Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2016 Mercedes Benz GL-Class VS 2016 Honda Pilot Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2016 Mercedes Benz GL-Class

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VS

2016 Honda Pilot

Safety Comparison

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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 Honda Pilot 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 Pilot doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

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

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

Both the GL-Class and the Pilot have standard driver and passenger frontal 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.

The Mercedes GL-Class weighs 1054 to 1700 pounds more than the Honda Pilot. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty Comparison

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

Reliability Comparison

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

Engine Comparison

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The GL450’s standard 3.0 turbo V6 produces 82 more horsepower (362 vs. 280) and 107 lbs.-ft. more torque (369 vs. 262) than the Pilot’s 3.5 SOHC V6. The GL550’s standard 4.7 turbo V8 produces 149 more horsepower (429 vs. 280) and 254 lbs.-ft. more torque (516 vs. 262) than the Pilot’s 3.5 SOHC V6. The GL63 AMG’s standard 5.5 turbo V8 produces 270 more horsepower (550 vs. 280) and 298 lbs.-ft. more torque (560 vs. 262) than the Pilot’s 3.5 SOHC V6.

The GL-Class’ 3.0 turbo V6 diesel produces 193 lbs.-ft. more torque (455 vs. 262) than the Pilot’s 3.5 SOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the GL450 is faster than the Honda Pilot:

GL-Class

Pilot

Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

6.5 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

15.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94.6 MPH

91.2 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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The GL-Class has 6.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Pilot (26.4 vs. 19.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

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

GL350 BlueTEC/GL450

GL63 AMG

Pilot

Front Rotors

13.8 inches

15.4 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

13.6 inches

13 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 Pilot are solid, not vented.

The GL-Class stops much shorter than the Pilot:

GL-Class

Pilot

70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

180 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

104 feet

128 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

146 feet

153 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

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For better traction, the GL-Class has larger standard tires than the Pilot (275/55R19 vs. 245/60R18). The GL550/GL63 AMG’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Pilot (295/40R21 vs. 245/60R18).

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 Pilot LX/EX/EX-L’s standard 60 series tires. The GL550/GL63 AMG’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Pilot Touring/Elite’s 50 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 Pilot LX/EX/EX-L. The GL550/GL63 AMG’s 21-inch wheels are larger than the 20-inch wheels on the Pilot Touring/Elite.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

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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 Pilot 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 Pilot, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The GL-Class offers an optional 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 Pilot’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The GL-Class has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The GL-Class’ height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Pilot doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GL-Class’ wheelbase is 10.1 inches longer than on the Pilot (121.1 inches vs. 111 inches).

The GL-Class’ front to rear weight distribution is more even (50% to 50%) than the Pilot’s (56.1% to 43.9%). This gives the GL-Class more stable handling and braking.

The GL63 AMG handles at .84 G’s, while the Pilot Elite 4WD pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The GL63 AMG executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Pilot Elite 4WD (26.8 seconds @ .69 average G’s vs. 27.8 seconds @ .62 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the GL-Class has a 3.6 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Pilot (10.9 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the GL-Class to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The GL-Class’ minimum ground clearance is 4.7 inches higher than on the Pilot (12 vs. 7.3 inches).

Passenger Space Comparison

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The GL-Class has 1.1 inches more front headroom, .1 inches more rear legroom and 3.1 inches more third row legroom than the Pilot.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

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

Ergonomics Comparison

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Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Pilot Touring/Elite, 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’ optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Pilot doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the GL-Class and the Pilot 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 Pilot 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 Pilot’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

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 Pilot’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 Pilot doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The GL-Class has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. When the ignition turns off, the headlights turn off after a delay timed to allow you to securely get to your front door. The Pilot has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the EX/EX-L/Touring/Elite.

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

The GL-Class’ standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Honda only offers heated mirrors on the Pilot EX/EX-L/Touring/Elite.

The GL-Class’ power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Pilot’s power mirror controls are on the dash, hidden behind the steering wheel, where they are awkward to manipulate.

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 Pilot’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The GL-Class offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Pilot offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The GL-Class has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Pilot EX/EX-L/Touring/Elite.

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 Pilot doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations Comparison

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The Mercedes GL-Class won two awards in Kiplinger’s 2015 car issue.

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

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