2020 Lexus NX Series vs. 2019 Mercedes GLA

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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The NX Series’ optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The GLA doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The NX Series has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The GLA doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The NX Series offers an optional Intuitive Parking Assist with Automatic Braking that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The GLA doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

To help make backing safer, the NX Series’ 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.

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

The Lexus NX Series weighs 483 to 884 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, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its standard headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the NX Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 104 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The GLA has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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Lexus’ powertrain warranty covers the NX Series 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 NX Series’ corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the GLA’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

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A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the NX Series’ reliability 18 points higher than the GLA.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Lexus vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 4 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 Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Lexus first in reliability, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Mercedes is ranked 17th.

Engine

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The NX 300’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 27 more horsepower (235 vs. 208) than the GLA 250’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the NX 300h gets better fuel mileage than the GLA 250 4MATIC (33 city/30 hwy vs. 23 city/31 hwy).

Regenerative brakes improve the NX Series 300h’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The GLA doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The NX Series Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the GLA 250’s standard fuel tank (14.8 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The NX Series’ standard fuel tank has 1.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the GLA 45 AMG’s standard fuel tank (15.9 vs. 14.8 gallons).

Transmission

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The NX 300h has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The GLA doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the NX Series’ standard front brake rotors are larger than those on the GLA:

NX Series

GLA

Front Rotors

12.9 inches

12.6 inches

The NX Series stops shorter than the GLA:

NX Series

GLA

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

142 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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The NX Series 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.

Suspension and Handling

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The NX Series has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The GLA 250 suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For greater off-road capability the NX 300h has a 1.9 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the AMG GLA 45 (6.7 vs. 4.8 inches), allowing the NX Series to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The NX 300’s minimum ground clearance is 1.6 inches higher than on the GLA 250 (6.9 vs. 5.3 inches).

Chassis

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As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the NX 300 F Sport AWD is quieter than the GLA 250 4MATIC:

NX Series

GLA

At idle

37 dB

42 dB

70 MPH Cruising

69 dB

70 dB

Passenger Space

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The NX Series has 2.6 inches more front legroom, 1.3 inches more front shoulder room, 2.7 inches more rear headroom, 9 inches more rear legroom and 2.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the GLA.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the NX Series’ rear seats recline. The GLA’s rear seats don’t recline.

The front step up height for the NX Series is .3 inches lower than the GLA (18.1” vs. 18.4”). The NX Series’ rear step up height is 1.5 inches lower than the GLA’s (18” vs. 19.5”).

Cargo Capacity

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The NX Series has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the GLA with its rear seat up (17.7 vs. 17.2 cubic feet). The NX Series has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the GLA with its rear seat folded (54.6 vs. 43.6 cubic feet).

The NX Series’ cargo area is larger than the GLA’s in almost every dimension:

NX Series

GLA

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

36”/71.5”

31.6”/63”

Max Width

53”

41.8”

Min Width

44.3”

41”

Height

27”

28.3”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the NX Series’ optional rear seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The GLA doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Towing

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Standard trailer towing in the NX 300 is 2000 pounds. The NX 300h offers up to a 1500 lbs. towing capacity. The GLA has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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The NX Series 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.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Lexus service is better than Mercedes. J.D. Power ranks Lexus second in service department satisfaction. With a 11% lower rating, Mercedes is ranked fifth.

Ergonomics

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The NX Series’ optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel and 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 NX Series’ 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 NX Series 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.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the NX Series detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The GLA doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the NX Series F Sport has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The GLA doesn’t offer cornering lights. The NX Series also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the NX Series has standard extendable sun visors. The GLA doesn’t offer extendable visors.

When the NX Series 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.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the NX Series 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 NX Series’ optional 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.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the NX Series owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the NX Series with a number “5” insurance rate while the GLA is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

The NX Series will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the NX Series will retain 50.95% to 51.77% of its original price after five years, while the GLA only retains 44.66% to 48.08%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the NX Series is less expensive to operate than the GLA because typical repairs cost much less on the NX Series than the GLA, including $371 less for a water pump, $4 less for a muffler, $188 less for front brake pads, $169 less for a starter, $55 less for a fuel pump, $194 less for front struts and $716 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Lexus NX Series will be $2589 to $15509 less than for the Mercedes GLA.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/16

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus NX Series, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Mercedes GLA isn't recommended.

Car and Driver performed a comparison test in its September 2016 issue and they ranked the Lexus NX 300 F Sport AWD higher than the Mercedes GLA 250 4MATIC.

The Lexus NX Series outsold the Mercedes GLA by almost three to one during 2018.

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

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