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2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA vs Infiniti QX30

We're a little more open-minded when it comes to badges and branding of our autos than our friends over in Europe, which is why a model such as the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA has the likes of the Infiniti QX30 as a genuine luxury compact crossover rival here in America. So, let's see how these two models built on the same platform and sharing a powertrain measure-up to each other in a head-to-head comparison.

2017 Infiniti QX30 parked in front of modern buildings

Exterior Styling

The GLA sits somewhere between a tall hatch and a crossover, in terms of how it looks, a more and more common styling theme with luxury and non-luxury compact crossovers right now. The GLA isn't devastatingly pretty, but it's different enough to stand out without being polarizing. A bit like a great song, this design grows on you the more you experience it. Infiniti is using a distinctively angular design language that also has its share of sweeping curves. The QX30 is an Infiniti designed to appeal to a global market, so some elements American buyers will love while others may not be quite so appealing. The QX30 is a very good-looking crossover though and it's easier to love than the GLA, so this round goes to the Infiniti.

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA Class driving on a sunny day

Interior Comfort & Quality

You'd expect a nice interior inside anything wearing a Mercedes badge, and that's exactly what you get here. The quality of the materials and build is excellent, and it gets better and better as you go up the trim levels. But if you think a crossover will inevitably have more passenger and cargo space than a hatch built on the same platform, sit in the back of the GLA and prepare to readjust your thought process. If space is at a premium in the Mercedes, you'll find even less of it in the Infiniti. The difference isn't huge, but every little bit helps, especially with compacts like these. Outward vision isn't great, and the overall quality and style of the cabin is hard to distinguish from a mid to high-end trim of a mass-market Nissan equivalent. It's a victory for the GLA then.

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA Class on a sunny day

Fuel Economy

Compacts by their very nature have to be at least reasonably good on gas consumption, and the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA is pretty good. It's best EPA-estimated figures are 25 mpg in the city, 35 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg combined, which are more than acceptable. Even though the QX30 shares a powertrain with the GLA, it still falls a little short of the Mercedes in the area of fuel-efficiency. The best ratings offered by the Infiniti are 24 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg combined, so the GLA takes the honors once again.

 

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA Class driving fast

Engines & Performance

The GLA has two engine options, which are a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four and a handcrafted AMG® 2.0-liter inline-four. The standard unit develops a very useful 208 horsepower while the GLA ups the power ante considerably to a massive 375 turbocharged horsepower. If you can live with a tiny amount of turbo lag, both engines perform superbly in town or on the highway. The Infiniti QX30 only has one engine here in the US, which is basically the same 208 horsepower base engine from the GLA. It performs pretty much the same, but the lack of an alternative powerplant hands this final round to the Mercedes.

 

At the entry level, these two are pretty tough to separate, which isn't really a shock considering they're built on the same platform and share the same powertrain. However, as you look closer you soon see the Mercedes does everything a bit better and with more of an upscale flair than the Infiniti. The GLA is definitely the better choice.

Learn More About the Mercedes-Benz Lineup:

2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class

2017 Mercedes-Benz CLA

2017 Mercedes-Benz C-Class