Son's Automotive Group Compares 2017 Honda Pilot VS 2017 Mercedes GLS Near Buford, GA

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2017 Honda Pilot

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2017 Honda Pilot

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2017 Mercedes GLS

Safety Comparison

To help make backing safer, the Pilot Elite’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The GLS doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Pilot and the GLS have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear parking sensors.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Pilot its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2017, a rating granted to only 44 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The GLS has not been tested, yet.

Warranty Comparison

Honda’s powertrain warranty covers the Pilot 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the GLS. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the GLS ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 3 times as many Honda dealers as there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Pilot’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The engine in the Pilot has a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engines in the GLS have dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 9 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 12th.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Pilot 4WD 9-speed Auto gets better fuel mileage than the GLS450 V6 (19 city/26 hwy vs. 17 city/22 hwy).

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Pilot’s fuel efficiency. The GLS doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Honda Pilot uses regular unleaded gasoline. The GLS requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Pilot has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The GLS doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Pilot stops shorter than the GLS:





70 to 0 MPH

180 feet

186 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels Comparison

The Pilot has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The GLS doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Pilot Elite 4WD handles at .80 G’s, while the GLS450 pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Pilot Elite 4WD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the GLS350d (27.8 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 28.7 seconds @ .54 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Pilot’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the GLS’ (39.4 feet vs. 40.7 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The Honda Pilot may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 1300 to 1450 pounds less than the Mercedes GLS.

The Pilot is 7.5 inches shorter than the GLS, making the Pilot easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The Pilot uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The GLS doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Pilot has standard seating for 8 passengers; the GLS can only carry 7.

The Pilot has .6 inches more front legroom, 3.5 inches more front shoulder room, .2 inches more rear headroom, 3.7 inches more rear shoulder room and 7.1 inches more third row shoulder room than the GLS.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Pilot’s middle and third row seats recline. The GLS’ third row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Pilot’s cargo area provides more volume than the GLS.




Behind Third Seat

18.5 cubic feet

16 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

55.9 cubic feet

49.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

109 cubic feet

93.8 cubic feet

Ergonomics Comparison

The Pilot EX/EX-L/Touring/Elite 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 climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The GLS doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Pilot has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the GLS only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

Economic Advantages Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Pilot is less expensive to operate than the GLS because it costs $558 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Pilot than the GLS, including $356 less for a water pump, $175 less for an alternator, $162 less for front brake pads, $242 less for a starter, $410 less for fuel injection, $56 less for a fuel pump, $390 less for front struts and $560 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations Comparison

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Honda Pilot, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels.

The Honda Pilot outsold the Mercedes GLS by over four to one during the 2016 model year.

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