2018 Mercedes GLA vs. 2017 Buick Envision

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes GLA have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision. The Buick Envision doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The GLA’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Envision doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the GLA and the Envision have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.


J.D. Power and Associates rated the GLA first among small premium SUVs in their 2017 Initial Quality Study. The Envision isn’t in the top three in its category.


The GLA 250’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 11 more horsepower (208 vs. 197) and 66 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 192) than the Envision’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The AMG GLA 45’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 123 more horsepower (375 vs. 252) and 90 lbs.-ft. more torque (350 vs. 260) than the Envision Premium’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the GLA gets better fuel mileage than the Envision:








24 city/33 hwy

22 city/29 hwy

4 cyl./Auto



23 city/31 hwy

21 city/28 hwy

4 cyl./Auto


AMG 45/Auto

22 city/28 hwy

20 city/26 hwy

2.0 Turbo/Auto


A seven-speed automatic (SMG) is standard on the Mercedes GLA, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Envision.

The GLA offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Envision doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

The GLA GLA45’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Envision doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the AMG GLA 45’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Envision:




Front Rotors

13.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.4 inches

The AMG GLA 45’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Envision are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

The GLA’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Envision’s standard 60 series tires. The GLA 250’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Envision Premium’s 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the AMG GLA 45 offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Envision’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the GLA can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Envision doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The GLA offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Envision’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The GLA has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Envision doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For better maneuverability, the AMG GLA 45’s turning circle is 3.5 feet tighter than the Envision Premium 4x4’s (36 feet vs. 39.5 feet).


The Mercedes GLA may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 450 to 650 pounds less than the Buick Envision.

The GLA 250 is 9.8 inches shorter than the Envision, making the GLA easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The GLA is 8.6 inches shorter in height than the Envision, making the GLA much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

Cargo Capacity

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the GLA. The Envision doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.


Unlike the driver-only memory system in the Envision Essence/Premium, the GLA offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The GLA’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Envision’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.

If the windows are left down on the GLA the driver can raise them all using the keyless remote; on a hot day the driver can lower the windows. The driver of the Envision can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The GLA has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Envision doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The GLA’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Envision’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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