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2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS vs Cadillac Escalade

Full-size luxury SUVs have to check certain boxes to be taken seriously, and a well-known and respected name and reputation goes a long way towards people's buying decision.

It will be interesting to see how the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS fares against one of the most iconic names in this segment, the Cadillac Escalade.

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS by the ocean


SUVs of the full-size variety don't really do pretty, so exterior styling is all about being handsome, prestigious, imposing, and possibly even a little rugged. Compared to most of its segment rivals, the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS is actually quite sleek and slightly elongated. It's not quite sporty, but it's heading in the right direction. The Escalade takes a completely no-nonsense approach to exterior styling, which is all about presence and bravado. This is not a vehicle for those who want to travel under the radar, and it looks as though little or no thought whatsoever has been given to aerodynamic sensitivities.

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS on the beach

Interior Comfort & Quality

Mercedes claims the GLS is the only full-size SUV that can comfortably accommodate seven full-size adults, and it's true that two six-foot passengers can be happy in the third-row seat. The levels of comfort are absolutely outstanding, and the luxury materials and appointments are indisputable. At the entry level, the leather seats in the Escalade are best described as hardwearing, but higher up the food chain they become truly opulent. There's enough room inside the Escalade for a family to use it for camping in, although there's not as much third-row legroom as there is in the GLS. Cadillac has upped its game inside the Escalade recently, but it's still a level below the Mercedes.

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS at sunrise

Engines & Performance

It's not unusual for big SUVs and crossovers to have just one engine option these days, but the GLS spoils us with not two, but three. You can choose between a 362 horsepower 3.0-liter V-6, a 449 horsepower 4.7-liter V-8, and even an AMG® performance variant with a 577 horsepower 5.5-liter V-8. The 4MATIC® all-wheel drive system is standard across the lineup, and all but the AMG® get a nine-speed automatic transmission. There's a choice between rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive for Escalade buyers to make, but engine choice is limited to no choice other than the 6.2-liter V-8. To be fair, it does put out a pretty healthy 420 horsepower, but that's well beaten by two of the GLS's three engines so this section has to go to the Mercedes.

2017 Cadillac Escalade downtown

Features & Equipment

At this level, it really would be easier to list what the Mercedes-Benz GLS doesn't come with rather than what it does, which is how it should be with a vehicle where the price can easily reach six figures. If any criticisms can be leveled, the infotainment system is a little cumbersome in use. Some features available in the GLS you can't get in the Escalade, but at the entry level the Caddy is seriously impressive. The base Escalade might cost more than the equivalent GLS, but the leather upholstery, wood trim, 20-inch wheels, heated seats and mirrors, power tailgate, Bose audio, and 12.3-inch display for the gauges make it well worth it. The Escalade therefore just scrapes the final round.

Inventory Contact The Cadillac Escalade has improved in leaps and bounds recently, and it really is emerging as a genuine rival to the likes of the GLS. However, there's a style, elegance, and quality about the Mercedes that just isn't found with the Cadillac yet, so we'd go for the GLS over the Escalade every time.

Learn More About the Mercedes-Benz Lineup:

2016 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe

2016 Mercedes-Benz GL

2016 Mercedes-Benz C-Class