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Both the Envision and GLA have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Envision has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The GLA’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.
To help make backing safer, the Envision Essence/Premium’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The GLA doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
Both the Envision and the GLA have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.
The Buick Envision weighs 415 to 919 pounds more than the Mercedes GLA. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Envision the rating of “Top Pick” for 2016, a rating granted to only 212 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The GLA has not been tested, yet.
Buick’s powertrain warranty covers the Envision 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the GLA. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the GLA ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
The Envision’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the GLA’s (6 vs. 5 years).
There are over 5 times as many Buick dealers as there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Envision’s warranty.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Buick vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 12th, below the industry average.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Buick 3 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.
The Envision Premium’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 44 more horsepower (252 vs. 208) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 258) than the GLA’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Buick Envision uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended on Envision Premium for maximum performance). The GLA requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The Envision has 2.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the GLA (17.3 vs. 14.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Buick Envision Premium, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the GLA.
The Envision has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The GLA doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.
The Envision has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the GLA; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed.
The Envision’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The GLA doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Envision’s wheelbase is 2 inches longer than on the GLA (108.3 inches vs. 106.3 inches).
The front grille of the Envision uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The GLA doesn’t offer active grille shutters.
The Envision uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The GLA doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.
The Envision has 9.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the GLA (100.6 vs. 91).
The Envision has 2.2 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear headroom, 3.6 inches more rear legroom and 2.7 inches more rear shoulder room than the GLA.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Envision’s rear seats recline. The GLA’s rear seats don’t recline.
The Envision has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the GLA with its rear seat up (26.9 vs. 17.2 cubic feet). The Envision has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the GLA with its rear seat folded (57.3 vs. 43.6 cubic feet).
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Envision’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The GLA doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
The Envision has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The GLA has no towing capacity.
The Envision can be flat towed on all four wheels (dinghy towed), allowing recreational vehicle owners to bring it with them on the road. When they reach their destination, the Envision can be unhitched and driven around locally. The GLA can’t be towed flat on the ground.
The Envision uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The GLA uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.
The Envision Essence/Premium’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The GLA doesn’t offer an easy entry system.
The Envision Premium offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The GLA doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Envision has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the GLA only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.
Consumer Reports rated the Envision’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the GLA’s headlights, which were rated “Poor.”
While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the Envision Premium detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The GLA doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.
To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Envision has standard extendable sun visors. The GLA doesn’t offer extendable visors.
When the Envision Essence/Premium is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The GLA’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.
The Envision has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the GLA. The Envision Essence/Premium also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the GLA.
Optional air-conditioned seats in the Envision Premium keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The GLA doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
On extremely cold winter days, the Envision Essence/Premium’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The GLA doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
The Envision Premium has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The GLA doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.
Insurance will cost less for the Envision owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Envision will cost $225 less than the GLA over a five-year period.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Envision is less expensive to operate than the GLA because typical repairs cost much less on the Envision than the GLA, including $458 less for a water pump, $229 less for a muffler, $47 less for front brake pads, $302 less for a starter, $359 less for fuel injection, $63 less for a fuel pump and $264 less for a power steering pump.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Buick Envision will be $1585 to $6752 less than for the Mercedes GLA.
The Buick Envision outsold the Mercedes GLA by 50% during 2019.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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