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Audi Q3 2.0 TDI SE vs. Mercedes GLA200 CDI AMG Line

Audi Q3 2.0 TDI SE

Audi Q3 2.0 TDI SE

 

There are plenty of Audi Q3's on the road, and for good reason - this is arguably the best small-sized premium crossover you can buy. The fact that it has access to VAGs latest and greatest engines also means buyers know that they're going to get a car that drives well and performs well at the pumps. But, the Mercedes GLA brings with it a better badge and an almost identical price tag in the name of the GLA200 CDI AMG Line, so which should you go for?

Design wise, there's little to choose from here. The Q3 sits taller than the GLA but the GLA looks much sportier, with deep bumpers and larger alloy wheels thanks to an AMG kit. The Q3 is a classier car, though, with a laid back profile that doesn't beg to be stared at. SE is the lowest trim you can get the Q3 in and it lacks the sporty looks of the S Line. The trade off with this, though, comes in comfort, with SE benefiting from a softer suspension that's more suitable for families.

The Q3 we are comparing here today is powered by the older 2.0-litre TDI engine which has been replaced with the new 184 engine. The 177 engine here produces 177 bhp and 280 lb /ft of torque, which is enough to get it from 0 - 62 mph in 8.3 seconds - 1.7 seconds faster than the GLA. It lags behind the Mercedes in efficiency though - this Q3 can only return 51.4 miles per gallon and a CO2 rating of 144 g/km. That translates to a road tax cost of £145 per year, versus the GLA's 30.

It rides well too. With SE suspension, the Q3 soaks up bumps in the roads extremely well and because this is an Audi, you get a huge level of refinement when the speed starts to build with little road or wind noise soaking through to the cabin on the motorway. The same can be said for the GLA, though.

Practicality is where the Q3 trumps the GLA. You get a huge 460-litre boot compared to the GLA's paltry 421-litre boot and when extended, the Q3's boot grows to over 100-litres bigger. This is an important consideration if you're looking into these two cars because you have a family. In terms of leg space though there's little to choose between these two machines - the GLA feels marginally roomier up front but the Q3 has better head room.

The interiors of the two cars are trade-offs, though. The Q3 feels of a higher quality but the Mercedes has more comfortable seats and better visibility (more on that in our GLA section).

 

Mercedes GLA200 CDI AMG Line

Mercedes GLA200 CDI AMG Line

 

The Mercedes GLA200 CDI AMG Line is better car than the Audi Q3 2.0 TDI SE in some respects, but it's not as good in others. Let's start with the good.

The GLA200 CDI is powered by a 2.1-litre diesel engine that will return 62.8 miles per gallon on a combined cycle with a CO2 output of just 119 g/km, which translates to £30 road tax. That's way, way cheaper than the Audi Q3 and if you happen to be buying one of these cars on a business lease, that bump in efficiency will appeal hugely.

The engine produces 134 bhp and 266 lb /ft of torque - much less than the Audi, but it'll still get from 0 - 62 mph in 10 seconds flat. It isn't as brisk in-gear but the engine is smooth and progressive, with well spaced gears to ensure there's always enough power. The drop in power over the Q3 is noticeable on the motorway, but this is the price you pay for increased efficiency.

Inside the GLA is almost on-par with the Q3 in terms of quality. It lacks the really solid feel you get from the Audi, but the Mercedes fights back with a more intuitive dashboard and a sweeter driving position along with better visibility out of the back window.

Now, the bad. As noted, the Mercedes isn't as quick as the Q3, but it's also not quite as well equipped despite costing £200 more. In the Mercedes, you get air-con. In the Audi, climate control. In the Audi you get front parking sensors, in the Mercedes you don't, unless you purchase a pack. It is these little things that help the Audi to stand out on the forecourt.

Overall

Both of these cars are decent for anybody looking into premium crossovers. The Audi has a marginally better quality interior, but the Mercedes hits back with a sportier design and more badge appeal. The Audi is much faster than the Mercedes but the Mercedes has better handling and response.

Ultimately, if you're after a driver's car, a diesel crossover isn't what you should be looking for. It's important to cover all the bases though. If you want a sporty looking family car I'd go for the Mercedes - it is much more economical than the Audi and costs just £30 per year to tax, and although it gives up 40-litres of boot space to the Audi, the GLA just feels like a crisper package. Your decision will likely be swayed by looks, though, and those are subjective. I recommend test driving both.

 

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