While there are plenty of large SUVs on the market, not all of them are created equal. That’s why
buying a large SUVthat pulls out all the stops—one that comfortably fits your family (and your family members’ cargo), has top safety ratings, is
child-friendly, and will
last over the long-term—might be harder than you think.
CR goes on to highlight its top picks for reliable, comfortable, and safe large SUVs, as well as a popular model that consumers avoid.
Note that the vehicles recommended by CR are those which have earned high scores on CR’s road, reliability, safety, and crash tests.
Steer clear of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS is a popular pick, and seemingly for good reason. At first glance, this three-row SUV offers the consumer a host of benefits: an elegant interior, a powerful 6-cylinder turbo engine, and a smooth drive. Its seats are plush and comfortable, and its third row is spacious—this SUV is built for
family driving, yet also manages to exude luxury.
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS is equipped with a variety of safety features, including automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, and blind spot warning. Consumers will easily be won over by the vehicle’s flashy features, comfortable passenger area, and stylish look.
Don’t be fooled by these positives, however. CR emphasizes that consumers should skip the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS. The main reason for CR’s disdain is the SUV’s low reliability score, which would turn off any conscientious SUV-buyer.
The other reason is that the model’s controls are “very distracting to use,” according to CR. The site adds, “Many functions are buried in a digital version of a customer-service phone tree. Some actions take several steps, such as adjusting a seat’s lumbar support.”
CR continues, “It’s easy to inadvertently brush any of the car’s many touch-based controllers and end up changing a display or audio selection, or toggling to a different setting entirely.”
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS scored well on CR’s road test, while tanking the predicted reliability test. Overall, the model earned a mediocre predicted owner satisfaction rating. The model’s price ranges from between $76,000 at the lowest end and $160,500 at the high end.
Opt for the 2021 BMW X7 instead
Savvy car-buyers will opt for the
2021 BMW X7instead. This luxury large SUV scored well on CR’s road test and achieved an average predicted reliability score. The model ranked high in terms of overall predicted owner satisfaction and is slightly cheaper than the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS, with its price ranging from between $74,900 and $141,300.
According to CR, there are several reasons to choose the 2021 BMW X7, including its “strong and smooth powertrain, comfortable ride, quiet cabin, spacious interior that’s well-assembled with high-quality materials, [and] good fuel economy.”
CR admits that though this luxury SUV may be the better pick, it still has some downsides. The model’s controls are overly complicated, for example, and its lane-keeping assistance system tends to overcorrect drivers, sometimes steering them off-course.
The 2021 BMW X7 also needs premium fuel, which is an inconvenience, and its second-row seats don’t fold down.
Another alternative to the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS
CR recommends another alternative to the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS. It’s “under the radar” selection—meaning an SUV that is less popular, but still a good pick—is the 2021 Buick Enclave, another luxury large sport-utility vehicle.
Starting at only $40,300 and maxing out at $56,300, this is certainly a much cheaper option than the pricey Mercedes-Benz GLS. Moreover, the Buick Enclave has a decent predicted reliability, making it a more trustworthy pick to boot.
According to CR, this model “rides comfortably,” with a “quiet cabin, very roomy interior, easy to use infotainment system, [and] smooth and lively powertrain.”
Check out CR’s full list for other popular SUVs to avoid, including the 2021 Nissan Armada, as well as other alternatives, including the 2021 Ford Expedition and the 2021 Toyota Sequoia.