MERCEDES-BENZ GLA200 CDI
There’s more to the Benz for the standard sticker price, from semi-automated parallel parking to blind-spot monitoring and a powered tailgate. The three-year warranty requires servicing every 12 months/25,000km and a pre-paid $1980 covers the first three trips. Resale is likewise projected to be 56 per cent.
A raked-back look endows the GLA with a sportier profile than the Audi. For some, the Q3’s elevated drive will be part of the appeal; for mine the GLA’s a better compromise. The interior has more buttons and fewer soft-touch plastics than dearer Mercs but front-seat comfort isn’t an issue.
Being down 10kW/40Nm doesn’t hurt the Benz ‘s fuel use. The 4.6L/100km claimed use from the 2.1-litre turbo mill will be closer to 6L on the road but is a valid reason to buy a diesel if you do decent kilometres. As with Audi, power is transferred using a seven-speed dualclutch auto but it only goes to the front wheels in the Benz.
ANCAP has yet to rate the GLA but the compact SUV has earned a five-star score with sister-site EuroNCAP. ANCAP rates the A-Class and CLA-Class cars on which the GLA is based at 35.8 and 36.16/37 respectively.
The GLA is a sharper-edged tool. The steering is livelier, as is the suspension, which faintly jolts over potholes. If the chassis is willing, the engine is found wanting. It’s fine for domestic duties but lacks the kick-in-the-pants push found in its petrol and AWD-powered siblings and just feels a little mundane.
VERDICT More gear and sharper styling gives Benz the narrowest of
wins here, but it is far from a knockout punch.