Which is the best compact SUV: BMW X1 or Mercedes Benz GLA?

This blog will compare the BMW X1 and Mercedes Benz GLA and answer the following questions: Which is the best compact SUV? What are the different models available in BMW X1? What are the Different models available in the Mercedes Benz GLA? Is the BMW X1 cheaper to maintain than the Mercedes Benz GLA?

Which is the best compact SUV: BMW X1 or Mercedes Benz GLA?

The following table compares key specifications of the BMW X1 and Mercedes Benz GLA:

Model/ SpecificationsBMW X1Mercedes Benz GLA
Starting price35,400 USD36,400 USD
Number of passengers44
Width72.6 in72.2 in
Height 64.6 in63.4 in
wheelbase106.0 in107.4 in

The Mercedes Benz GLA is the best compact SUV due to following reasons:

Interior space

The Mercedes Benz GLA model series W 247 has a longer wheelbase compared to the BMW X1. There is more legroom in the back, two adults can easily seat comfortably for longer journeys. The new GLA is also taller than the old model so there is 116 mm more  headroom, the cabin also feels spacious due to the full panoramic sunroof.

The GLA is cleverly designed on the exterior too, the increase in the dimensions is barely noticeable and the car looks to be in the compact SUV segment.

Latest driver assistance systems

The Basic model of the GLA is approximately 1000 USD more than the X1 but it is better equipped than the X1. The GLA gets all the latest driver assistance systems like active brake assist and blind-spot assist as part of the standard equipment.

There is a long and short-range radar sensor in the front bumper, parking assist included a high-quality rear camera which activates when the R gear is selected.

Off-road ability

The Mercedes Benz GLA has better off-road ability than the BMW X1. The ground clearance of the GLA is raised by 9 mm to 143 mm. The driver also seats higher compared to the A-Class. A higher seating position gives a good commanding position to the driver.

The front suspension setup is completely independent with McPherson struts on the front axle, rear axle also gets a coil spring with a separate shock absorber. The tyre sizes are 215 / 65 on 17-inch rims at the front and 215 / 65 on 17-inch rims at the rear. 

GLA also comes with a 4 Matic driver system, it is fully variable and the torque vectoring can send power to any wheel with maximum grip. GLA approach and departure angles are 15.8 degrees and 21.5 degrees respectively. 

What are the different models available in BMW X1?

The BMW X1 has 14 models they are listed in the table given below:

Petrol models in BMW X1

modelsMaximum power Combined MPG (US)
X1 sDrive 18i136 horsepower44
X1 sDrive 20i192 horsepower40
X1 sDrive 25i231 horsepower37

Diesel models in X1

modelsMaximum power Combined MPG (US)
X1 sDrive 16d116 horsepower60
X1sDrive 18d150 horsepower55
X1sDrive sDrive20d190 horsepower52
X1 sDrive 25d231 horsepower47

What are the different models available in the Mercedes Benz GLA?

The Mercedes Benz GLA is available in petrol, diesel engine models and hybrid and electric drivetrains.

The following table lists all the different petrol models:

ModelsMaximum power Combined MPG (US)
GLA 180136 Horsepower35
GLA 200/ 200 4MATIC163 Horsepower42
GLA 250/ 250 4MATIC224 Horsepower31
GLA 35 AMG 4MATIC306 Horsepower28
GLA 45 AMG 4MATIC +387 Horsepower25
GLA 45 AMG 4MATIC +421 Horsepower25

The Mercedes Benz GLA is more reliable as it is powered by the latest Mercedes Benz petrol and diesel engines. The petrol GLA models are powered by M260 and M282, both the engines are newly developed.

Both the engines have Camtronic technology that can change the valve opening in order to produce more power. The M282 is the smallest engine in the world with a cylinder shutoff function to improve fuel economy.

The diesel engine models in Mercedes Benz GLA are listed below

ModelsMaximum power Combined MPG (US)
GLA 180 d11651
GLA 200 d/ 200 d 4MATIC15048
GLA 220 d 4MATIC19047

The diesel GLA models are powered by the OM 654. Based on the model, the OM 654 is used in a different state of tune. The OM 654 also belongs to the latest Mercedes Benz diesel engine family. 

There is an exhaust gas after-treatment system present on all the diesel models of GLA. Diesel emission fluid stored in a separate tank is injected into the exhaust system depending on the concentration of nitrogen oxides present in the exhaust gases.

Is the BMW X1 cheaper to maintain than the Mercedes Benz GLA?

No, BMW X1 is expensive to maintain in the long run compared to the Mercedes Benz GLA. The annual maintenance cost of a BMW X1 is $1,000- 1700 USD. GLA’s annual maintenance cost is only 900 USD.

Mercedes Benz Pre-paid service packages are also available for 10 years from the date of registration of the vehicle. The prepaid service packages of Mercedes Benz GLA are called Star ease and Star ease compact plus.

Customers can choose to purchase the service package anytime by visiting the authorised Mercedes Benz Dealership. If the vehicle is sold then the service package can be transferred to the new one.

BMW also offers an Ultimate cover care plan but it is not as good as the Mercedes Benz star lease plan. There is a mileage limit of 36000 miles in the BMW prepaid service plan for the X1. 

Other than prepaid service plans, Mercedes Benz offers extended warranty plans for GLA. The extended warranty can be purchased for 6 years from the date of registration. Customers also have the choice to only buy an extended warranty for 4,5 and 6 years separately.

Conclusion

The Mercedes Benz GLA is currently the best compact SUV in the market. It is a new generation of GLA  and brings new features like Mercedes Me to connect with MBUX. BMW recently announced the third generation of the BMW X1, but it is not available in the international market. Meanwhile, Mercedes Benz sold more than 100,000 units of GLA globally.

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

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