The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA falls into a compact luxury utility category whose contenders take remarkably varied approaches to small-size SUV-alikes.
The BMW X1 may be the most obvious contender; it's a tall and more traditional utility wagon, versus the GLA's hatchback shape and packaging.
The Range Rover Evoque is even more of an urban style statement than the GLA's aggressive flourishes make it, and it offers a two-door version that's impactical but even longer- and lower-looking.
Its powertrain, however, may be fuel-efficient, but it's also coarse.
Three new contenders entered the category last year as well.
The Audi Q3 is a virtual scale model of the popular Q5, but based on front-wheel-drive mechanicals—as is the GLA.
The Q3 may be the closest direct match in packaging and shape to the newest, smallest Mercedes.
The Lexus NX is a hot seller, with aggressive—even hostile—styling on a traditional SUV shape.
Its compact size slots in seamlessly below Lexus' larger RX, which virtually invented the luxury-SUV category.
And while Ford's luxury brand has struggled over the past decade, the Lincoln MKC is also a compact luxury SUV on the larger end of that category.
But the GLA blends a fun-to-drive character and luxury features into one of the smaller packages in the group, and that may be a winning formula.
There are no contenders, meanwhile, for the hot-rod (or hot-hatch) GLA 45 AMG.
With the Mitsubishi Evo off the market, the closest one is likely the Subaru WRX STI sedan.
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|2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA ClassBrowse Used Listings||2016 Audi Q3Browse Used Listings||2016 BMW X1Browse Used Listings||2016 Land Rover Range Rover EvoqueBrowse Used Listings||2016 Lincoln MKCBrowse Used Listings||2015 Lexus NXBrowse Used Listings|
|22 MPG City / 35 MPG Hwy||20 MPG City / 29 MPG Hwy||22 MPG City / 32 MPG Hwy||21 MPG City / 30 MPG Hwy||19 MPG City / 29 MPG Hwy||22 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy|
|Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4||Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4||Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4||Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4||Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4||Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4|
|Small SUV 2WD||N/A||Large Cars||Small SUV 4WD||Small SUV 2WD||Small SUV 2WD|
|FWD 4-Door GLA 250||FrontTrak 4-Door Premium Plus||AWD 4-Door xDrive28i||5-Door HB SE||FWD 4-Door Premier||FWD 4-Door|
|Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||All Wheel Drive||Four Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive|
|Sport Utility||Sport Utility||Sports Activity Vehicle||5-Door||Sport Utility||Sport Utility|
|Auto-Shift Manual w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/OD||Automatic w/OD|
|Detailed Spec Comparison|
|2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA Class vs. 2016 Audi Q3||2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA Class vs. 2016 BMW X1||2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA Class vs. 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque||2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA Class vs. 2016 Lincoln MKC||2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA Class vs. 2015 Lexus NX|