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Mercury (Hobart) - Cars Guide - - WHICH CAR? - Danuta Pater­son

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 and grand­kids’ pusher. I found the Mercedes GLA a lit­tle small in­side but I love the ex­ter­nal look. I’m look­ing for a safe and eco­nom­i­cal car. I have a 13year-old Mercedes-Benz C200 Kom­pres­sor. SUVs with a slop­ing roofline are the in-thing right now. The the­ory is you get coupe styling with SUV space but of­ten rear head­room is com­pro­mised. You can get around that by buy­ing some­thing like the GLC coupe, though it takes an­other $30,000 to lib­er­ate the ex­tra space. The more prac­ti­cal GLC 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 with 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 and lanede­par­ture warn­ing.

In­finiti QX30, from $48,900

The In­finiti is the GLA’s twi­n­un­der-the-skin so it packs the same sharp styling and driv­ing dy­nam­ics. Stan­dard all-wheel drive and a higher-out­put en­gine pushes the 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 with sat­nav and 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 the prac­ti­cal mem­ber of the Audi range (the Q2 fills the style-driven niche). There are am­ple en­gine and trans­mis­sion op­tions and the Q3, as with all Audis, feels painstak­ingly put to­gether. The best of the Audi ac­ces­sories gen­er­ally come as 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 Lexus is as dis­tinc­tive as the Benz, though for dif­fer­ent rea­sons. The di­men­sions are con­ven­tional SUV; the front-on look is any­thing but. The front-wheel drive en­try level will save you $4500 over the AWD ver­sion and use less fuel to boot; though claimed use of 7.7L/100km puts it at the thirstier end of 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 of your ve­hi­cle, then you might have to ac­cept the space com­pro­mise and go for the Mercedes GLA. The other op­tions are de­riv­a­tive or con­ven­tional SUVs.

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