MPG

Explorer

RWD

2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/28 hwy

AWD

2.3 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

3.0 turbo V6

18 city/24 hwy

ST 3.0 turbo V6

18 city/24 hwy

GLS

AWD

450 3.0 turbo V6

16 city/22 hwy

550 4.7 turbo V8

14 city/19 hwy

AMG 63 5.5 turbo V8

13 city/18 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the Explorer Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The GLS doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The Explorer 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.

Transmission

A 10-speed automatic is standard on the Ford Explorer, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a nine-speed automatic is available for the GLS.

Tires and Wheels

Having a flat tire is dangerous, inconvenient and expensive. The self-sealing tires available on the Explorer can automatically seal most punctures up to 3/16 of an inch, effectively preventing most flat tires. The GLS doesn’t offer self-sealing tires.

Suspension and Handling

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Explorer is 1.6 inches wider in the front and .8 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the GLS.

For better maneuverability, the Explorer’s turning circle is 1.5 feet tighter than the GLS’ (39.2 feet vs. 40.7 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Explorer has a greater minimum ground clearance than the AMG GLS 63 (7.9 vs. 7.8 inches), allowing the Explorer to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The Ford Explorer may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 800 to 1000 pounds less than the Mercedes GLS.

The Explorer is 3.2 inches shorter than the GLS, making the Explorer easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the Explorer (except 3.3 V6 non-Hybrid) uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The GLS doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Explorer Hybrid 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

The Explorer has 9.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the GLS (152.7 vs. 143.6).

The Explorer has 2.7 inches more front legroom, 3.3 inches more front shoulder room, .5 inches more rear headroom, .5 inches more rear legroom, 3.6 inches more rear shoulder room and 4.1 inches more third row shoulder room than the GLS.

Cargo Capacity

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

Explorer

GLS

Behind Third Seat

18.2 cubic feet

16 cubic feet

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum’s liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The GLS doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Explorer’s exterior PIN entry system. The GLS doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its Mercedes-Benz Emergency Call can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Explorer 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.

The Explorer 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 costs extra on the GLS.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Ford Explorer Limited/ST/Platinum has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The GLS doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Model Availability

The Explorer is available in both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The GLS doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Recommendations

The Ford Explorer outsold the Mercedes GLS by almost 12 to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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