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Which Mercedes-Benz SUV is best for me?

What’s the difference between Mercedes’ latest SUV models, and which one is right for you? Here’s our guide to the range.

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By Cazoo editorial team

With a reputation for building high-tech luxury cars that dates back more than 100 years, Mercedes-Benz is one of the most desirable car brands. That reputation was made with saloon cars, but Mercedes-Benz now has an extensive range of SUVs that are, if anything, even more desirable than the saloons.

There are eight Mercedes SUV models, spanning a huge range of sizes – the GLA, GLB, GLC, GLE, GLS and G-Class, plus the electric EQA and EQC. With so many to choose from, working out which one is right for you could be tricky. Here we answer some of the important questions to help you decide.

What’s the smallest Mercedes-Benz SUV?

All but one of Mercedes’ SUVs have a three-letter model name, with the third letter indicating its size. The smallest is the GLA, which is similar in size to other compact SUVs like the Nissan Qashqai. It’s also roughly the same size as the Mercedes A-Class hatchback but offers greater practicality and a higher seating position. There’s a pure-electric version of the GLA called the EQA, which we’ll cover in more detail later.

Next up is the GLB which, unusually for a relatively small SUV, has seven seats. It’s similar in size to rivals like the Land Rover Discovery Sport. Its third-row seats are a bit cramped for adults, but it could be ideal if you need more space than the GLA and don’t want a car as big as other seven-seat Mercedes SUVs.

Mercedes GLA

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What’s the largest Mercedes SUV?

You may have noticed that the third letter in each Mercedes SUV’s model name matches the name of the brand’s non-SUV models. You can get an idea of the size of a Mercedes SUV by looking at the ‘equivalent’ non-SUV. The GLA is equivalent to the A-Class, the GLB is equivalent to the B-Class and so on.

Following that pattern, you can see that the largest Mercedes SUV is the GLS, which is equivalent to the S-Class saloon. It’s a very large car that’s 5.2 metres (or 17 feet) long, making it even longer than the long-wheelbase version of the Range Rover. Its luxurious interior has seven seats and a huge boot. Its main rival is the BMW X7.

Moving down a size, the next biggest model is the GLE, whose main rival is the BMW X5. Then there’s the GLC, which is the same size as the Volvo XC60. The GLE is equivalent to the E-Class saloon and the GLC to the C-Class saloon.

The outlier in the range is the G-Class. It’s the Mercedes-Benz SUV model that’s been around the longest and its appeal lies largely in its retro style and exclusivity. It slots in between the GLC and GLE in size, yet costs more than either of those.

Mercedes GLS

Which Mercedes SUVs have seven seats?

If you need the extra flexibility of a seven-seat SUV, there’s plenty of choice in the Mercedes range. Some GLB, GLE and GLS models have seven seats in a three-row, 2-3-2 layout.

The GLB is the smallest seven-seat model. Its third-row seats are best suited to children, but average-size adults fit if you slide the second-row seats forwards. It’s much the same in the bigger GLE, as well.

If you regularly travel with adults in all seven seats, you need the big GLS. Every passenger, including those in the third row, will have space to relax even if they’re tall.

Adult-size third row seats in the Mercedes GLS

Which Mercedes SUV is best for dog owners?

Every Mercedes SUV has a generously-sized boot, so you’ll be able to find one suitable for your dog, however big it is. The GLA’s boot is plenty big enough for a Jack Russell, for instance, and a St. Bernard should be perfectly happy in the back of the GLS.

But not everyone who has a larger dog, like a Labrador, wants a big car. In which case, the GLB could be ideal for you – and your dog – as it has a very big boot for its relatively compact size.

Dog-friendly boot in the Mercedes GLB

Are there any hybrid or electric Mercedes SUVs?

Plug-in hybrid versions of the GLA, GLC and GLE are available. The petrol-electric GLA 250e has a zero-emissions range of up to 37 miles and its battery fully recharges in under three hours from an electric car charger. The GLC 300de and GLE 350de are both diesel-electric plug-in hybrids. The GLC has a range of up to 27 miles and can fully recharge in 90 minutes. The GLE has a much longer range of up to 66 miles and takes around three hours to recharge.

Some GLC, GLE and GLS models with petrol engines have mild-hybrid power, which Mercedes calls ‘EQ-Boost’. They have an extra electrical system that helps improve emissions and fuel consumption but doesn’t give you the option of pure electric power.

There are two pure-electric Mercedes SUVs: the EQA and EQC. The EQA is the battery-powered version of the GLA. You can tell the two apart by the EQA’s different front grille. It has a range of 260 miles. The EQC is similar in size and shape to the GLC and has a range of up to 255 miles. By the end of 2021, Mercedes is expected to have launched the EQB – the electric version of the GLB – and still more electric SUV models are in the brand’s pipeline.

Mercedes EQC on charge

Which Mercedes SUV has the biggest boot?

Unsurprisingly, the biggest Mercedes SUV has the biggest boot. Indeed, the GLS has one of the biggest boots of any car you can get. With all seven seats in place, it has more boot space than many mid-size hatchbacks, with 355 litres. In five-seat mode, there’s a massive 890 litres of space, enough for a washing machine to slot in easily. Fold down the second-row seats and you’ll have 2,400 litres of space, which is more than you find in some vans.

If you need a big boot and the GLS is too large for you, the GLE and GLB also have a huge amount of luggage space. The GLE has 630 litres with five seats, and 2,055 litres with two seats. Five-seat GLB models have 770 litres with the back seats up and 1,805 litres with them folded down (seven-seat models have slightly less space).

Van-size boot in the Mercedes GLS

Are Mercedes SUVs good off-road?

Mercedes SUVs focus more on luxurious comfort than off-road ability. That’s not to say they’ll get stuck in a muddy puddle. The GLC, GLE and GLS will go farther across rough terrain than most people will ever need them to. But their ability pales in comparison to that of the G-Class, which is one of the very best off-road cars you can get, capable of tackling the toughest terrain.

Mercedes G-Class tackles a very steep hill

Do all Mercedes SUVs have four-wheel drive?

Most Mercedes SUVs have four-wheel drive, indicated by the ‘4MATIC’ badge on the back. Only the lower-powered versions of the GLA and GLB are front-wheel drive instead.

Which Mercedes SUV is best for towing?

Any SUV is a good tow car and the Mercedes SUVs don’t disappoint. As the smallest model, the GLA has the lowest capacity at 1,400-1,800kg. The GLB can tow 1,800-2,000kg and the other models can all tow at least 2,000kg. Certain GLE models, and all GLS and G-Class models can pull 3,500kg.

Are there any sporty Mercedes SUVs?

Apart from the electric models, there’s at least one sporty, high-performance version of every Mercedes SUV. They’re sold as Mercedes-AMG cars rather than Mercedes-Benz cars, AMG being Mercedes high performance sub-brand.

Despite being taller and heavier than an equivalent high-performance saloon, the Mercedes-AMG SUVs are very fast and feel great to drive on a winding country road. The two-digit number in the car’s name tells you how fast it is – the bigger the number, the faster the car. The Mercedes-AMG GLE 63, for example, is (quite a bit) faster and more powerful than the Mercedes-AMG GLE 53.

The very fast and fun Mercedes-AMG GLC63 S

Range Summary

Mercedes GLA

The GLA – the most compact Mercedes SUV – is a popular family car in the mould of the Nissan Qashqai. The latest GLA, sold since 2020, is more spacious and practical than the previous version, which was sold new from 2014 to 2020.

Read our Mercedes-Benz GLA review

Mercedes EQA

The EQA is the electric version of the latest GLA. You can spot the difference between EQA and GLA by their different front grille and wheel designs. The EQA also has some unique interior styling details and driver information displays.

Mercedes GLB

The GLB is one of the most compact seven-seat SUVs you can get. Its extra seats could be really useful if your family is starting to feel cramped in a five-seat car, but adults will feel squeezed in the GLB’s third-row seats. In five-seat mode, its boot is huge.

Mercedes GLC

The GLC – the most popular Mercedes SUV –gives you luxury-car comfort and high-tech features in a mid-size package with plenty of space for a family of four. You can choose from two different bodies – a conventional, tall SUV or a low, sleek Coupe. Surprisingly, the Coupe doesn’t actually lose much in practicality terms, but it does cost more.

Read our Mercedes-Benz GLC review

Mercedes EQC

The EQC is the first standalone pure electric model from Mercedes. It’s a sleek mid-size SUV that’s slightly larger than the GLC but smaller than the GLE.

Mercedes GLE

The big GLE is great for big families who want the comfort and high-tech features you expect of a luxury car for a premium-car price. The latest version has been sold since 2019, replacing an older model sold from 2011 to 2019. Like the GLC, the GLE is available with either a traditional SUV shape or a sleek Coupe body.

Read our Mercedes-Benz GLE review

Mercedes GLS

The largest Mercedes SUV gives limousine levels of space and comfort for seven people, even if they’re really tall. It has Mercedes’ most advanced technology, its smoothest engines and a gargantuan boot. There’s even a Mercedes-Maybach GLS model that’s as luxurious as any Rolls-Royce.

Mercedes G-Class

The G-Class isn’t the biggest Mercedes SUV, but it’s considered the top-of-the-range model. The latest version has been sold since 2018; the previous version had been around since 1979 and became a motoring icon. The latest version is all-new but has a very similar exterior design. It’s excellent off-road and usefully practical, but its main appeal is its retro design and luxurious interior.

You’ll find a range of great-value Mercedes-Benz SUVs for sale at Cazoo. Simply use the search function to find one you love then buy or finance it online. You can choose to have it delivered to your door, or you can collect it from your nearest Cazoo Customer Centre.

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