The current generation of the Mercedes Benz GLA and the current generation of the Audi Q3 are arguably the most desirable and best luxury subcompact SUVs money can buy these days. However, when we put these two German SUVs head-to-head, it’s difficult to pick a clear winner.
The 2022 Mercedes Benz GLA looks and feels amazing thanks to a futuristic approach to design while the Audi Q3 also looks stylish, especially in coupe form. Interior-wise, the GLA feels newer and more daring while the Audi feels more functional and a bit better put together.
Driving-wise, these two are almost identical, but it does seem like the GLA offers a smoother ride overall. On the other hand, the Q3 offers slightly more passenger space and a lot more cargo space. The GLA is more desirable, but the Audi is better looking.
Both of these are perfectly matched when it comes to engine outputs, efficiency, safety, and reliability. The Q3 does sometimes feel a bit more upmarket, but the GLA looks more upmarket. You get more for your money with the Q3, but you can get more in general with the GLA.
2022 Mercedes GLA – The most desirable subcompact luxury SUV on the market
The 2022 Mercedes GLA 250 SUV starts at $36,230 and it offers a 2.0L in-line 4-cylinder engine that pushes out 221hp and 258lb-ft of torque. You can pay an additional $2000 if you want AWD. With AWD the GLA250 4MATIC should be able to do 0-60mph in around 6.8 seconds.
You can also choose between two AMG models, the GLA 35 and the GLA 45, but these often sell for more than $55,000 and are not exactly all that common. The main selling point of the Mercedes Benz GLA is the badge as it is the entry-level Mercedes SUV that does not feel any bit less of a Mercedes.
Design-wise the GLA boasts impressive curves that ooze elegance and the interior resembles many more expensive Mercedes models. 99% of people would pick the GLA’s interior over the Q3’s interior because it looks more daring and confident-inspiring.
The GLA drives in a sophisticated manner and it offers a more comfortable ride than the Q3. The GLA has a more mature driving experience even though it looks fairly youthful both inside and out.
2022 Audi Q3 – A great all-around subcompact luxury SUV
The 2022 Audi Q3 starts at $35,900 and it packs a 2.0L 4-cylinder that pushes out 228hp and 258lb-ft of torque and comes with Quattro AWD. The Q3 packs a more intuitive-looking interior that some might find a bit boring when compared to the GLA, but, indeed, Audi interiors are a bit better put together.
The Q3 is available in either standard SUV or Coupe form while the GLA is only being offered in standard SUV form. The Q3 looks a bit sportier and youthful from the outside, especially if equipped with the S-line trim and if painted in a more daring color.
The Q3 offers more space for the passengers and significantly more cargo space. The Q3 is actually the class leader as far as cargo space is concerned while the GLA offers the least amount of cargo space out of all subcompact luxury SUVs.
The Audi feels a bit more ordinary while on the road. Road noise insulation and overall comfort and close, but the GLA does feel a bit better dampened. If you value performance and handling, the top-of-the-line Audi RS Q3 does offer a better experience than the range-topping GLA 45 AMG, especially in the engine department.
Conclusion – Both of these are equally as impressive
Choosing the better option between the Q3 and the GLA is difficult as they are able to trade punches in almost every regard. The GLA is a lot more desirable, but the Q3 is a lot more practical. The GLA costs more money, but the Q3 costs more to fix if something goes wrong.
They are both equally as efficient, equally as safe, and equally as reliable. The GLA offers a more comfortable ride while the Q3 handles better in its sportiest form. Both are available with AWD and both offer efficient 2.0l 4-cylinder engines across the range.
The GLA does offer a more futuristic-looking interior, but the Q3 offers a more functional and more intuitive-looking interior. You don’t have to spend all that much money to get all the necessary options with the Q3, but there is more stuff you can get with the GLA.
No matter how you look at it, these two can trade punches all day long. As such, picking a clear winner is difficult.
Do the Mercedes GLA and the Audi Q3 use premium fuel?
The Mercedes Benz GLA is rated specifically for premium fuel only while the Q3 is not. This means that you are likely going to save quite a bit of money if you tend to keep your car for 5 or more years if you pick the Q3.
This does not mean that the Q3 is any less premium than the GLA, but rather the fact that it is based on a VW shared platform which also includes the VW T-Roc.
Is the Mercedes Benz GLA a better off-roader than the Audi Q3?
If optioned out with AWD, both of these are relatively capable in less than ideal conditions such as winter or ice, but none of these are designed to cope with any more challenging terrain. They are technically SUVs, but no one is going to use them for off-roading purposes.
As such, picking a clear winner here is also pointless, but Audi is a brand known for superior traction and rally history, so it’s understandable if you believe that the Q3 might be a bit better.
Is the Mercedes Benz GLA a better family car than the Audi Q3?
No, it is not. The Q3 offers more overall space in every seat while also offering class-leading cargo space. The GLA is not small nor uncomfortable for younger families, but the Q3 offers way more. Older GLA models were terrible when it came to transporting people and the new GLA is a lot better, but still nowhere as good as the Q3.
If you want a true family SUV, it’s better to opt for a compact to mid-size SUV such as the Mercedes GLC or the Audi Q5.