2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class: Car Seat Check

17_Mercedes-Benz_GLS-Class_CSC_LEAD.jpeg 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class | photo by Angela Conners

CARS.COM — For 2017, Mercedes-Benz’s GLS-Class (formerly the GL-Class) gets an optional 8-inch multimedia screen with a touchpad controller, touched-up front-end styling, a horsepower boost under the hood and a new nine-speed automatic transmission on most models. The automaker intends for all of this to better align the three-row, seven-seat GLS-Class with the style and amenities of its newer brand siblings. Unfortunately, the GLS has fallen out of line with its previous GL-Class self in several areas of our Car Seat Checks since the last time we tested it three years ago.

More Car Seat Checks

How many car seats fit in the second row? Two

How many car seats fit in the third row? Two

What We Like

  • Three top tether anchors are positioned about two-thirds of the way down the second-row seatback and posed no connection issues. There are also two top tether anchors in the third row directly behind the seats on the cargo floor — though caregivers should take note that several other general cargo hooks are positioned near the tether anchors, so be sure to use only the appropriately labeled anchors for car-seat installation.
  • Our convertible seat in the rear-facing position installed easily in the second row, though we did experience connection issues with the seat’s bulkier rigid Latch connectors (more on that later), whereas the hooklike connectors of our infant seat found their mark with relative ease.
  • Third-row access is a snap thanks to a power-folding second-row bench seat that collapses at the touch of a button located near the head restraint on both the driver and passenger sides, leaving a large opening for easy ingress and egress.
  • Although connecting the rigid Latch connectors of our convertible seat in the forward-facing position was a bit of a struggle, the seat fit well in the third row and we had no problem with the top tether anchors.
  • The seat-belt buckles are on sturdy bases and will be easy for children to grasp in order to strap themselves into a booster seat.

What We Don’t

  • Two sets of lower Latch anchors are recessed about a third of an inch into the seat bight and are difficult to access with the convertible seat’s rigid anchors due to the stiff leather cushions and crowding by the seat-belt buckle.
  • In the third row, two sets of lower Latch anchors sit about an inch into the seat bight with a large opening around each anchor. It was difficult to maneuver the Latch connectors through the opening to make a connection.
  • A 5-foot-6 front passenger had so-so legroom after moving the seat up, but a taller passenger will require more space to be comfortable. We also had to move the front passenger seat forward a bit to fit the infant seat.
  • To fit the forward-facing convertible seat in the second row, we had to raise the head restraint, plus we encountered installation difficulties due to the Latch situation.
  • The large, adjustable (but not removable) head restraint pushed our booster seat far off the seatback where it needs to be flush. We encountered a similar issue with the booster seat in the third row, though not quite to the same degree as in the second row.

Grading Scale

A: Plenty of room for the car seat and the child; doesn’t impact driver or front-passenger legroom. Easy to find and connect to Latch and tether anchors. No fit issues involving head restraint or seat contouring. Easy access to the third row.  

B: Plenty of room. One fit or connection issue. Some problems accessing third row when available.

C: Marginal room. Two fit or connection issues. Difficult to access third row when available.

D: Insufficient room. Two or more fit or connection issues.

F: Does not fit or is unsafe.

About’s Car Seat Checks

Editors Jennifer Geiger, Jennifer Newman and Matt Schmitz are certified child safety seat installation technicians.

For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide Classic Connect 30 infant-safety seat, a Britax Marathon convertible seat and Graco TurboBooster seat. The front seats are adjusted for a 6-foot driver and a shorter passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver’s seat, and the infant and convertible seats are installed behind the front passenger seat.

We also install the forward-facing convertible in the second row’s middle seat with the booster and infant seat in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit; a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. If there’s a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible. To learn more about how we conduct our Car Seat Checks, go here.

Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat, and that Latch anchors have a weight limit of 65 pounds, including the weight of the child and the weight of the seat itself.

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