range of brawny engine options. Additionally, the Cadillac has a cramped third row. You could remedy that with the long-wheelbase Escalade ESV, but that costs around $8,000 more than the base GLS. Add to that the GLS’ other advantages – nicer cabin materials, a gentler ride, and more engaging handling – and it’s not hard to see why the Mercedes is the superior luxury large SUV.

Compare the GLS, Navigator, and Escalade »

GLS Interior

How Many People Does the GLS Seat?

The Mercedes-Benz GLS seats seven people. The standard front seats provide all-day comfort, and you can up the luxury quotient with available multicontour seats that also have a massaging function. The second row is spacious, and it’s optional with power tilting to grant easier access to the third row. Unlike many 3-row SUVs, the GLS’ third-row seats are comfortable for most adults. Those above 6 feet or so may feel a little cramped, though.

Synthetic leather upholstery, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and heated front seats are standard. Other options include leather upholstery, Nappa leather, a 10-way power-adjustable passenger seat, ventilated front seats, and heated second-row seats.

GLS and Child Car Seats

The GLS has four complete sets of rear-seat LATCH connections. The second-row middle seat features a top tether anchor. In the middle row, the lower anchors are set down in the seat cushion and hard to access due to stiff upholstery. The three tether anchors for this row are easy to find on the back of the seats. The third row's lower anchors are recessed, and they cut out parts of the seat, but the bars are still set deep. Tether anchors for the last two seats are on the cargo floor, and they can be confused with other hardware.

GLS Interior Quality

The GLS' interior quality should meet your expectations. There are plenty of high-end trim pieces and design elements, like wood and metal inlays. A long list of specific choices for those components allows lots of possibilities for customization. Although synthetic leather upholstery is standard, it mostly feels like the real thing and generally impresses. You can also upgrade to real leather or quilted Designo Nappa leather for more opulence.

GLS Cargo Space

The 2019 GLS has average cargo space for a luxury large SUV. Behind the third row, you'll get 16 cubic feet, which is similar to the trunk size of many midsize or large sedans. If you don't use those two seats often, keep them folded down to open up a much more SUV-like 49.4 cubic feet. A standard power-folding third row makes that space easy to access. With both back rows folded down, the GLS swallows up 93.8 cubic feet of cargo.

GLS Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The base GLS features Mercedes' COMAND infotainment system with a 7-inch display screen, Bluetooth, and HD Radio. That list of standard features is slim compared to a lot of luxury vehicles’. Options include navigation, satellite radio, voice command activation, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. Other upgrades include an 8-inch infotainment screen, a Harman Kardon or Bang & Olufsen premium sound system, tri-zone automatic climate control, and a rear-seat entertainment system.

In lieu of a touch screen, COMAND uses a combination of a rotary knob and a touchpad on the center console. The interface is easy to learn, but you might find that it requires more attention than necessary as you're driving.

Read more about interior »

GLS Performance

GLS Engine: Not a Bad One in the Bunch

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS gives you a choice of three engines. The standard outfit is a 362-horsepower twin-turbocharged V6 that gets the large GLS moving with little drama. For more authoritative muscle, look to the 449-horsepower twin-turbocharged V8 in the GLS 550. Both of these engines deliver sharp throttle response and feel powerful in any situation. A nine-speed automatic transmission is paired with both and provides timely, precise shifts.

The high-performance AMG GLS 63 features a hand-built 5.5-liter twin-turbo V8 that roars to life with 577 horsepower. It's mated to an older seven-speed automatic transmission, but this AMG GLS is still one of the fastest SUVs on the market today. It can go from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and has a top speed of 168 mph.

GLS Gas Mileage: Pretty Good

In a class where fuel economy is mostly an afterthought, the 2019 GLS fares pretty well. The standard all-wheel-drive GLS 450 model earns an EPA-estimated 16 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. The GLS 550 with its V8 returns an estimated 14 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the highway, while the AMG GLS earns 13/18 mpg city/highway.

The Lincoln Navigator is comparable to the GLS, getting up to 16/23 mpg city/highway. On the other hand, the Cadillac Escalade’s best returns are 14/23 mpg city/ highway.

GLS Ride and Handling: Nice and Balanced

The GLS drives with an enthusiasm and engagement that you might not expect from a large SUV. It feels nimble through curves and tight spaces thanks to light and accurate steering. Some test drivers wished that the steering was more responsive or provided better feedback from the road, but that's a minor complaint for a vehicle of this caliber.

A standard air suspension does away with most pavement imperfections and contributes to the soft ride you want in a luxury cruiser.  

Read more about performance »

GLS Reliability

Is the Mercedes-Benz GLS Reliable?

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS earns a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Mercedes-Benz GLS Warranty

Mercedes-Benz covers the GLS with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

GLS Safety

GLS Crash Test Results

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the Mercedes GLS. That's common for luxury vehicles.

GLS Safety Features

The 2019 GLS comes standard with a rearview camera and supplemental driver assistance features like attention and drowsiness monitoring, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. Available advanced safety features include adaptive LED headlights, automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, active steering assist, pedestrian detection, Mercedes Pre Safe Plus, speed limit assist, automatic parking assist, and a surround-view camera.

Read more about safety »

GLS Dimensions and Weight

This Mercedes-Benz is roughly 16.8 feet long, with AMG models gaining an extra inch. Curb weight ranges from 5,335 to 5,754 pounds. It has a gross vehicle weight rating of 7,165 pounds.

Where Is the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS Built?

Mercedes-Benz builds the GLS in Alabama.

Which Mercedes-Benz GLS Model Is Right for Me?

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS comes in three models: 450, 550, and AMG 63. Each trim has a distinct powertrain, and all come standard with all-wheel drive. The base 450 model will likely be the best choice for most shoppers, as it comes with a long list of standard features and satisfying performance. The GLS 450 offers a ton of options, whether as standalone add-ons or as part of a package, that make it easy to customize the car to fit your wants and budget. We recommend springing for the Premium package. This includes blind spot monitoring and lane departure warning, as well as everyday conveniences like proximity keyless entry, a power-adjustable passenger seat, navigation, satellite radio, voice command activation, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.

Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 4Matic

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 starts at $70,150 and comes with a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include synthetic leather upholstery, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, a power-folding third row, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 115-volt household-style power outlet, push-button start, a sunroof, and a power liftgate. Standard infotainment features include Bluetooth, HD Radio, and a 7-inch display screen. The GLS also comes standard with a rearview camera, driver attention and drowsiness monitoring, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

The Lighting package costs $1,390 and adds adaptive LED headlights and automatic high beams. The Premium package ($3,830) includes blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, proximity keyless entry, a 10-way power-adjustable passenger seat, navigation, satellite radio, voice command activation, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. For $2,250, the Driver Assistance package comes with adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, active steering assist, pedestrian detection, Pre Safe Plus, and speed limit assist. The Parking Assistance package ($1,290) includes automatic parking assist and a surround-view camera.  

There are also a couple of performance packages. One costs $3,700 and includes variable stabilizer bars and adaptive dampers, and an off-road package ($2,850) adds a skid plate and a dedicated off-road driving mode.

You can also choose from a long list of individual options including leather upholstery, Nappa leather, a heated steering wheel, a wood- and leather-trimmed steering wheel, multicontour and massaging front seats, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a power-operated second row, soft-close doors, second-row sunshades, a panoramic roof, a Harman Kardon stereo, a Bang & Olufsen premium sound system, tri-zone automatic climate control, and a rear-seat entertainment system.

Mercedes-Benz GLS 550 4Matic

The GLS 550 features a 4.7-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine and a nine-speed automatic transmission. Prices start at $95,750. It comes with leather upholstery, a 10-way power-adjustable passenger seat, ventilated and multicontour front seats with a massaging feature, an 8-inch infotainment screen, a Harman Kardon stereo, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, proximity keyless entry, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, automatic parking assist, a surround-view camera, adaptive dampers, adaptive LED headlights, and automatic high beams.

Many individual options are also available for the 550 model for the same price as they are in the base model.

Mercedes-Benz AMG GLS 63

The Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 4Matic is the high-performance model. It has a base price of $126,150 and comes with a 5.5-liter twin-turbo AMG V8 engine, a seven-speed automatic transmission, and a sport-tuned suspension. The Mercedes-AMG GLS includes nearly every feature you can get in a GLS, though you'll still have to shell out extra cash if you want a heated or sport steering wheel, a Bang & Olufsen stereo, a power-operated second row, sunshades, or a rear-seat entertainment system.

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 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS blends performance, practicality, and luxury in a way that few luxury large SUVs do. For anyone shopping in the class, it's worth your consideration.

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

  • "The 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class hits the sweet spot for luxury SUVs, offering room for seven passengers in a right-sized platform that shuns overt bulk and garish exterior treatments. Offering a choice of two twin-turbocharged engines, the GLS isn’t lacking in power or ability, although it can’t perform the kind of off-road duty expected of its larger sibling, the Gelandewagen G-Class. With a tow rating of 7,500 pounds, the GLS can certainly hold its own against most competitors, and although it lacks a diesel or hybrid option, the V6 model earns a respectable 22 mpg on the highway. Toss in the air suspension and plethora of Mercedes-Benz technology, safety and luxury features, and it’s hard to find reasons not to own this SUV." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Full-size 7-seater SUVs don't come any finer than the … Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class. It's spacious, sumptuous, safe and surprisingly capable on tarmac and rough terrain alike." -- Autotrader (2018)
  • "The GLS-class is a stylish, spacious, and dynamically sound take on a family SUV. It may not have as much cargo space as a GMC Yukon XL, but there's no denying the touch of glamour that a three-pointed star brings to a vehicle. The GLS-class feels much smaller than its size on the road; it's surprisingly quick and nimble, and, unlike many others in the class, it isn't onerous to park." -- Car and Driver (2018)
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