2021 Volvo XC60 vs. 2020 Mercedes GLA

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 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 2020/10/27

The XC60’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 XC60 and GLA have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC60 has 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 Volvo XC60 offers optional built in child booster seats. They’re more crash worthy than an added child seat because of their direct attachment to the seat. Mercedes doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the GLA. Their owners must carry a heavy booster seat in and out of the vehicle; XC60 owners can just fold their built-in child seat up or down.

The XC60 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 XC60 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.

To help make backing safer, the XC60’s 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 XC60’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 XC60 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 all wheel drive and around view monitors.

The Volvo XC60 weighs 564 to 910 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 IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the XC60 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 132 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The GLA has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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The XC60’s corrosion warranty is 7 years longer than the GLA’s (12 vs. 5 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC60 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.

Reliability

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The battery on the XC60 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the XC60’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The GLA’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

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The XC60 T5’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 42 more horsepower (250 vs. 208) than the GLA’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The XC60 T6’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder produces 108 more horsepower (316 vs. 208) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 258) than the GLA’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The XC60 T8’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid produces 192 more horsepower (400 vs. 208) and 214 lbs.-ft. more torque (472 vs. 258) than the GLA’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered’s standard 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid produces 207 more horsepower (415 vs. 208) and 236 lbs.-ft. more torque (494 vs. 258) than the GLA’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the XC60 T5 is faster than the Mercedes GLA 250:

XC60

GLA

Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

6.9 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

15.3 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.5 MPH

89.8 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the XC60 T8 running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the GLA 250 4MATIC (56 city/57 hwy MPGe vs. 23 city/31 hwy).

The XC60 T8 can drive on battery power alone for up to 19 miles. The GLA must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the XC60 T8’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The GLA doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

The XC60 Hybrid’s standard fuel tank has 3.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the GLA (18.5 vs. 14.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The XC60’s standard fuel tank has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the GLA (18.8 vs. 14.8 gallons).

The XC60 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

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Volvo XC60, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the GLA.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered’s brake rotors are larger than those on the GLA:

XC60 T5

XC60 T8 P. E.

GLA

Front Rotors

12.7 inches

14.6 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

11.9 inches

12.6 inches

11.6 inches

The XC60’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the GLA are solid, not vented.

The XC60 stops shorter than the GLA:

XC60

GLA

70 to 0 MPH

169 feet

173 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

124 feet

128 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

129 feet

142 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the GLA (265/35R22 vs. 235/50R18).

The XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the GLA’s optional 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XC60 offers optional 21-inch wheels. The GLA’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

The XC60 T5/T6 has a standard space-saver spare (not available on Recharge) 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 its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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The XC60 offers an available 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 GLA’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The XC60 T6/T8 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The XC60’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 a smoother ride and more stable handling, the XC60’s wheelbase is 6.5 inches longer than on the GLA (112.8 inches vs. 106.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the XC60 is 3.7 inches wider in the front and 3.8 inches wider in the rear than the track on the GLA.

The XC60 T6 AWD R-Design handles at .88 G’s, while the GLA 250 4MATIC pulls only .84 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The XC60 T5 AWD Momentum executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the GLA 250 4MATIC (26.6 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 27 seconds @ .66 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the XC60 has a 3.2 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the GLA (8.5 vs. 5.3 inches), allowing the XC60 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

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The XC60 has 12 cubic feet more passenger volume than the GLA (103 vs. 91).

The XC60 has 3.4 inches more front shoulder room, 4.1 inches more rear legroom and 3.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the GLA.

Cargo Capacity

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The XC60 has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the GLA with its rear seat up (30.2 vs. 17.2 cubic feet). The XC60 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).

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the XC60 easier. The XC60’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 26 inches, while the GLA’s liftover is 29.5 inches.

The XC60’s cargo area is larger than the GLA’s in almost every dimension:

XC60

GLA

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

37.8”/68.7”

31.6”/63”

Max Width

43.5”

41.8”

Min Width

39.8”

41”

Height

30.6”

28.3”

Towing

© 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 2020/10/27

The XC60 has a 3500 lbs. towing capacity. The GLA has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

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The XC60 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

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The XC60 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 XC60’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 XC60 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 XC60 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 XC60’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 XC60 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 XC60 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 XC60 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The GLA doesn’t offer cornering lights. The XC60 also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

When the XC60 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 XC60 and the GLA offer optional heated front seats. The XC60 also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the GLA.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the XC60 Inscription 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 XC60’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.

The XC60 Inscription offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the GLA.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC60 is less expensive to operate than the GLA because typical repairs cost much less on the XC60 than the GLA, including $413 less for a water pump, $351 less for a muffler, $51 less for front brake pads, $137 less for a starter, $105 less for fuel injection, $162 less for front struts, $48 less for a timing belt/chain and $739 less for a power steering pump.

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 2020/10/27

Consumer Reports® recommends the Volvo XC60, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Mercedes GLA isn't recommended.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the XC60 third among compact premium 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.

The Volvo XC60 outsold the Mercedes GLA by 38% during 2019.

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

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