For the first time ever in Australia, SUV sales accounted for over 30% of total car sales in 2014. Audi is one automaker that has benefited greatly from the growing popularity of SUVs, as 2014 saw their Q3 grab roughly half of the market share in the small premium SUV segment. Now it sits atop this segment with Mercedes’ GLA-Class, but how does it measure up to its German relative? Read on as we break down each premium SUV in our Mercedes-Benz GLA and Audi Q3 review and comparison.
The Q3 has 3 petrol and 2 diesel options available, while the GLA offers one of each. For this comparison, we’ll focus on the GLA250 and Q3 2.0 TFSI petrol models.
Exterior and Styling
Parked side by side, you’ll notice that the GLA has the slimmer look of the two vehicles. It also has bolder, more sweeping lines, whereas the Audi is more contoured. Sitting higher up than the GLA, the Q3 looks more like a traditional SUV than the Benz, which is more hatch-like in appearance. At 19 inches, the GLA’s standard wheels are 2 inches bigger than the Audi’s.
Interior and Comfort
The Audi is the taller SUV here, which means you sit higher up and have larger side and rear windows, giving you a more commanding view of the road. The rear seats are also more comfortable than the Benz due to the more elevated seats and roofline. And when looking at interior finish, the Q3 offers slightly better quality than the GLA. Both offer leather seats standard, and there’s really no clear-cut winner when it comes to interior style, overall.
The advantage to going with the Benz, however, is that most of its standard features, including satellite navigation, parking sensors, panoramic sunroof, and blind-spot monitor are options on the Audi, which means you’ll easily have to spend an extra 9 or 10 grand to match the GLA’s standard features unless you do happen to get some great upgrade discounts on an Audi Q3 for sale.
Under the Bonnet
The GLA250 and Q3 TFSI 2.0 are each equipped with a 2.0-litre engine that produces 155 kW of power. The Q3, however, makes the 0-100 Km/hr sprint in 6.9 seconds, which is 0.2 seconds faster than the 250. Drop down in price to the comparable diesel models and you’ll have an identical time of 9.9 seconds. The Benz has the advantage with both engines when it comes to fuel economy, as the petrol engine consumes 7.0 L / 100Km to the Q3’s 7.7 and the diesel engine burns a mere 4.6 litres to the Q3’s 5.8.
On the Road
Both of these SUVs have their pros and cons as far as handling and ride quality goes. The Benz is smoother over bumps and offers a very comfortable, balanced ride. The Audi has the smoother, quieter engine and is more agile around bends. At lower speeds, the Q3 accelerates and shifts gears better, while the GLA has the superior acceleration and transitions at mid-range speeds.
As mentioned earlier, the GLA offers more standard features than the Q3, and this is especially apparent in the safety realm. For example, the Benz has 9 airbags to the Audi’s 6, and bi-xenon headlights, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitor are all standard. However, these features along with others will cost you extra with the Audi.
Value and Verdict
The Audi Q3 price of the comparable petrol model starts at $56,500, which is $1,400 less than the starting Mercedes-Benz GLA price. That $1,400 isn’t enough to make up for the disparity in standard equipment, though. So if you’re looking for better value, look for a Mercedes-Benz GLA for sale instead of a Q3. Of course, if you’d rather have a more traditional SUV look and feel, you’ll probably want to go with the Q3.