Herald Sun - Motoring - - HEAD TO HEAD -


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.

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