Car group tests

Mercedes GLA vs rivals

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 PureAudi Q3 2.0 TDIMercedes GLA 200 CDI SE
    
On-the-road price/total as tested29,205/£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/£2,57025/£383/C/£30
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost29/£413/E/£13018/£398/E/£130£24pm
Servicing costs£499 (5yrs/50k)£16pm 
    
Length/wheelbase4,355/2,660mm4,385/2,603mm4,417/2,699mm
Height/width1,635/1,985mm1,608/1,831mm1,494/1,804mm
Engine4cyl in-line/2,179cc4cyl in-line/1,968cc4cyl in-line/2,143cc
Peak power 148/4,000 bhp/rpm138/4,200 bhp/rpm134/3,400 bhp/rpm
Peak torque 380/1,750 Nm/rpm320/1,750 Nm/rpm300/1,400 Nm/rpm
Transmission 6-spd man/FWD6-spd man/FWD7-spd auto/4WD
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel54 litres/foam64 litres/space-saver50 litres/foam
Boot capacity (seats up/down) 575/1,445 litres420/1,325 litres481/1,235 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,595/755/1,500kg1,445/600/1,200kg1,535/485/N/A
Turning circle/drag coefficient11.3 metres/0.35Cd11.8 metres/0.32Cd11.8 metres/N/A
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (unltd)/3yrs 3yrs (60k)/3yrs3yrs (unltd)/4yrs
Service interval/UK dealers15,000 (1yr)/130Variable (1yr)/121Variable (1yr)/136
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.20th/15th^12th/23rd^9th/12th^
NCAP: Adult/child/ped./assist/stars86/75/41/86/594/85/52/86/5N/A
    
0-60/30-70mph9.8/9.7 secs9.7/9.3 secs9.3/9.3 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th 4.2/7.0 secs4.2/6.9 secs3.5/4.0 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th/7th 8.4/12.3 secs/N/A9.4/13.2 secs/N/A6.0/7.9/10.5 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 112mph/1,800rpm126mph/1,900rpm127mph/1,900rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 50.2/35.4/9.3m49.1/34.2/9.5m48.0/35.3/9.3m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph67/48/61/68dB69/54/63/69dB71/46/61/71dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range35.8/7.9/425 miles48.1/10.6/677 miles47.0/10.3/517 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 47.1/62.8/56.5mpg45.6/60.1/54.3mpg51.4/72.4/62.8mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 10.4/13.8/12.4mpl10.0/13.2/11.9mpl11.3/15.9/13.8mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket211/133g/km/22%157/137g/km/23%161/119g/km/19%
    
Airbags/Isofix/parking sensor/cameraSeven/yes/yes/£330Six/yes/yes/£650Seven/yes/£705/yes
Auto gearbox/stability/cruise controlNo/yes/yesNo/yes/£225Yes/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/yes/yesYes/part/£260£2,365*/no/£300
Met paint/xenon lights/keyless goYes/£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

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