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For enhanced safety, the GMC Terrain’s rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Mercedes GLA doesn’t offer comfort guides on its rear seat belts.
In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Terrain are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The GLA doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.
To help make backing safer, the Terrain (except SL)’s optional 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.
Compared to metal, the Terrain’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Mercedes GLA has a metal gas tank.
Both the Terrain and the GLA have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.
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 Terrain the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 157 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The GLA has not been tested, yet.
GMC’s powertrain warranty covers the Terrain 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the GLA. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the GLA ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
The Terrain’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the GLA’s (6 vs. 5 years).
There are almost 5 times as many GMC dealers as there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Terrain’s warranty.
The Terrain’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 44 more horsepower (252 vs. 208) and 2 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 258) than the GLA 250’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.
As tested in Motor Trend the GMC Terrain 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. is faster than the GLA 250:
Zero to 60 MPH
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the GMC Terrain uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended with the 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. engine for maximum performance). The GLA requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The Terrain FWD’s standard fuel tank has 1.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the GLA 250’s standard fuel tank (14.9 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
The Terrain has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The GLA doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.
A nine-speed automatic is standard on the GMC Terrain, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the GLA.
The Terrain stops shorter than the GLA:
60 to 0 MPH (Wet)
The Terrain 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 Terrain SLE/SLT/Denali 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 roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.
For greater off-road capability the Terrain SLE has a 2.1 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the AMG GLA 45 (6.9 vs. 4.8 inches), allowing the Terrain to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Terrain SLT/Denali’s minimum ground clearance is 2.6 inches higher than on the GLA 250 (7.9 vs. 5.3 inches).
The front grille of the Terrain 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 Terrain 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 Terrain has 12.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the GLA (103.2 vs. 91).
The Terrain has 1.6 inches more front headroom, .7 inches more front legroom, 1.2 inches more front shoulder room, 3.1 inches more rear headroom, 12.6 inches more rear legroom and 2.4 inches more rear shoulder room than the GLA.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Terrain’s rear seats recline. The GLA’s rear seats don’t recline.
The Terrain has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the GLA with its rear seat up (29.6 vs. 17.2 cubic feet). The Terrain has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the GLA with its rear seat folded (63.3 vs. 43.6 cubic feet).
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Terrain SLE/SLT/Denali’s rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The GLA doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
The Terrain has a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The GLA has no towing capacity.
The Terrain (except SL/SLE)’s optional 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 Terrain’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The GLA does not have an oil pressure gauge.
To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Terrain 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 Terrain’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 standard on the Terrain 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 Terrain has standard extendable sun visors. The GLA doesn’t offer extendable visors.
When the Terrain with available tilt-down mirrors 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.
Both the Terrain and the GLA offer available heated front seats. The Terrain Denali also offers optional 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 Terrain Denali 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 Terrain’s optional (except SL/SLE) 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 Terrain (except SL) offers an optional 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.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Terrain is less expensive to operate than the GLA because typical repairs cost much less on the Terrain than the GLA, including $428 less for a water pump, $18 less for front brake pads, $297 less for a starter, $96 less for fuel injection, $274 less for front struts and $456 less for a power steering pump.
The GMC Terrain outsold the Mercedes GLA by almost five to one during 2018.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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