You don’t need a crystal ball to realise that the large MPV of the future will be SUV-shaped. With the traditional MPV market in freefall and sales of SUVs booming, manufacturers are going the extra mile to add seven-seat practicality to their cars.
Thanks to adventurous looks and the ability to venture into the unknown, sport utility vehicles are the perfect machines for family buyers wanting to make the most out of life.
Mercedes hopes that its latest large SUV – the second-generation GL-Class – will tap into the growing market for premium seven-seaters. The newcomer replaces the 2006 original, and hits the UK this month promising lower running costs, improved practicality and an array of tech and gadgets.
But if the GL is to be a success in the UK, it’ll need to see off one of the most impressive all-rounders on the 4x4 market – the Land Rover Discovery 4. As with the Mercedes, it comes with a third row of seats as standard, plus a raft of engineering innovations designed to keep everyone aboard safe and entertained.
Yet while the multi-award-winning Discovery is still a great package, it’s far from the newest kid on the block. Can the GL steal its thunder? Read on as we reveal all...
If space for seven, luxury and all-season ability are at the top of your wish-list, both these cars get the job done with a fair degree of style.
The new GL is a marked improvement over its lumbering predecessor. Mercedes has done impressive work in making it leaner, cleaner and more enjoyable to drive.
It’s the more convincing seven-seater of the two, and if you crave the premium finish that comes with the three-pointed star, it’s also the more luxurious choice. Factor in the lower running costs and wider range of gadgets, and you have an extremely convincing package. However, despite eclipsing the Discovery on a couple of fronts, it doesn’t take victory here.
The GL’s biggest downfall is its price. At £59,485 for the basic car, it faces an uphill struggle against the gadget-laden Discovery HSE. The fact that Mercedes has reserved so much must-have equipment – such as metallic paint and real leather trim – for the options list only serves to widen the gap in terms of value for money.
So victory goes, once again, to the Land Rover Discovery. As with a striker nearing the end of his career, the British 4x4 still has enough flashes of brilliance to run rings around younger opposition.