An SUV for hauling your family around doesn’t have to be frumpy.
If you’re in the market for a luxury family SUV but don’t know where to start, start with a list of what you need: Room for everyone and their stuff. Comfortable seats, because you’re spending more time in the car than anyone. Well organized space so you can make organized trips. Great lighting so you never feel claustrophobic. Luxurious touches that make you feel like the queen of the castle.
A week with the Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 (or the 580 if you want more power with a V8) made me realize that yeah, all those things really matter.
The largest in the Mercedes-Benz lineup, this SUV is perfectly suited as a spacious, luxurious, capable, and SAFE family ride.
But what does ‘luxury’ even mean anyway?
When I think luxury, I think about European cars, expensive cars, sports cars, but not family cars for some reason. How can a family hauler that’s built for spaciousness and safety be luxury? Well, I’m here to tell you all the many features of luxury in this particular grocery-getter carpool queen of a car.
Feeling Extra: Let me Count the Ways
Picture this, post-COVID times… Your child has a sports tournament in a city nearby, close enough to drive on the coming weekend. Her friend also needs a ride, if possible, but you want to bring your entire family too. Possible? Yes, the Mercedes-Benz GLS seats up to 7 if you opt for the second-row bench seat. Plus there is enough space for weekend luggage behind the third row.
Now you’re in a strange city, and in need of your usual extra-hot low-fat caramel macchiato but no clue where the nearest drive-thru is. Have no fear, just ASK your Mercedes with a ‘Hey Mercedes, find me a coffee’ voice command, and she will TELL YOU where your nearest coffee joint is and directions plus navigation on how to get there!
@xoconniepetersCoffee please. ##carsoftiktok ##heymercedes ##mbux ##shedrivesnow♬ original sound – xoconniepeters
Long drive back to the sports venue? No problem, the cup holders are HEATED (and cooled for those who prefer their caffeine on ice). A little chilly outside and you didn’t bring a sweater, not to worry, the armrests in both the front and second-row are also HEATED!
What More Could You Ask For? All the TECH!
There are nine, yes NINE USB-C charging ports throughout the Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 – even 4 in the THIRD row for those tech-obsessed teens, plus a wireless charging pad in the front. USB-C may not be mainstream, YET, but it is Mercedes way of future-proofing this car and you can get USB-C cords anywhere now, plus they charge must faster than a typical USB does.
The MBUX system I mentioned when talking about voice commands can also adjust the FIVE zone climate control in the car to any temp or even just lower it if you say “Hey Mercedes I’m hot”, and turn on/off the seat heaters etcetera.
The Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 also comes equipped with a giant screen spanning over half of the dashboard with a 12.5″ Instrument cluster that is completely customizable to your liking on all 3 display areas and a 12.5″ infotainment touchscreen. The myriad of ways to utilize the infotainment system is astounding – via touchscreen, mini track-pads on the steering wheel, via voice command AND via a larger trackpad on the center console.
Of course, this also means it integrates seamlessly with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Related: The 2019 Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen: The Exclusive Celebrity-Mobile Gets a Luxury Upgrade and it’s Phenomenal
Advanced Safety Features are Extra but Worth It
When you’re carrying precious cargo like your children, you want all the safety features you can possibly get, am I right? The GLS 450 doesn’t skimp on safety tech, the Intelligent Drive package (CAD $3000) includes Active Distance assist, steering assist, evasive steering, active brake assist, emergency stop, active blind spot, active lane change, pre-safe, and active stop and go and speed adaptation.
The Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 also comes equipped with “Collision prevention assist” which helps in avoiding a collision. The system, relying on sensors, constantly monitors the distance between your car and any obstacles in its path (pedestrians or other vehicles). When the distance is sensed as too close a visual warning is sent out. When the driver fails to respond to the visual warning, a second audible warning is sent.
Collisions are successfully prevented by heeding these warnings. Apart from sending out warnings, the smart Mercedes cars can also automatically cut down on the speed by partial application of brakes. If the driver loses control over the car by the sudden drop in speed, the PRE-SAFE system applies corrective brakes to avoid a collision. When the driver does not respond to the warnings, the vehicle will attempt to avoid collision on its own. In the case of unpreventable collision, measures to reduce the severity of the impact are undertaken.
I found the lane departure and land-keeping to be quite aggressive however and turned it off for highway driving.
As you can see, all of this is what I define as “luxury” – the safety, tech, comfort, space and some cool extras like the heated armrests and cupholder make the GLS 450 a very well-equipped family ride.
How much does all of this goodness cost?
You’re going to have to have quite a hefty budget for this new addition to the family. The base price for the Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 is USD $75,950 and CAD $95,500. As shown, this GLS 450 is CAD $106,690 and includes the Sport, Premium, and Intelligent Drive packages.
What We Loved in the Mercedes-Benz GLS 450
- The panoramic sunroof is absolutely huge, and that’s a WIN for me, along with a light-filtering cover so that it’s not completely dark when closed. This helps the entire interior back to the third row feel much less closed-in.
- The driver and passenger seats have so many adjustable settings, with leg support for taller drivers, headrest adjustments, even kinetic seats – kind of like massage but designed to help move your body in a meaningful way on long drives.
- Legroom is plentiful for both second and third-row passengers. We took a road trip to Whistler in this car and all 3 of my girls had no complaints, even loaded down with a few days worth of luggage.
- Air suspension! Lift when you want a higher drive vantage point (or need to go off-road) and lower it to load/unload. Also, when you put it in Sport mode for a more exciting drive experience, it lowers automatically!
- If towing is something you need, the GLS comes with a 7700 lb towing capacity as well. What a well-rounded family car.
View this post on Instagram
This is the largest vehicle for Mercedes-Benz and seats 6 or 7. (6 as shown). A few things I forgot to cover in the video are that it can tow up to 7700 lbs; the rearview and 360° camera is amazing – it’s extremely clear and pops out when in use on the back of the car. Also – the windshield is heated – which would be amazing for Canadian Winters!! ❄️ @mercedesbenzcanada #mercedesbenz #mercedesbenzgls450 #benz #mercedesgls450 #carreviews #auto #cars #luxurysuv #luxurycars #familycars #womeninautomotive #shebuyscars #agirlsguidetocars #shedrives #carblogger #pemberton #whistler #explorebc
Disclosure: The GLS 450 was provided by Mercedes-Benz Canada for a week for review purposes. All opinions are my own.