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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I thought I would share my impressions of the cars I’ve test driven in addition to the GLA. These vehicles aren’t all in the same market segment, but rather are cars that have captured my interest. I’ve been driving a 2008 Lexus ES350 for the past seven years, and, despite being very happy with the car, I'm getting a bit bored.

Mercedes GLA 250 — What struck me immediately was the go-cart-like handling of the GLA. Just pulling it out of its parking space is more fun than I’ve been used to. The entire car feels like it’s been carved out of a single piece of high-strength steel. It reminds me somewhat of my 1998 Volkswagen Passat and 2000 Audi A4, but with even more responsiveness. I drove two GLAs, one with the 19” wheels and one with the 18” wheels, and, for me, the 18” wheels gave the better balance between ride and handling. The Harman Kardon audio blew me away, and gives the best sound quality of all the cars I’ve tested. I use a favorite piece to test, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra’s performance of BWV 1053 movement 1. The hatch-mounted subwoofer gave this piece a life I hadn’t previously experienced. One negative is that the driver’s door armrest could be a bit longer (I’m 6’3”, 260# for reference.) Lack of door armrest room is a problem I have with many cars, as is poor visibility where low rooflines meet the windshield. While somewhat improved over my Lexus, the height of the windshield could be better. I will likely need to occasionally crane my neck forward when first-at-light.

Volvo S80 — This is a full-size sedan that gave me the best driving position of any car I’ve tested. I initially wanted to test drive an S60, but the driver’s door arm rest was too short to accommodate my elbow, so I opted to drive the S80. The leather in this car is a standout, very soft and feels thick and luxurious. Visibility all around is outstanding, as is ride comfort. Handling is surprisingly good for a large car. If I were set on getting a sedan this would be it.

BMW 428xi — Handling comes in a distant second to the GLA, with ride comfort being on-par. The lower seating position did not appeal to me, but otherwise this car fit my large frame rather well, especially the driver’s door armrest and front visibility. The leather is hard and textured in a manner that I found unattractive. The back seat is pretty much useless for adults. Interior styling (especially the all-red dashboard at night) is dated.

Range Rover Evoque — The driver’s seat in the four-door version did not slide back far enough to fit me with a comfortable driving position, so I tried a two-door model and that worked much better. I had plenty of room, good armrests and good front visibility, but this car drove like a truck in comparison to the GLA, and I cut the test drive short as a result. I really did not like driving it much at all. One item of note is that this car comes with a heated steering wheel which gets plenty warm. I would have enjoyed that feature very much on cold winter days.

Audi Q3 — The salesman suggested that I use my first merge as an opportunity to test this car’s acceleration, which I did, flooring the pedal (something I’ve never done in seven years of driving my Lexus, which I’ve driven at over 100 mph on multiple occasions) and the Q3 still wasn’t going as fast as I wanted. This car is just really pokey. It’s also soft, soaking up bumps nicely but has nowhere near the fun handling character of the GLA. There is plenty of room in the cockpit, with outstanding visibility all around, but until my salesman adjusted the center armrest I actually found the driving position to be a bit awkward, almost like I had too much room. In particular, the steering wheel doesn’t pull out far enough. I need to have the seat pushed back pretty far to fit my legs comfortably, but that means I need the steering wheel to slide toward me, and the wheel just doesn’t have enough travel. I also had nowhere near the sense of solidity I’ve experienced with the GLA.

Well, that’s about it. No car is perfect, and there are always compromises. I will add that the GLA provokes an emotional response in me that I just don't often get from a car. I may test a Subaru XV Crosstrek while I continue waiting for my order to be built and shipped, but otherwise there aren’t any other cars piquing my interest. I hope these impressions are helpful.
 

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Thank you for sharing your driving experience. Awesome write up. Thanks.
 

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. One negative is that the driver’s door armrest could be a bit longer (I’m 6’3”, 260# for reference.) Lack of door armrest room is a problem I have with many cars.
Just driving around on short trips i dont notice this but on longer freeway stints i found the best position for me is seat slid further forward and seat tilted up and seat back tilted back. In this position the door armrest is more functional. The memory buttons are nice to have.
 

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Wow, it's so kind of you to share your experience. I totally agree what you posted. Like we individuals, no car is perfect, but each variant has something to show itself.
 

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GLA250 vs Macan


I have a Porsche already so I really wanted to like the Macan, it's a good car, but in the end a number of factors made my choice for the GLA

Looks
The GLA has it all over the Macan in terms of "style". The big benz logo, the solid front end. It's also shorter, more purposeful and (in my opinion) generally looks more interesting. The Macan looks like it's "trying to be a Porsche". That being said, both are attractive and I don't think either one has any egregious styling issues.

Power
There are Macans, and then there are Macan S's. I'm comparing to the base Macan with 248HP. 0-60 in the Macan is 6.3s, which is almost identical to the GLA. In fact, the GLA may be a tad quicker. Add on a Sprint Booster and it definitely is faster than the Macan.

Ride
The Macan definitely wins on this point. It's a much smoother ride. This could also be because of it's longer wheel base (110" vs 106" in the GLA)

Handling
Here, the GLA pulls ahead. While the Macan is no slouch, it just does not have the crispness of the GLA.

Interior
Hands down, the Porsche is a nicer interior. The GLA is OK, but Porsche outfits even the base Macan in nicer livery. The display screen is integrated into the dash, instead of looking "tacked on", the quality of the faux-leather is better, the paddle shifters are metal and not plastic, the gear shifter is in the center of the car, the way God intended it, and you can shift up and down using the stick in addition to the paddles. The GLA, on the other had has a grearshift control sourced straight out of your father's Oldsmobile which forces the turn signal to get overloaded with wiper controls. That being said, the Porsche is tight in the front seats. The center console is large, with lots of buttons (and in the case of the base model, lots of blanks). It makes the car feel like a tight fit. The GLA feels a bit more spacious in the front perhaps owing to a more diminutive center console, even through both cars are about 79" wide in the front. Where the Macan shines is in the back - it's about a foot longer than the GLA and this space is allocated to the back seat. In the GLA, I have trouble fitting my 10 year old granddaughters without a chorus of "Grampy put the seat up!".

Driving
Once you get past the column mounted shifter and get moving, the driving experience for the GLA and Macan (both in sports mode) is somewhat similar, with the touch screen on the Macan being a bit easier to deal with than the command-wheel of the GLA. The one significant area of difference is road noise. Whereas the Porsche sounds quiet and refined, the GLA cabin is full of tire rumbling, wind noise and traffic sounds. It's not a very peaceful place.

Price
Here's where the benz catches up quickly. A base GLA 250 4matic is $40-$45K. Porsche Macans start at about $50K and quickly work their way up from there with more typical examples being int he 60-70K neighborhood. I bought my 2017 GLA250 used for $33K at 15K miles, a similarly equipped Macan with 16K miles was on offer for $46K - almost half again as expensive!

Decision
My use case was to find a "winter car" alternative to my Porsche. It only needed to carry 4 people on occasion and mostly just had to be comfortable in the rear (I recently sat in the back seat, something I never did during the sales process and boy is it tight back there - the grandkids are right!). As much as I wanted to love the Macan, between the cramped feel of the cabin and the astronomical price jump the GLA offers 90% of the Macan experience for about 40% the price. Both are fine vehicles and I'm sure I would be happy with either, but the GLA meets my daily-driver needs and left less of a dent in my checkbook.
 

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I thought I would share my impressions of the cars I’ve test driven in addition to the GLA. These vehicles aren’t all in the same market segment, but rather are cars that have captured my interest. I’ve been driving a 2008 Lexus ES350 for the past seven years, and, despite being very happy with the car, I'm getting a bit bored.

Mercedes GLA 250 — What struck me immediately was the go-cart-like handling of the GLA. Just pulling it out of its parking space is more fun than I’ve been used to. The entire car feels like it’s been carved out of a single piece of high-strength steel. It reminds me somewhat of my 1998 Volkswagen Passat and 2000 Audi A4, but with even more responsiveness. I drove two GLAs, one with the 19” wheels and one with the 18” wheels, and, for me, the 18” wheels gave the better balance between ride and handling. The Harman Kardon audio blew me away, and gives the best sound quality of all the cars I’ve tested. I use a favorite piece to test, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra’s performance of BWV 1053 movement 1. The hatch-mounted subwoofer gave this piece a life I hadn’t previously experienced. One negative is that the driver’s door armrest could be a bit longer (I’m 6’3”, 260# for reference.) Lack of door armrest room is a problem I have with many cars, as is poor visibility where low rooflines meet the windshield. While somewhat improved over my Lexus, the height of the windshield could be better. I will likely need to occasionally crane my neck forward when first-at-light.

Volvo S80 — This is a full-size sedan that gave me the best driving position of any car I’ve tested. I initially wanted to test drive an S60, but the driver’s door arm rest was too short to accommodate my elbow, so I opted to drive the S80. The leather in this car is a standout, very soft and feels thick and luxurious. Visibility all around is outstanding, as is ride comfort. Handling is surprisingly good for a large car. If I were set on getting a sedan this would be it.

BMW 428xi — Handling comes in a distant second to the GLA, with ride comfort being on-par. The lower seating position did not appeal to me, but otherwise this car fit my large frame rather well, especially the driver’s door armrest and front visibility. The leather is hard and textured in a manner that I found unattractive. The back seat is pretty much useless for adults. Interior styling (especially the all-red dashboard at night) is dated.

Range Rover Evoque — The driver’s seat in the four-door version did not slide back far enough to fit me with a comfortable driving position, so I tried a two-door model and that worked much better. I had plenty of room, good armrests and good front visibility, but this car drove like a truck in comparison to the GLA, and I cut the test drive short as a result. I really did not like driving it much at all. One item of note is that this car comes with a heated steering wheel which gets plenty warm. I would have enjoyed that feature very much on cold winter days.

Audi Q3 — The salesman suggested that I use my first merge as an opportunity to test this car’s acceleration, which I did, flooring the pedal (something I’ve never done in seven years of driving my Lexus, which I’ve driven at over 100 mph on multiple occasions) and the Q3 still wasn’t going as fast as I wanted. This car is just really pokey. It’s also soft, soaking up bumps nicely but has nowhere near the fun handling character of the GLA. There is plenty of room in the cockpit, with outstanding visibility all around, but until my salesman adjusted the center armrest I actually found the driving position to be a bit awkward, almost like I had too much room. In particular, the steering wheel doesn’t pull out far enough. I need to have the seat pushed back pretty far to fit my legs comfortably, but that means I need the steering wheel to slide toward me, and the wheel just doesn’t have enough travel. I also had nowhere near the sense of solidity I’ve experienced with the GLA.

Well, that’s about it. No car is perfect, and there are always compromises. I will add that the GLA provokes an emotional response in me that I just don't often get from a car. I may test a Subaru XV Crosstrek while I continue waiting for my order to be built and shipped, but otherwise there aren’t any other cars piquing my interest. I hope these impressions are helpful.
OMG !!! I had to reply to this --- I honestly thought it was just me -- the GO CART like feeling of the GLA--- lol!! The responsiveness is so freaking fantastic-- I absolutely love it!! Cutting through traffic is such a breeze and parking is so much easier and findable ( if that's a word, if not it is now, lls) !!!! I test drove the Volvo XC40, Infinity FX30, and of course the GLA250--- Go Cart WON hands down!!!
 
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