HELP­ING HAND

Step­ping up to a higher en­try level

Geelong Advertiser - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE - WANT AD­VICE ON BUY­ING A CAR? WRITE TO CARS­GUIDE AT PO BOX 2808, GPO SYD­NEY, NSW, 2001 OR EMAIL PAUL.GOVER@NEWS.COM.AU CRAIG DUFF KICKS THE TYRES FOR A READER

I need a car that’s a lit­tle higher for ease of get­ting in and out and that has room for my mother’s walker grand­kids’ pusher. I found the Mercedes GLA a lit­tle small in­side but love ex­ter­nal look. I’m look­ing safe and eco­nom­i­cal car. have 13year-old Mercedes-Benz C200 Kom­pres­sor. Danuta Pater­son SUVs with a slop­ing roofline are the in-thing right now. The the­ory is you get coupe styling

SUV space but of­ten rear head­room com­pro­mised. You can around that by buy­ing some­thing like the GLC coupe, though it takes an­other $30,000 to lib­er­ate ex­tra space. The more prac­ti­cal wagon will save you $10,000. Also con­sider high-end main­stream mod­els such as Mazda’s CX-5 and the Hyundai Tuc­son.

CHOICES

Mercedes GLA, from $43,600 The base Benz is de­signed to meet a price point but still comes with many fea­tures you’d want in a premium SUV. De­fault gear in­cludes seven airbags, blind-spot mon­i­tor­ing, eight-inch in­fo­tain­ment screen

sat­nav, dual-zone air­con and semi-au­to­mated park­ing. Claimed fuel use is 5.7L/100km. I’d spec­ify the $2264 driver as­sis­tance pack with adap­tive cruise con­trol lanede­par­ture warn­ing.

In­finiti QX30, from $48,900 The is the GLA’s twi­n­un­der-the-skin so it packs same sharp styling and driv­ing dy­nam­ics. Stan­dard all-wheel drive a higher-out­put en­gine pushes start­ing price above than the Merc and it’s thirstier at 6.9L/100km. Stan­dard gear in­cludes adap­tive cruise con­trol with auto emer­gency brak­ing, seven-inch touch­screen sat­nav 10-speaker Bose au­dio. Brand recog­ni­tion, or lack thereof, is still an is­sue for In­finiti — the oth­er­wise well-spec­i­fied QX30 should have sold more than 83 ex­am­ples so far this year.

Audi Q3, from $42,900 Higher sides and a con­ven­tional SUV shape en­dow more head­room than in the Benz, though the boot space isn’t as us­able. This is prac­ti­cal mem­ber of Audi range (the Q2 fills the styledriven niche). There are am­ple en­gine and trans­mis­sion op­tions Q3, as with all Audis, feels painstak­ingly put to­gether. The best of the Audi ac­ces­sories gen­er­ally come ex­tra-cost op­tions. Petrol ver­sions claim as lit­tle as 5.9L/100km and diesels 5.2L.

WILD­CARD

Lexus NX200t, from $53,550 The styling on the is as dis­tinc­tive as Benz, though for dif­fer­ent rea­sons. The di­men­sions are con­ven­tional SUV; front-on look any­thing but. front-wheel drive en­try level will save you $4500 over the AWD ver­sion and use less fuel to boot; though claimed of 7.7L/100km puts it at thirstier end this field. The NX is fit­ted with eight airbags, 10-speaker Pi­o­neer au­dio, LED head­lamps, sat­nav and tyre pres­sure mon­i­tor.

VER­DICT

If part of the car-buy­ing ex­pe­ri­ence is to ap­pre­ci­ate the looks your ve­hi­cle, then you might have ac­cept space com­pro­mise and go for Mercedes GLA. The other op­tions are de­riv­a­tive or con­ven­tional SUVs.

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