2018 Mercedes GLA vs. 2018 Chevrolet Equinox

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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 Chevrolet Equinox doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes GLA are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Chevrolet Equinox doesn’t offer height-adjustable front 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 Equinox doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the GLA and the Equinox have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, 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.

Warranty

The GLA comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Equinox’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

The GLA’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Equinox’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the GLA first among small premium SUVs in their 2017 Initial Quality Study. The Equinox was rated third in its category.

Engine

The GLA 250’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 38 more horsepower (208 vs. 170) and 55 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 203) than the Equinox’s standard 1.5 turbo 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 Equinox’s optional 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Car and Driver the GLA 250 is faster than the Chevrolet Equinox:

 

GLA

Equinox 1.5

Equinox 2.0

Zero to 60 MPH

6.1 sec

8.9 sec

6.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

17.3 sec

26.8 sec

17.1 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

7.4 sec

9.6 sec

7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.8 sec

16.9 sec

15.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

93 MPH

83 MPH

94 MPH

Top Speed

130 MPH

124 MPH

130 MPH

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mercedes GLA higher (5 out of 10) than the Chevrolet Equinox (3 to 5). This means the GLA produces up to 16.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Equinox every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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 Equinox 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 Equinox doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the GLA’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Equinox:

 

GLA 250

AMG GLA 45

Equinox 1.5T/Diesel

Equinox 2.0T

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

13.8 inches

11.8 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.6 inches

13 inches

11.3 inches

11.3 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 Equinox are solid, not vented.

The GLA stops much shorter than the Equinox:

 

GLA

Equinox

 

70 to 0 MPH

151 feet

182 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

103 feet

127 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

142 feet

145 feet

Consumer Reports

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 Equinox’s standard 65 series tires. The GLA 250’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Equinox Premier’s optional 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLA 250 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Equinox. The AMG GLA 45’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the Equinox Premier.

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 Equinox doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The GLA has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the GLA flat and controlled during cornering. The Equinox’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

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 Equinox’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The AMG GLA 45 4MATIC handles at .96 G’s, while the Equinox LT AWD pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The AMG GLA 45 4MATIC executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 3 seconds quicker than the Equinox LT AWD (25 seconds @ .78 average G’s vs. 28 seconds @ .61 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the GLA 250’s turning circle is 1.4 feet tighter than the Equinox’s (36 feet vs. 37.4 feet). The AMG GLA 45’s turning circle is 1.3 feet tighter than the Equinox’s (36.1 feet vs. 37.4 feet).

Chassis

The GLA 250 is 9.2 inches shorter than the Equinox, making the GLA easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The GLA is 7.2 inches shorter in height than the Equinox, making the GLA much easier to wash and garage and drive (lower center of gravity).

As tested by Car and Driver while at idle, the interior of the GLA 250 4MATIC is quieter than the Equinox LT AWD (42 vs. 43 dB).

Cargo Capacity

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

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the Equinox Premier, 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 Equinox’s passenger windows don’t close automatically.

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 Equinox 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 Equinox’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the GLA has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Equinox doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The GLA has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Equinox.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the GLA offers an optional Distance Pilot DISTRONIC®, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Equinox doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The GLA’s optional Parking Pilot can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Equinox doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

The GLA will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the GLA will retain 47.55% to 48.79% of its original price after five years, while the Equinox only retains 44.23% to 46.77%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the GLA is less expensive to operate than the Equinox because it costs $792 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the GLA than the Equinox, including $324 less for a fuel pump and $219 less for a timing belt/chain.

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

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