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S550 vs. GL550 as a Mommy Car

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S550 vs. GL550 as a Mommy Car

 
Old 11-24-2014, 02:29 PM
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S550 vs. GL550 as a Mommy Car

Hi Forum!

Long-time lurker, first-time poster here

I am a first-time mommy/chauffeur to a 1 1/2 year old sweetheart. I have always driven full-size SUVs, and currently have a Range Rover which we will be dumping soon because of its unreliability. My husband has had a long and happy history with Mercedes, and suggested I try that next. Initially, I went straight to look at the GL550, because that is their full-size SUV option and seemed like the sensible, practical choice. I found underwhelmed with it (particularly the interior), to be quite frank, and then the hubby suggested the S550. I have mixed feelings on both, and was hoping you experts could weigh in on which will be the right choice for me. Here are my thoughts on each...

GL550: Pros: It's a full-sized SUV, which is what I have always driven. The large body feels very safe, which is very important when driving baby around. It seats 7 (my husband calls it a bus ), so Grandma, Grandpa, the nanny, etc. can all come along. Obviously, ample trunk space is another pro for all of that baby equipment. Cons: The interior looks and feels very dated to me. The dash looks overly basic and very reminiscent of Mercedes I remember seeing about 10-15 years ago! For a $100k+ price tag, I would expect something to feel a bit more modern and stylish. Also, the GL is overly common with mommies in my neighborhood, and that also makes it feel more mundane. I feel zero excitement when I think about getting this car (particularly in that price category).

S550: Pros: It's simply STUNNING. Every part of it (aesthetically, technology-wise, etc) feels ultra modern and cutting edge. I also know that S-class uses amazing safety technology, but do wonder how much technology can compensate vs. the sheer size of the GL. Cons: I have never driven a sedan, ever. I worry about feeling awkward and in less command when I'm driving down lower to the road. It is only a 5-seater, and obviously much less trunk space (although I hear that in the near future, toddlers will have much less equipment to lug around...parents, is that true!?). ...But did I mention, it's stunning?

All opinions here are welcome and much appreciated, as I need to choose one rather quickly and really feel stumped here. I may post this on the GL forum as well, just to hear opinions from fans of both and keep it unbiased

Thanks,
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Old 11-24-2014, 04:02 PM
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Same choice here, going with an S class. Look at your use and gauge how much is actual vs rainy day/nice to have ie we thought we would miss the 7 seats but used them only twice in a year so lots of the GL, for us, was nice to have but very rarely used.
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Old 11-24-2014, 04:12 PM
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My mother had the same dilemma when I was a toddler, but with an ML instead.

She originally had a W140 S500 before trading it in for an ML430 when it first came out. I have to say from my past experiences, an suv was much more convenient for me as a youngster . Granted yes, the S500 was more comfortable and easier to get into but there was much more headroom in the back in the ML and just felt more voluminous. Also for times when I had to bring large projects to school, I could just place it on the cargo cover in the trunk which could not have been done in the sedan.

If you just want to have one car, the S-Class is great before your child starts going to school; there's plenty of room in the trunk to store the strollers and goods. However, once s/he starts going to school you're better off switching to an suv; you'll appreciate the extra cargo room not to mention the extra seats when you're shuttling home your child's friends over for a playdate.

Just my two cents.

Last edited by 5634MG; 11-24-2014 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 11-24-2014, 05:33 PM
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unless your into the tech and gadgets i would say go for the GL. you're already used to suv type vehicles and you still get the reliability and safety of the mercedes brand.
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Old 11-24-2014, 06:19 PM
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Unless $100k is pocket change to you, go drive both and then decide; no one ever has to make a decision like this THAT quickly ... You can make time to take time. I chauffeur my three kids in the e63

Best of luck
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Old 11-24-2014, 06:45 PM
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Kinda...
I have both (GL350 +S550) so feel free to buzz me with questions. I very much agree with your initial assessment. The S class is truly stunning and worth every penny paid. As a daily driver of young kids? Tough call- first I'd cringe at that interior getting juice and Cheerios on it . The trunk will not be easy to deal with if you have a stroller. Forget Costco runs if you need paper towels etc. As far as safety goes, the S class wins by a large margin. SUVs are large and with the GL, safe. But the S class is considered a standard of safety.

The GL- great people mover. When we first got it I was okay with the interior, but after having my S it certainly feels low rent. They call it the S class of SUVs, but it is not. Don't get me wrong, it's a great truck. It swallows cargo just as well as my old Escalade ESV, but is far smoother, quiet and refined. The interior is not up to the level of the truck, but here is a redesign a year away that should hopefully elevate it. If I was looking for a vehicle solely to shuttle kids I'd have to go GL though- it's better suited for the job and the best 7 person SUv made...
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Old 11-24-2014, 09:22 PM
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Compromise and get a G Wagon.
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Old 11-24-2014, 11:28 PM
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Consider active safety i.e. ability to avoid an accident, in addition to usual passive safety considerations

Compare 45-0 or 65-0 braking distances of each (each on summer/winter perf tires not crap all-season/runflats which usu have vastly grtr braking dists)

Chassis ability to swerve confidently and w/stability in a 65MPH emergent maneuver in traffic

Risks of intra-car missles (stuff from cargo area missling into passgrs) of SUV in any severe decel/crash

Risks of rollover in emergent maneuver of each...and relative roof strength of each in such a scenario

IMO, no SUV or wagon or hatchback (or sedan) on planet rivals safety and brilliant structural/systems/software engineering of a new S-Class w/approp perf tires and MBC (would argue superior vs 4Matic/Airmatic/crap tires) vs plausible emergent scenarios in any weather in any major US urban region where these cars are used daily

Optimal family car is an S65 w/ceramic brakes and appropriate perf tires/forged wheels if one has resources, even if one only drives at legal speed lims and is simply focused on maximal personal safety: quite frankly $250K is awfully cheap vs tail risks of any crash to one's health, which no amt of money can buy back post-crash entailing injuries/disabilities
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Old 11-25-2014, 04:35 AM
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Get a W222 S550 ,trunk space is big enough considering in my W212 I packed all the 4 wheels with the boxes and a few little box along with them and it still had enough space for notebook and little things
Just don't buy a hybrid one when available because of reduced trunk space due to battery packs


Last edited by BenzV12; 11-25-2014 at 04:39 AM.
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Old 11-25-2014, 07:41 AM
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what does your husband say? lol
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Old 11-25-2014, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by BenzV12 View Post
Just don't buy a hybrid one when available because of reduced trunk space due to battery packs
If you want to max trunk space, also skip the executive rear seats/warmth and comfort/powered rear seats and high end stereo upgrade ... stick with stock rear seats
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Old 11-25-2014, 08:11 AM
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Since you have always driven an SUV and are more comfortable driving it, I would suggest that you first drive your husband’s car for few days and see how you feel before making a switch. The main issue with a sedan is less truck space. I have an E-Class which by no means compares to the new S Class, but still at times you may find it challenging to fit items in the trunk when you have a stroller in there. Last weekend I just picked up a snow shovel from Costco and since I had a stroller in the trunk, I was not able to fit it at any angle and had to resort to putting that inside the cabin. Of course, this wouldn’t have been a problem with the trunk in S-Class, but just giving you an example that SUV is more versatile when it comes to space. I think it would also be easier for you to get the baby in and out from an SUV as compared to the car as there is less bending.

I agree with you regarding the look and feel of the GL. I don’t like the interior and especially the exterior styling as it looks very weak and more like a minivan at some angles. I would suggest that you consider the new redesigned Range Rover. Maybe the reliability of those have gotten better than the previous generation RR? Or if status symbol is not a factor, then you may also want to consider the Lexus GX460 – it is a perfect mid-sized SUV with a very modern/well equipped interior, plus lots of comfort and safety. I think it is very comparable to RR in terms of size and other features.
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Old 11-25-2014, 11:01 AM
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Like you, my wife has never driven a sedan. She will never drive my S550 or any other sedan. She only likes SUVs. She currently drives an ML320. The car is really easy for her to drive and park. The trunk is very well spaced which makes it great for grocery items. My son once played cello and it fit fine in the trunk. However when I wanted to buy her an GL, she said it was good, but did not like the fact it was long which made it difficult to park. So that is why I am planning to get her a ML350. Much smaller and much better for her. Pick the one you are more comfortable with. But if I were you, pick the GL.
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Old 11-25-2014, 11:12 AM
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Get the mommy G.
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Old 11-25-2014, 12:18 PM
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Kinda...
Originally Posted by WSH View Post
Optimal family car is an S65 w/ceramic brakes and appropriate perf tires/forged wheels if one has resources, even if one only drives at legal speed lims and is simply focused on maximal personal safety: quite frankly $250K is awfully cheap vs tail risks of any crash to one's health, which no amt of money can buy back post-crash entailing injuries/disabilities
See, I prefer to throw caution to wind. I live my life on the edge and as such I prefer the higher risk associated with driving an S550 over the more pedestrian S65...
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Old 11-25-2014, 02:44 PM
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not sure why I have two postings now....

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Old 11-25-2014, 02:45 PM
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Great question. We just went through this a year or so ago at my house. My wife prefers a SUV -vs- a sedan as well. She's driven my 15' S550 on a couple occasions & doesn't care for it. Her primary objections are that it's too low, too long & at any given time - the dash screens present too much information to the driver. I'm, guessing that trunk space might be an issue for you as well as the lower ride height - which will mean a lot of bending over as you strap your son/daughter into their car seat, etc.

We sat in & drove a new GL550 in June of this year. I thought it was nice, but it is a BIG vehicle & it feels/drives like a big vehicle. With a high center of gravity, there is an element of pitch & roll to any cornering.

I concur with your thought to abandon the Range Rover because of reliability fears. The RR was my wife's (and mine too) first choice if we were going to lease - primarily because of their beautiful cabin/interior.

A few people have mentioned the ML class. Have you driven one of those yet? Yes, it's smaller than the GL - but it should be fine - especially if it's mostly just you, your child, and his/her gear in the car.

As Pristine mentioned about - since you have always driven an SUV and are more comfortable driving that sort of vehicle, I'd trade vehicles with your husband for a few days & give yourself time to form an opinion. If you're like my wife - you won't be happy without the higher ride height and the additional bulk of a SUV surrounding you.

No need to feel stumped. Buy what you feel most comfortable in.

Enjoy !

Last edited by jrpisha; 11-25-2014 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 11-25-2014, 04:22 PM
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I still think you'd like a G wagon. If you don't want to feel like a Mommy in your neighborhood. You said there are quiote a few GL's. Check out the G wagon. The 2013+ are much better inside too, after the refresh.
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Old 11-25-2014, 10:10 PM
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I been driving Suburbans last 10 years talking about comfort...., I'm 6.4" sliding in out of the Suburban is a dream, I also did look at the GL's, I agree everyting you said, didn't like them much, it wasn't my kind of SUV, much prefer G Wagon...

Recently got into 2014 S63 / S550, my goodness, talking about luxury, comfort, love it all the way, it took little getting use to the getting in and out of the S63 but no worries...

Difficult choice, having a 1 1/2 year old, and having the baby getting in & out of S Class is more labor incentive vs SUV will be alot easier on your back, S Class is not practical with baby, I would go with some kind of SUV...

Good luck.

Last edited by DATURK; 11-25-2014 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 11-25-2014, 10:30 PM
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Originally Posted by DATURK View Post
I been driving Suburbans last 10 years talking about comfort...., I'm 6.4" sliding in out of the Suburban is a dream, I also did look at the GL's, I agree everyting you said, didn't like them much, it wasn't my kind of SUV, much prefer G Wagon...


Good luck.
I think from everything you said the G wagon hits the nail on the head. It's drives like an s. Super heavy vault like ride and all those other GL mommy's are going to be jealous.
Attached Thumbnails S550 vs. GL550 as a Mommy Car-image-1882451566.jpg   S550 vs. GL550 as a Mommy Car-image-1347472079.jpg  
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Old 11-26-2014, 04:40 AM
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Guys, you miss a point she says her GL's interior never attracts to her in a few words . G Wagon sounds a cool choice but I doubt the op would like it considering GL and G's interiors are almost same and on down side G's display is like a knock off one as some of modern MB cars
Turning circle is also very poor given that it's size more than 13 meters as I recall and that's a Cadillac Fleetwood territory
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Old 11-26-2014, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Jason B View Post
I think from everything you said the G wagon hits the nail on the head. It's drives like an s. Super heavy vault like ride and all those other GL mommy's are going to be jealous.
for god sakes that yard needs some flora/fauna!!!!
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Old 11-30-2014, 01:30 PM
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Interesting thread.

I have a 2015 s550 and just got a 2015 GL550 for wife/kid use and my winter business trips. Kids are 5 and almost 3.


S550 has much better rear entertainment system that can be controlled by the front far better than in GL which seems to have yesteryear's technology. Is actually more of a pain to get the movies going for the kids than it was in our 2007 escalade.

With bulky car seats installed, the S550 has better leg room for the kids than GL. It is surprisingly tight (both wide and I are tall) in the back. Not a problem in S-class.

Trunk room may be an issue in S550. Granted ours has rear seat package which robs trunk room but regardless, trunk space is not cavernous. This factor sometimes causes us to use GL out of necessity. It is also more of an issue this time of year with Christmas decorating, hauling, etc that I wouldn't want to do with S550 anyway.

Leaning over to put kids in seats is obviously harder with S550 but not a huge issue in my opinion.

All in all, S550 is a much nicer car for similar money and would be great 90% of the time as mommy wagon. But....sometimes you need a different kind of vehicle.
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Old 11-30-2014, 01:32 PM
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fwiw I can fit my BOB stroller in the trunk of my S class
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Old 11-30-2014, 11:36 PM
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S-class hands down from a safety and technology perspective. The GL's interior can easily be jazzed up with a Designo option but the electronics are dated on the G/GL/ML. That said they are still miles above the latest Range Rover.

I recommend the S. Good luck deciding...
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