Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class vs. Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - December 4, 2018

Automakers like Mercedes-Benz have SUV-heavy lineups with tall-riding vehicles of all sizes. The Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class and GLC-Class are two of the brand's more popular SUVs. The most obvious difference between the two is size – the GLA is the smallest SUV available from Mercedes, while the GLC is a mid-size vehicle. Despite being in different segments, shoppers may find themselves comparing the two to see which is the better fit. We looked at both SUVs to see which is one worth your money.

See a side-by-side comparison of the GLA-Class & GLC-Class »

What the GLA-Class Gets Right

With a starting price tag of $34,945, which includes destination, the 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 is $6,750 less than the 2019 GLC 300. While the GLA 250 costs less, it can be well equipped with things like heated front seats, leather seats, 18-inch alloy wheels, a power liftgate, heated exterior mirrors, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

Drivers that live in tight areas will prefer the GLA-Class' subcompact size over the GLC-Class' mid-size stature. Overall, the GLA 250 is 10 inches shorter in length than the GLC 300, three inches smaller in width, and nearly six inches shorter in height. The GLA-Class' smaller size makes it easier to drive in tight areas, and easier to maneuver on the road.

Despite having similar engines – both the GLA 250 and GLC 300 come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder motor – the GLA 250 is the more fuel-efficient offering. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the 2019 GLA 250 is 24 miles per gallon city, 33 mpg highway, and 27 combined. The 2019 GLC 300 lags behind with ratings of 22/27/24 mpg (city/highway/combined).

What the GLC-Class Gets Right

As the larger vehicle, the GLC-Class offers passengers more interior space. The SUV has more rear head room, leg room, and shoulder room than the GLA-Class. The vehicle can also hold more cargo – the GLC 300 can hold up to 56.5 cubic feet, while the GLA 250 has a cargo capacity of 43.6 cubic feet.

The GLC 300 is the more powerful vehicle, too. While having the same engine as the GLA 250, the motor produces 241 horsepower in the GLC 300, which is 33 hp more than the GLA 250. The extra power makes the GLC 300 a little quicker to 60 miles per hour than the GLA 250 – the mid-size SUV can reach 60 mph time in 6.4 seconds, while the GLA 250 takes 7.2 seconds. The GLC 300 has a higher towing capacity, too, as it's rated to haul up to 3,500 pounds.

Luxury or Small and Compact?

The decision between choosing a GLA-Class or a GLA-Class comes down to what you're looking for in a SUV. The GLA-Class is small and nimble, and easy to drive in tight spots. The GLC-Class is larger and more comfortable and is the more luxurious option.

Verdict: Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class

While the GLC-Class is more expensive than the GLA-Class, the SUV is more luxurious and more comfortable for full-size passengers. Its more spacious cargo area also makes it more versatile, as does its higher towing capacity. The mid-size SUV is the better fit for the majority of drivers and is something that families can grow into.

Take a closer look at the Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class »

Take a closer look at the Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter | Website