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Luxury large SUVs from popular brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz are typically some of the most expensive cars. However, they also offer lavish interior accommodations and more exciting powertrains compared to their economical counterparts.

Any luxury SUV is likely to offer a first-class ride, but one model, in particular, stands out above the rest. Here’s why the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class appealed to several professional auto critics.

The Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class comes out on top

Edmunds says that the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLS is better than any luxury rivals in this category. Critics would still buy it over the Lincoln Navigator or the Cadillac Escalade, despite the lower starting prices of the competing SUVs. It’s worth noting the GLS-Class also has the highest gas mileage compared to its rivals, up to 20 mpg combined city/highway.

The 2023 Lexus LX 600 comes close, earning 19 mpg combined. However, while it’s still a decent large luxury SUV, Edmunds gave this model the lowest overall score in the segment. Despite its cumbersome size, its cargo capacity is still below average, and it has clumsy handling. 

What’s so great about the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class?

A blue 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 4MATIC full-size luxury SUV model exiting a car wash
Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 4MATIC | MBUSA

According to Edmunds, it’s easy to forget how big the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class is thanks to its peppy powertrain options. The GLS 450 model is the only one with a turbo-six engine, which produces 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. Every other trim has a V8 engine under the hood, capable of up to 603 hp in the GLS 63.

Every trim has standard all-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic transmission to match the engine. Even the base turbo-six can get the GLS-Class to 60 mph in just 6.2 seconds. The steering wheel is responsive and easy to control, with strong brakes to inspire even more driver confidence.

The Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class rides on 21-inch wheels, which reportedly don’t negatively impact the SUV’s ride quality. Edmunds recommends buying the E-Active Body Control suspension for the best experience, but the standard adaptive air suspension isn’t bad either.

Edmunds gave the 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLS a near-perfect score regarding interior quality and accommodations. The base trim has seating for up to seven passengers, and the optional captain’s chairs shrink that capacity by one seat. Even if you’re 6 feet tall, Edmunds confirms that you can sit comfortably in the rear row. 

The synthetic leather seats feature wide seat cushions that provide generous support. Only the front seats have standard heating and ventilation, though both can be purchased as upgrades for second-row passengers. The third row’s seats can only be optioned with heating.

Even with so much room for riders, the GLS-Class still boasts competitive cargo capacities. Behind the third row, 17 cubic ft of space is available. With the second row folded flat, you can get nearly 49 cubic ft of cargo area. 

While the MBUX infotainment interface requires a lot of practice to navigate, it’s worth the effort. Both the convenience and safety features exceeded testers’ expectations, particularly the adaptive cruise control and navigation functions. Every GLS-Class also features a panoramic sunroof, a wireless charging pad, and smartphone integration.

The GLS-Class has barely any flaws

Some of the Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class’s interior control buttons have tiny text, so it’s hard to use them unless you’re used to the vehicle already. Testers also found that some of the controls are awkwardly placed, which can prove distracting while you’re trying to drive. 

Fortunately, the cabin is such a comfortable place that drivers won’t mind spending extra time inside while learning the control layout. Combined with the GLS-Class’s easygoing driving manners and spacious accommodations, we’re not surprised that it’s an Edmunds (and consumer) favorite.

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