2021 Mercedes GLA vs. 2020 Mazda CX-30

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Mercedes GLA have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Mazda CX-30 doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The GLA’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The CX-30 doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The GLA has a standard Post Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The CX-30 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.

The GLA offers an optional Surround View System to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The CX-30 only offers a rear monitor.

Both the GLA and the CX-30 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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 lane departure warning systems.

Warranty

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The GLA comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The CX-30’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 14,000 miles sooner.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mercedes vehicles are more reliable than Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes 13th in reliability, above the industry average. With 25 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.

Engine

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The GLA’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 35 more horsepower (221 vs. 186) and 72 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 186) than the CX-30’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the GLA 250 FWD Auto gets better fuel mileage than the CX-30 FWD (25 city/34 hwy vs. 25 city/33 hwy).

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the GLA’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The CX-30 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic (SMG) is standard on the Mercedes GLA, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the CX-30.

The GLA offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The CX-30 doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the GLA has larger tires than the CX-30 (235/55R18 vs. 215/65R16).

The GLA’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the CX-30’s standard 65 series tires. The GLA’s optional tires have a lower 50 series profile than the CX-30 Select/Preferred/Premium’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the GLA has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the CX-30. The GLA’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the CX-30 Select/Preferred/Premium.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires available on the GLA can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The CX-30 doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Mercedes GLA has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Mazda CX-30 has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The GLA has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the GLA flat and controlled during cornering. The CX-30’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The GLA offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The CX-30’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The GLA’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 CX-30 doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the GLA’s wheelbase is 2.9 inches longer than on the CX-30 (107.4 inches vs. 104.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the GLA is 1.6 inches wider in the front and 1.6 inches wider in the rear than on the CX-30.

Chassis

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The front grille of the GLA uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The CX-30 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

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The GLA has 1.3 inches more front headroom, 2.7 inches more front hip room, .3 inches more front shoulder room, 1.7 inches more rear legroom, 4.1 inches more rear hip room and 1.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the CX-30.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the GLA’s rear seats recline. The CX-30’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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The GLA has a larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the CX-30 with its rear seat folded (50.5 vs. 45.2 cubic feet).

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the GLA. The CX-30 doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the GLA’s available liftgate can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The CX-30 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

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The GLA uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The CX-30 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 Mercedes service is better than Mazda. J.D. Power ranks Mercedes fifth in service department satisfaction. With a 59% lower rating, Mazda is ranked 25th.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the CX-30 Preferred/Premium, the GLA has standard driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The GLA’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The CX-30 doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the GLA and the CX-30 have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the GLA is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The CX-30 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

If the windows are left open on the GLA the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the CX-30 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The GLA’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. The CX-30 doesn’t offer heated side mirrors.

The GLA’s optional rear and side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The CX-30 offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the GLA keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The CX-30 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the GLA’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The CX-30 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The GLA offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the CX-30.

The GLA has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the CX-30 Select/Preferred/Premium.

The GLA 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 CX-30 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

The GLA’s optional Active Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. The CX-30 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 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 2020/10/30

The Mercedes GLA outsold the Mazda CX-30 by almost 25 to one during 2019.

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