Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2016 Mercedes Benz GL-Class VS 2016 GMC Yukon Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2016 Mercedes Benz GL-Class

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2016 GMC Yukon

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 GMC Yukon doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

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

The GL-Class has standard NECK-PRO Front Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the NECK-PRO Front Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Yukon doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

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

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

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 Yukon doesn’t offer a night vision system.

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

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 Yukon 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 Yukon uses a body-on-frame design, which has no frame members above the floor of the vehicle.

Both the GL-Class and the Yukon 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, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems and blind spot warning systems.

Warranty Comparison

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

Reliability Comparison

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the GL-Class have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the engines in the Yukon.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the GL-Class second among large premium suvs in their 2015 Initial Quality Study. The Yukon isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are better in initial quality than GMC vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 14th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC is ranked 16th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than GMC vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC is ranked 9th.

Engine Comparison

The GL-Class has more powerful engines than the Yukon:



GL450 3.0 turbo V6

362 HP

369 lbs.-ft.

GL550 4.7 turbo V8

429 HP

516 lbs.-ft.

GL63 AMG 5.5 turbo V8

550 HP

560 lbs.-ft.

Yukon 5.3 V8

355 HP

383 lbs.-ft.

Yukon Denali 6.2 V8

420 HP

460 lbs.-ft.

The GL-Class’ 3.0 turbo V6 diesel produces 72 lbs.-ft. more torque (455 vs. 383) than the Yukon’s standard 5.3 V8.

As tested in Motor Trend the GL450 3.0 turbo V6 is faster than the GMC Yukon 5.3 V8:



Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

6.9 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

10.3 sec

12.2 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

3.2 sec

3.6 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

15.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94.6 MPH

90 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the GL350 BlueTEC gets better fuel mileage than the Yukon 4WD (19 city/26 hwy vs. 16 city/22 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the GL-Class GL450/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 Yukon doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the GL-Class’ brake rotors are larger than those on the Yukon:

GL350 BlueTEC/GL450



Front Rotors

13.8 inches

15.4 inches

13 inches

The GL-Class stops much shorter than the Yukon:



60 to 0 MPH

104 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the GL-Class has larger standard tires than the Yukon (275/55R19 vs. 265/65R18). The GL550/GL63 AMG’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Yukon (295/40R21 vs. 285/45R22).

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 Yukon SLE/SLT’s standard 65 series tires. The GL550/GL63 AMG’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Yukon’s optional 45 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 Yukon SLE/SLT.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For superior ride and handling, the Mercedes GL-Class has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The GMC Yukon has a solid rear axle, with a non-independent rear suspension.

The GL-Class has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the GL-Class flat and controlled during cornering. The Yukon’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The GL-Class offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The Yukon doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

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

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 Yukon doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GL-Class’ wheelbase is 5.1 inches longer than on the Yukon (121.1 inches vs. 116 inches).

The GL-Class’ front to rear weight distribution is more even (50% to 50%) than the Yukon’s (52% to 48%). This gives the GL-Class more stable handling and braking.

The GL63 AMG handles at .86 G’s, while the Yukon SLT pulls only .75 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The GL63 AMG executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.2 seconds quicker than the Yukon SLT (26.8 seconds @ .69 average G’s vs. 28 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the GL-Class has a 2.9 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Yukon (10.9 vs. 8 inches), allowing the GL-Class to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The GL-Class’ minimum ground clearance is 4 inches higher than on the Yukon (12 vs. 8 inches).

Chassis Comparison

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 Yukon doesn’t use unibody construction, but a body-on-frame design.

Passenger Space Comparison

The GL-Class has 1.3 inches more rear headroom, .8 inches more third row headroom and 10.2 inches more third row legroom than the Yukon.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The GL-Class’ cargo area provides more volume than the Yukon.



Behind Third Seat

16 cubic feet

15.3 cubic feet

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



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



Ergonomics Comparison

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

If the windows are left down on the GL-Class the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote (remote must be aimed at door sensor); on a hot day the driver can lower the windows. The driver of the Yukon can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

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 Yukon doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

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 Yukon doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the GL-Class offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Yukon 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 Yukon doesn’t offer secondary sun visors.

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 Yukon doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations Comparison

The Mercedes GL-Class won two awards in Kiplinger’s 2015 car issue. The GMC Yukon didn't win any award.

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

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