Compared: Audi Q5 Vs. BMW X3 Vs. Mercedes-Benz GLK

June 12, 2009
2009 BMW X3-Series 30i

2009 BMW X3-Series 30i

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2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK

2010 Mercedes-Benz GLK

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For your shopping pleasure, three German SUVs--each one spun from the parts bin at their respective automakers to satisfy an emerging demand. What do buyers like you want? Sport-utility convenience, without the sheer bulk of the full-size utes falling out of favor with every rise in gas prices. A nice badge with some street cred wouldn't hurt., either.

What do these three have for you? Seats for five passengers, six-cylinder engines, all-weather capability and distinct personalities to go with their semi-lofty pricetags--not to mention the ability to slide easily into normal parking spaces.

Which one ranks best? Sounds like time for a comparison from between the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLK.

By now you know rates vehicles for styling, performance, safety, comfort and utility, and features. From there, we arrive at an overall score, based on each vehicle's individual merits and on its competitiveness in its class of cars, vans, trucks or SUVs. We also let you compare cars of your choice, side by side, to see how they stack up in price, fuel economy, and by our editors' ratings.

We also do our own comparisons based on our experts' hands-on road tests. For example, TCC's editors have driven each of these vehicles in various forms, in locations around the country and in Europe, to be able to explain the ratings and to help you make your own decision.

Which of these three is best for you? First, know that each of these three compact luxury SUVs has been introduced or revamped in the past two years. The BMW X3 was refreshed in 2008 with an improved ride and a smoother shape; the Audi Q5 emerged brand-new in 2009; and the Mercedes-Benz GLK arrived late last year as a 2010 model.They're state of the art, in the small-luxury-ute segment. They're similar in size, equipment, and mission, too. Each of these compact utes has a six-cylinder engine, an automatic transmission, and available four-wheel drive (it's standard on the Q5 and X3, an option on the GLK). Maybe most important to you, each wears a luxury-brand badge that conveys a certain standing in the world far more effectively than the badges on other very pleasant vehicles like the Volvo XC60, Infiniti EX35, even the Acura RDX.

Among them, one tops the TCC ratings by a small margin. Of Germany's most prestigious, pint-sized SUVs, which one is the most highly rated by

We'll compare Audi Q5 vs. BMW X3 vs. Mercedes-Benz GLK shortly. But first, the basics:

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