Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2014 Mercedes Benz GL-Class VS 2014 Nissan Armada Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2014 Mercedes Benz GL-Class

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2014 Nissan Armada

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes GL-Class have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Nissan Armada doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

The GL-Class’ front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Armada doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The GL-Class offers optional PRE-SAFE Brake, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Armada doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All Wheel Drive is standard on the GL-Class. But it costs extra on the Armada.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the GL-Class’ standard Downhill Speed Regulation allows you to creep down safely. The Armada doesn’t offer Downhill Speed Regulation.

The Mercedes GL-Class has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Armada doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

An active infrared night vision system optional on the GL-Class helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then displays the image on a monitor in the dashboard. The Armada doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The GL-Class’ optional lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Armada doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The GL-Class offers an optional Surround View Camera to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Armada only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The GL-Class’ optional blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them and moves the vehicle back into its lane. The Armada doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

The GL-Class’ driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Armada doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

For better protection of the passenger compartment, the GL-Class uses safety cell construction with a three-dimensional high-strength frame that surrounds the passenger compartment. It provides extra impact protection and a sturdy mounting location for door hardware and side impact beams. The Armada uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

The GL-Class has standard mbrace, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Armada doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the GL-Class and the Armada have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control and electronic stability systems to prevent skidding.

Warranty Comparison

The GL-Class comes with a full 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck. The Armada’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates rated the GL-Class second among large premium CUVs in their 2013 Initial Quality Study. The Armada isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2013 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 36 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 30th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2013 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 22 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 19th.

Engine Comparison

The GL450’s standard 4.7 turbo V8 produces 45 more horsepower (362 vs. 317) and 21 lbs.-ft. more torque (406 vs. 385) than the Armada’s 5.6 DOHC V8. The GL550’s standard 4.7 turbo V8 produces 112 more horsepower (429 vs. 317) and 131 lbs.-ft. more torque (516 vs. 385) than the Armada’s 5.6 DOHC V8. The GL63 AMG’s standard 5.5 turbo V8 produces 233 more horsepower (550 vs. 317) and 175 lbs.-ft. more torque (560 vs. 385) than the Armada’s 5.6 DOHC V8.

The GL-Class’ 3.0 turbo V6 diesel produces 70 lbs.-ft. more torque (455 vs. 385) than the Armada’s 5.6 DOHC V8.

As tested in Motor Trend the GL63 AMG is faster than the Nissan Armada:



Zero to 60 MPH

4.7 sec

7.1 sec

Quarter Mile

13.1 sec

15.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

108.3 MPH

88.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the GL350 BlueTEC gets better fuel mileage than the Armada 4WD (19 city/26 hwy vs. 12 city/18 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the GL450 gets better fuel mileage than the Armada AWD (14 city/19 hwy vs. 12 city/18 hwy). The GL550 gets better fuel mileage than the Armada AWD (13 city/18 hwy vs. 12 city/18 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the GL-Class GL63 AMG’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Armada doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the GL63 AMG’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Armada:



Front Rotors

15.4 inches

13.8 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

12.6 inches

The GL-Class’ standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Armada are solid, not vented.

The GL-Class stops much shorter than the Armada:



70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

196 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

104 feet

134 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the GL-Class has larger standard tires than the Armada (275/55R19 vs. 265/70R18). The GL550/GL63 AMG’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Armada (295/40R21 vs. 275/60R20).

The GL-Class’ standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Armada SV’s standard 70 series tires. The GL550/GL63 AMG’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Armada SL/Platinum’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GL-Class has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Armada SV. The GL550/GL63 AMG’s 21-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels on the Armada SL/Platinum.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The front and rear suspension of the GL-Class uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the Armada, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The GL-Class offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Armada’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The GL-Class’ drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Armada doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

The GL63 AMG handles at .84 G’s, while the Armada SL pulls only .73 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The GL63 AMG executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2 seconds quicker than the Armada SL 4x4 (26.8 seconds @ .69 average G’s vs. 28.8 seconds @ .57 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the GL-Class has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Armada (10.9 vs. 10.4 inches), allowing the GL-Class to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The GL-Class’ minimum ground clearance is 1.6 inches higher than on the Armada (12 vs. 10.4 inches).

Chassis Comparison

The GL-Class GL350 BlueTEC/GL450 is 6.1 inches shorter than the Armada, making the GL-Class easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Unibody construction makes the GL-Class’ chassis much stiffer, which contributes to better handling, and enables softer springs to be used for a better ride. Unibody construction’s stiffness also contributes to better durability and less body squeaks and rattles. The Armada doesn’t use unibody construction, but a body-on-frame design.

Passenger Space Comparison

The GL-Class has .2 inches more front headroom, 3 inches more third row headroom and 2.8 inches more third row legroom than the Armada.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The GL-Class’ cargo area is larger than the Armada’s in almost every dimension:



Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)



Pressing a switch automatically lowers the GL-Class’ optional second and third row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Armada doesn’t offer automatic folding second row seats.

Ergonomics Comparison

Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Armada Platinum, the GL-Class offers an optional driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The power windows standard on both the GL-Class and the Armada have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the GL-Class is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Armada prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The GL-Class’ front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Armada’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The GL-Class has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Armada doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The GL-Class’ rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Armada’s intermittent wipers change speed with vehicle speed, but can’t turn on and off or change speed based on changing rainfall.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The GL-Class offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Armada doesn’t offer headlight washers.

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

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the GL-Class offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Armada doesn’t offer cornering lights. The GL-Class also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

To better shield the driver and front passenger’s vision, the GL-Class has standard dual-element sun visors that can block glare from two directions simultaneously. The Armada doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

When the GL-Class with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Armada’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

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

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the GL-Class offers an optional Distronic Plus, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Armada doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Optional Mercedes-Benz Apps for the GL-Class allows the driver and passengers access to select programs on their smartphones, including finding fuel prices at nearby service stations, searching the internet and other connected activities without taking their eyes off the road or their hands from the wheel. The Armada doesn’t offer factory integrated smartphone program access.

The GL-Class has a 115 volt a/c outlet, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters which can break or get misplaced. The Armada doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The GL-Class’ optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Armada doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

The GL-Class will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The Intellichoice estimates that the GL-Class will retain 39.91% to 53.9% of its original price after five years, while the Armada only retains 34.89% to 43.29%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the GL-Class is less expensive to operate than the Armada because typical repairs cost much less on the GL-Class than the Armada, including $7 less for fuel injection, $98 less for a fuel pump and $745 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations Comparison

Motor Trend selected the GL-Class as their 2013 Sport Utility of the Year. The Armada has never been chosen.

The Mercedes GL-Class outsold the Nissan Armada by almost two to one during the 2013 model year.

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