Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2008 Cadillac ESCALADE VS 2008 Mercedes GL-Class Near Phoenix, AZ

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2008 Cadillac ESCALADE

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VS

2008 Mercedes GL-Class

Safety Comparison

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For enhanced safety, the front shoulder belts of the Cadillac Escalade are height-adjustable, and the middle and rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Mercedes GL Class doesn’t offer comfort guides on its middle or rear seat belts.

Both the Escalade and the GL Class have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding and available all-wheel drive.

Warranty Comparison

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Cadillac’s powertrain warranty covers the Escalade 1 year and 50,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the GL Class. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the GL Class ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The Escalade’s corrosion warranty is 2 years and 50,000 miles longer than the GL Class’ (6/100,000 vs. 4/50,000).

There are almost 5 times as many Cadillac dealers as there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier to get service under the Escalade’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

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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 GL Class doesn’t offer a lost coolant limp home mode, so a coolant leak could strand you or seriously damage the truck’s engine.

J.D. Power and Associates’ surveys of the owners of three-year-old cars provide the long-term dependability statistics, which show that Cadillac vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Cadillac third in reliability. With 50 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 12th.

Engine Comparison

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The Escalade’s 6.2 V8 produces 68 more horsepower (403 vs. 335) and 78 lbs.-ft. more torque (417 vs. 339) than the GL450’s standard 4.7 DOHC V8. The Escalade’s 6.2 V8 produces 21 more horsepower (403 vs. 382) and 26 lbs.-ft. more torque (417 vs. 391) than the GL550’s standard 5.5 DOHC V8.

As tested in Car and Driver the Cadillac Escalade is faster than the GL450:

Escalade

GL Class

Zero to 60 MPH

6.3 sec

6.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

16.3 sec

17.6 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.5 sec

6.9 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

3.5 sec

3.6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.8 sec

15.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

95 MPH

93 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Cadillac Escalade uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended for maximum performance). The GL Class requires premium, which can cost 25 to 50 cents more per gallon.

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Escalade offers optional 22-inch wheels. The GL Class’ largest wheels are only 21 inches.

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

The Escalade has a standard full size spare tire so your trip isn’t interrupted by a flat. A full size spare isn’t available on the GL Class, it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which limits mileage and speed before replacement.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Escalade is 3.2 inches wider in the front and 1.9 inches wider in the rear than on the GL Class.

The Escalade 4x4 handles at .74 G’s, while the GL450 pulls only .71 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Escalade 4x4 goes through Motor Trend’s slalom faster than the GL450 (57.2 vs. 57.1 MPH).

For better maneuverability, the Escalade’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the GL Class’ (39 feet vs. 39.7 feet).

Chassis Comparison

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To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Escalade has liquid-filled engine mounts. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The GL Class uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

The design of the Cadillac Escalade amounts to more than styling. The Escalade has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .363 Cd. That is lower than the GL Class (.37 to .4). A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Escalade get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the Escalade 4x4 is quieter than the GL450 (44 vs. 45 dB).

Passenger Space Comparison

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The Escalade offers optional seating for 8 passengers; the GL Class can only carry 7.

The Escalade has 1 inch more front headroom, 1 inch more front legroom, 7 inches more front shoulder room, 6.3 inches more rear shoulder room and 11.2 inches more third row shoulder room than the GL Class.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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

Escalade

GL Class

Behind Third Seat

16.9 cubic feet

14.3 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

n/a

43.8 cubic feet

Third Seat Removed

60.3 cubic feet

n/a

Second Seat Folded

108.9 cubic feet

83.3 cubic feet

The Escalade’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the liftgate door, to allow quicker loading of small packages. The GL Class’ rear cargo window doesn’t open.

Ergonomics Comparison

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The Escalade has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The driver can also remotely turn on the heater or air conditioner. The GL Class doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The Escalade’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The GL Class doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

Heated windshield washer fluid is standard on the Escalade to defrost the washer nozzles and quickly clear ice and frost from the windshield without scraping. The GL Class doesn’t offer heated windshield washer fluid. Its optional heated washer nozzles will defrost the washer fluid but not the windshield.

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 GL Class only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

While driving with high-beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Escalade detect other vehicles that could be blinded and automatically switch to low-beams. The GL Class doesn’t offer automatic dimming high-beams.

When the Escalade is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The GL Class’ mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Escalade’s optional air conditioned front seats cool the driver and front passenger and help take the sting out of hot leather in Summer. The GL Class doesn’t offer air conditioned front seats.

Economic Advantages Comparison

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Insurance will cost less for the Escalade owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Escalade will cost $579 less than the GL Class over a five year period.

The Escalade is less expensive to operate than the GL Class because of its lower insurance rate. Typical repairs cost much less on the Escalade than the GL Class, including $264 less for a water pump, $659 less for an alternator, $137 less for a starter, $68 less for fuel injection, $118 less for a timing belt/chain and $396 less for a power steering pump.

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