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The Countryman has a standard PostCrash iBrake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The GLA doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.
Compared to metal, the Countryman’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 Countryman 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, 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 and front parking sensors.
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 Countryman the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 169 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The GLA has not been tested, yet.
The Countryman’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the GLA’s (12 vs. 5 years).
MINI pays for scheduled maintenance on the Countryman for 3 years and 36,000 miles. MINI will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the GLA.
To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Countryman has a standard 150-amp alternator. The GLA’s 115-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that MINI vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks MINI 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 15 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 13th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that MINI vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks MINI 8 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.
On the EPA test cycle the JCW Countryman ALL4 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (301 HP) gets better fuel mileage than the AMG GLA 45 4MATIC Auto 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. (375 HP) (23 city/30 hwy vs. 22 city/28 hwy).
Regenerative brakes improve the Countryman’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The GLA doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.
The Countryman has 2.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the GLA 250’s standard fuel tank (16.1 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Countryman has 1.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the GLA 45 AMG’s standard fuel tank (16.1 vs. 14.8 gallons).
An eight-speed automatic is available on the MINI Countryman, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the GLA.
The Countryman stops shorter than the GLA:
60 to 0 MPH
60 to 0 MPH (Wet)
Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the Countryman can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The GLA doesn’t offer run-flat tires.
The Countryman offers an optional 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.
The Countryman 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 Countryman has a 1.7 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the AMG GLA 45 (6.5 vs. 4.8 inches), allowing the Countryman to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The Countryman’s minimum ground clearance is 1.2 inches higher than on the GLA 250 (6.5 vs. 5.3 inches).
The Countryman is 4.1 inches shorter than the GLA 250, making the Countryman easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The Countryman has 5.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the GLA (96.9 vs. 91).
The Countryman has 2.1 inches more front headroom, .2 inches more front legroom, 2.9 inches more rear headroom, 10.5 inches more rear legroom and .8 inches more rear shoulder room than the GLA.
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Countryman’s rear seats recline. The GLA’s rear seats don’t recline.
Flexibility is maximized at the game, campground or a drive-in theatre in the Countryman when its optional tailgating rear seats are deployed, allowing people to sit facing out of the liftgate. (Do not use while vehicle is in motion.) The GLA doesn’t offer tailgating seats.
The Countryman has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the GLA with its rear seat up (17.6 vs. 17.2 cubic feet). The Countryman has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the GLA with its rear seat folded (47.6 vs. 43.6 cubic feet).
The Countryman 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.
The Countryman’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The GLA’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Countryman to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The GLA doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
Consumer Reports rated the Countryman’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 Countryman 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 Countryman offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The GLA doesn’t offer cornering lights.
When the Countryman with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The GLA’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.
Insurance will cost less for the Countryman owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Countryman with a number “5” insurance rate while the GLA is rated higher at a number “10” rate.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Countryman is less expensive to operate than the GLA because typical repairs cost much less on the Countryman than the GLA, including $461 less for a water pump, $218 less for a muffler, $108 less for front brake pads, $262 less for a starter, $349 less for fuel injection, $147 less for a fuel pump, $73 less for front struts and $519 less for a power steering pump.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the MINI Countryman will be $7266 to $10441 less than for the Mercedes GLA.
Consumer Reports® recommends the MINI Countryman, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Mercedes GLA isn't recommended.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Countryman first among small suvs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The GLA isn’t in the top three in its category.
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