2020 Volvo XC40 vs. 2019 Mercedes GLA

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The XC40’s 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.

Both the XC40 and GLA have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC40 offers optional 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.

The XC40 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The GLA doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The XC40 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, which automatically apply 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.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The XC40 offers an optional CTA Auto Brake 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 XC40’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.

Both the XC40 and the GLA have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front and rear seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, 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 blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the XC40 its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 46 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The GLA has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The XC40’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the GLA’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC40 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Mercedes doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the GLA.

Engine

The XC40 T5’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 40 more horsepower (248 vs. 208) than the GLA 250’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

The XC40 has a gallon more fuel capacity than the GLA 250’s standard fuel tank (14.2 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

The XC40 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.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Volvo XC40, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the GLA.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the XC40’s standard brake rotors are larger than those on the GLA:

XC40

GLA

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

11.6 inches

The XC40 stops shorter than the GLA:

XC40

GLA

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

135 feet

142 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the XC40’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the GLA (245/45R20 vs. 235/50R18).

The XC40 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

The XC40 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The XC40’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The GLA doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the XC40 is 1.5 inches wider in the front and 2.4 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the GLA.

The XC40’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (57.9% to 42.1%) than the GLA’s (59.7% to 40.3%). This gives the XC40 more stable handling and braking.

The XC40 T5 R-Design AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the GLA 250 4MATIC pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

For greater off-road capability the XC40 has a 3.5 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the AMG GLA 45 (8.3 vs. 4.8 inches), allowing the XC40 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The XC40’s minimum ground clearance is 3 inches higher than on the GLA 250 (8.3 vs. 5.3 inches).

Passenger Space

The XC40 has 7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the GLA (98 vs. 91).

The XC40 has .6 inches more front headroom, .7 inches more front legroom, .7 inches more front shoulder room, 3.7 inches more rear headroom, 9 inches more rear legroom and 3.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the GLA.

The front step up height for the XC40 is .7 inches lower than the GLA (17.7” vs. 18.4”). The XC40’s rear step up height is 1.3 inches lower than the GLA’s (18.2” vs. 19.5”).

Cargo Capacity

The XC40 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the GLA with its rear seat up (20.7 vs. 17.2 cubic feet). The XC40 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the GLA with its rear seat folded (57.5 vs. 43.6 cubic feet).

The XC40’s cargo area is larger than the GLA’s in almost every dimension:

XC40

GLA

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

34.9”/65.7”

31.6”/63”

Max Width

47.8”

41.8”

Min Width

39.5”

41”

Height

29.4”

28.3”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the XC40’s optional rear seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The GLA doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Towing

The XC40 has a 3500 lbs. towing capacity. The GLA has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The XC40 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.

Ergonomics

The XC40’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 optional on the XC40 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.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the XC40 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 XC40’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the GLA’s headlights, which were rated “Poor.”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The XC40 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The GLA doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the XC40 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 XC40 offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The GLA doesn’t offer cornering lights. The XC40 also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

When the XC40 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 XC40 and the GLA offer optional heated front seats. The XC40 also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the GLA.

On extremely cold winter days, the XC40’s 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

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC40 is less expensive to operate than the GLA because typical repairs cost much less on the XC40 than the GLA, including $507 less for a water pump, $249 less for a muffler, $124 less for front brake pads, $356 less for a starter, $328 less for fuel injection, $209 less for front struts and $754 less for a power steering pump.

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

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