Mercedes GLA vs rivals

5 Jun, 2014 12:20pm

Can the Mercedes GLA take on two of the brightest lights in the crossover market?

Upmarket SUVs and crossovers are the current kings of the urban jungle. With their desirable premium image, high-riding visibility, family friendly practicality and fuel-saving front-wheel-drive layouts, theseversatile machines blend fashionable off-roader styling cues with low running costs.

The latest model to join the fray is the Mercedes GLA. Based on the sleek A-Class hatchback, it promises rugged good looks and agile car-like driving dynamics. There’s a choice of four or two-wheel drive, and we try the latter with a frugal 200 CDI turbodiesel.

Ready to give the GLA a thorough workout is the Audi Q3. It’s beautifully built and good to drive, plus the front-wheel drive and 2.0-litre TDI combination promises low fuel bills.

The final member of our trio is the Range Rover Evoque. In entry-level, front-wheel-drive eD4 Pure form, it gives you the stylish upper-crust look for less. 

So which of our tall-riding contenders will emerge victorious?

Click the links below for the full verdict on each car...

Mercedes GLA review

Audi Q3 review

Range Rover Evoque review

Now read our head-to-head group test results below...

Head-to-head

Off-road?

All our contenders feature the high-riding stance and rugged design cues of traditional SUVs. Yet with front-wheel drive and a lack of electronic aids, they’ll be no better in the rough stuff thana normal family hatchback.

However, the Range Rover does come with all-season tyres, so it’ll be more capable on snow and ice than the Mercedes GLA or the Audi Q3. The trade-off for this versatile rubber is less grip and composure on dry tarmac.

Badge appeal

There’s plenty of premium appeal here, but which badge has the most kudos? From a residual values perspective, the Range Rover leads the way. Our experts calculate it’ll retain 58.7 per cent of its value after three years, compared to 51.4 per cent and 55.4 per cent for the GLA and Q3 respectively.

Running costs

Company car drivers will like the Mercedes, which has the lowest Benefit In Kind bills. If you want to save fuel, then the frugal Audi is hard to beat. The Evoque is thirsty and a pricey company car, while servicing is quite expensive, too.

Verdict

1st place: Range Rover Evoque

It’s expensive, but the stunningly styled and well finished Range Rover Evoque feels a cut above its rivals here and is worth the extra. Decent driving dynamics, a practical cabin, lots of kit and strong residuals add to the desirable model’s appeal. 

2nd place: Audi Q3

The Audi Q3 boasts surprisingly sharp handling, a smooth and efficient engine, plus a classy interior. It’s not quite as roomy as its opponents in this test, but there’s enough space for most families, and in S line trim it’s pretty well equipped. 

3rd place: Mercedes GLA

Look past its attractive price and decent running costs, and the case for the Mercedes GLA falls apart. Not only is it hobbled by an unrefined engine, but it’s also missing rivals’ tough SUV styling cues. It feels like a normal A-Class behind the wheel.

Range Rover Evoque eD4 Pure Audi Q3 2.0 TDI Mercedes GLA 200 CDI SE
On-the-road price/total as tested 29,205/£30,795 £28,350/£32,640 £27,300/£32,050
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000) £17,143/58.7% £15,706/55.4% £14,032/51.4% £13,268
Depreciation £12,062 £12,644 £1,035/£2,071
Annual tax liability std/higher rate £1,277/£2,554 £1,296/£2,591 £1,578/£2,630
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles) £2,072/£3,453 £1,542/£2,570 25/£383/C/£30
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost 29/£413/E/£130 18/£398/E/£130 £24pm
Servicing costs £499 (5yrs/50k) £16pm
Length/wheelbase 4,355/2,660mm 4,385/2,603mm 4,417/2,699mm
Height/width 1,635/1,985mm 1,608/1,831mm 1,494/1,804mm
Engine 4cyl in-line/2,179cc 4cyl in-line/1,968cc 4cyl in-line/2,143cc
Peak power  148/4,000 bhp/rpm 138/4,200 bhp/rpm 134/3,400 bhp/rpm
Peak torque  380/1,750 Nm/rpm 320/1,750 Nm/rpm 300/1,400 Nm/rpm
Transmission  6-spd man/FWD 6-spd man/FWD 7-spd auto/4WD
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel 54 litres/foam 64 litres/space-saver 50 litres/foam
Boot capacity (seats up/down)  575/1,445 litres 420/1,325 litres 481/1,235 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight 1,595/755/1,500kg 1,445/600/1,200kg 1,535/485/N/A
Turning circle/drag coefficient 11.3 metres/0.35Cd 11.8 metres/0.32Cd 11.8 metres/N/A
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery 3yrs (unltd)/3yrs  3yrs (60k)/3yrs 3yrs (unltd)/4yrs
Service interval/UK dealers 15,000 (1yr)/130 Variable (1yr)/121 Variable (1yr)/136
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos. 20th/15th^ 12th/23rd^ 9th/12th^
NCAP: Adult/child/ped./assist/stars 86/75/41/86/5 94/85/52/86/5 N/A
0-60/30-70mph 9.8/9.7 secs 9.7/9.3 secs 9.3/9.3 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th  4.2/7.0 secs 4.2/6.9 secs 3.5/4.0 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th  8.4/12.3 secs/N/A 9.4/13.2 secs/N/A 6.0/7.9/10.5 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph  112mph/1,800rpm 126mph/1,900rpm 127mph/1,900rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph  50.2/35.4/9.3m 49.1/34.2/9.5m 48.0/35.3/9.3m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph 67/48/61/68dB 69/54/63/69dB 71/46/61/71dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range 35.8/7.9/425 miles 48.1/10.6/677 miles 47.0/10.3/517 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined  47.1/62.8/56.5mpg 45.6/60.1/54.3mpg 51.4/72.4/62.8mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined  10.4/13.8/12.4mpl 10.0/13.2/11.9mpl 11.3/15.9/13.8mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket 211/133g/km/22% 157/137g/km/23% 161/119g/km/19%
Airbags/Isofix/parking sensor/camera Seven/yes/yes/£330 Six/yes/yes/£650 Seven/yes/£705/yes
Auto gearbox/stability/cruise control No/yes/yes No/yes/£225 Yes/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seats Yes/yes/yes Yes/part/£260 £2,365*/no/£300
Met paint/xenon lights/keyless go Yes/£900/£500 £525/yes/£425 £575/£1,345*/no
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/Bluetooth £1,600/yes/yes/yes £495/yes/yes/yes £495/yes/yes/yes

Disqus - noscript

Lardy, thirsty, very old(2006 Freelander underneath), poorly built, with an ancient Peugeot DW12 design engine, Tata Joque, wins in joque desperate to stem haemorrhaging circulation, last resort appealing to jingoism, Brit car rag.

Crossovers, like the GLA, Qashqai, Mokka, Pug 2008 etc. are where the whole faux-4WD/SUV thing is at, at the moment, not gas-guzzling, real weight 1,700 kilos plus old buckets like the 'proper SUV' Joque, you A/E unnamed hack muppet.

Pull your head out of your blinkered ar$e and recognise that the market's moved on since 2011, when the Joque launched, with compact - not 2 metres wide - lighter, far more frugal crossovers being all the rage, which helps to explain why Mercedes-Benz's sales in the UK are up 20% in the UK, thanks to the likes of the hot-selling GLA.

You still haven't got over being humiliated on here repeatedly, so you come back for more with your ill-informed lies and untruths.

Get help.
See your GP. You don't have to suffer, there is modern medicine that can ease your pain.

It would take too long to point out all the errors in your comment but your criticisms of the Evoque can be applied to any car. For example the GLA is developed on the A-Class dating back to 1997. So what? It's what car makers do, it's normal. You are not.

Where is the XC60? It was voted by AE as the best premium SUV, it comes with auto breaking as standard, and the safest SUV available. Add in the D4 engine with 117 gm/Co2 the lowest tax, the most powerful and with 68.8 mpg the most fuel efficient. I know which one I'd rather put my child in!

I'm surprised they didn't include the Porsche Macan in this test since all car reviewers insist that the Macan is a rival to these three (especially the Evoque, of which it isn't).

A-Class dating back to 1997? Not this one my friend. You're talking about the old mini-MPV A-Class. Different platform.

Who wants to pay a premium for a German car like the Audi which is actually built in Spain?. The Evoque is basically a blinged out Ford Explorer and is slow while the Merc is as about as crossover as a Mini Countryman.

Note to editorial team: a Daily Mail commenter has slipped through the net... must try harder to vet these! :P

too expensive for this partic test (basic manual models at £30k.

Difficult to take any of these cars seriously when you can have a vastly superior 335d XDrive Lux touring for the same money (deals running well below list) atm... considering that around about 0pc of Evoque/Q3/GLA Customers need 4x4 capability it's a no brainer afaic...

Of these tthree, I think the Evoque is the only car that has some charisma and style to it. The Audi Q3 looks like a hand soap with metal spikes in the front, and the Merc is very disappointing in the flesh. I haven't driven any of them, but in terms of style I know which one I'd go for.

What is clear is that Mercedes are producers of poor cars. The three pointed star make very poor engines which every car test of this GLA seem to agree on , its expensive Why ?. Its not very capable off road . So yet again premium price but low quality . Can anyone explain why the Mercedes myth is still believed. Yet again 3 rd place OH Mercedes what has happened to you premium build .Skoda are producers of better made cars

Capability off-road is irrelevant to the people who buy these - it's a red herring.

Cobblers. Tow cars for caravans and horseboxes and my boat on a trailer, getting out of the dirt and ruts is essential for me. A car that is nice when not towing but can truly do it when needed is seriously good.

Most chassis are developments and updates on old ones. W176 platform on 3rd gen A-class has fingerprints back way before 1997.

Don't be suckered by car makers marketing.

Why is safety, economy and reliability not a factor? Seems looks and badge seems to give this cars value, according to the authors. Audi Q3 should top this list, not the Range Rover

#StyleOverSubtance
#GetTheEvoqueIfYouWantToBreakDownInStyle
#GetTheEvoqueIfYouWantToDieInStyle
#GetTheEvoqueIfYouWantToAlwaysBeFillingUpAtStationInStyle
#GetTheAudiQ3IfYouWillNotDoOffRoading

For 30K you could get an all singing all dancing Cooper S or Cooper SD Countryman with 4WD and solid residuals aswell. More rear legroom than the Evoque though the boot is smaller obviously at 350ltrs.

A base diesel GLA is the same as a decent spec Countryman SD All4. I'd take the Countryman.

Auto Express 1,343
For more breaking car news and reviews, subscribe to Auto Express - available as a weekly magazine and on your iPad. We'll give you 6 issues for £1 and a free gift!

Sponsored Links