Look-a-like: Mercedes-Benz GLS and…


When the first-generation Mercedes-Benz GL-Class made its debut in 2006, many (rightly) viewed it as a super-sized version of the brand’s own ML-Class, designed to appeal to the US market hungry for large, 7-seat SUVs. But then as the second-generation model was facelifted in 2015, the company renamed it as the GLS, reflecting its new naming nomenclature, but also its desire for the model to be viewed as the “S-Class SUV”, and a genuine competitor to rivals such as Range Rover and even Bentley Bentayga. Now, the finer points on whether the GLS fulfills that brief have been debated elsewhere, but what always undermined the model’s luxury aspirations is the second-generation’s uncanny resemblance from the rear to an altogether less luxury model…

…the Dodge Journey (known to Italians as Fiat Freemont). Yes, the two models are very different from the front and side-views, but from the rear it’s hard to escape the fact that the taillights have pretty much the same shape! The similarity is further compounded by the same positioning of the license plate on both models, as well as a similar rear window, complete with a small spoiler above. Of course, when you stare at the two side-by-side you realize that the execution of the details on the Mercedes-Benz is from another class, while the Dodge looks exactly like what it is: an under-developed car conceived at one of Chrysler’s lowest points. Still, you have to wonder – should Mercedes stylist not have made sure the GL/GLSs styling  steered further clear of such unflattering comparisons?



  1. I can see the resemblance. The rear of the Benz looks better, but as a whole I think the Journey has a more coherent design. Those side folds of the GLS aren’t elegant and the sudden elevation at the end of the window line doesn’t make it the ‘S-Class SUV’ either.

  2. Mercedes could have made it better, + + original. They have their up & downs and this article may open their imagination.

    1. Carlos, Losagne – you’re both right to point out that the GL/GLS is probably one of the less successful designs that M-B has released in the past decade. What always made me wonder is why the company was not bolder in the design of its SUVs – cars that size give the designers a much larger canvas than the sedans/wagons do, and just stretching the same design features / light designs etc. over it does not produce great results (just look at the frumpy Tesla Model X, Porsche Cayenne or Betley Bentayga). For a truly special design you need a clean-sheet approach, like that taken by Range Rover or Infiniti with the QX70 / FX

  3. Krzysztof, I totally agree. You’d think designers love to have more working space. 9 out of 10 German SUVs are larger versions of the regular cars. Let’s not forget (well in a way I already did) the hideous GLK. That was an awful design!. Its successor isn’t much better, because in my opinion the GLC looks too much like a heightened C Estate and not like a car designed as an SUV such as the cars you mentioned.

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