Car Comparison

2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA vs. 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK: What's the Difference?

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class 4MATIC
Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
$22,990
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class 4MATIC
Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class
$31,281
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class 4MATIC
Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class
$26,990
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 4MATIC Sedan
Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
$25,825
RELATED READING
See all Mercedes-Benz GLA250 articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Doug DeMuro January 2015

For several years, Mercedes-Benz has offered only one compact crossover: the boxy GLK, which has held its own against such popular rivals as the BMW X3, the Acura RDX and the Volvo XC60. This year, the brand's lineup has officially expanded to include the all-new 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA, a second compact crossover with smaller engines, better gas mileage and a more carlike appearance. What exactly separates the GLA from the GLK? We've created a close comparison of both crossovers to help you understand all the key differences.

Exterior

Despite their similar size and names, you'd never confuse the GLA and the GLK on the outside. The GLK offers boxy styling that makes it look like a more traditional SUV, while the GLA boasts a more carlike, hatchback-style look. If you see a GLA and a GLK parked next to one another, you'll quickly realize that the only exterior piece shared by the two models is the 3-pointed Mercedes-Benz star.

Interior

On the inside, the GLA and the GLK look a lot more similar, though there are still some key differences. Most notably, the GLK offers a little more room than the GLA. We're especially referring to head room, where the GLK feels spacious and airy compared to the more cramped GLA. The GLK offers a little more hip and leg room, too.

Interestingly, however, the two cars offer a highly similar dashboard and center control stack, using roughly the same design and almost identical materials. The biggest difference is that the GLK's infotainment system is set into the dash, while the GLA's screen sticks out like the one in the smaller Mercedes CLA.

Mechanicals

Under the hood, both the GLK and the GLA offer two engines, though the GLK is tuned for comfort and fuel economy, while the GLA aims for performance and sportiness.

The base-level GLK250 uses a fuel-efficient 2.1-liter turbodiesel 4-cylinder, which makes 200 horsepower and 389 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy tops out at 24 miles per gallon in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Meanwhile, the V6-powered GLK350 boasts a smooth 302-hp V6 that returns up to 19 mpg city/25 mpg hwy.

On the other hand, the GLA250's base engine is a 208-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, which is mated to a quick-shifting 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission for 24 mpg city/32 mpg hwy. The high-performance GLA45 AMG uses a raucous 355-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, which propels the crossover to 60 miles per hour in under 5 seconds and still manages to return 23 mpg city/29 mpg hwy.

Features & Technology

The GLK and GLA are most similar when comparing equipment levels and technology features. Both models offer the latest gadgets and features from Mercedes-Benz, including an automated parking system, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, parking sensors and blind spot alert. The more expensive GLK boasts only a few small upgrades over the GLA, including a 360-degree surround-view camera and a forward-collision alert system with automatic braking. Otherwise, expect virtually every standard and optional feature available in the GLK to be available in the GLA.

Driving Experience

When you step behind the wheel, the difference in driving experience between the GLA and the GLK is like night and day.

To us, the GLK is the crossover you'll want if your priorities include comfort, luxury, smoothness and a commanding driving position. In other words, the GLK provides more of the traditional SUV and Mercedes-Benz experience than the GLA. The GLK also feels highly solid, like many Mercedes-Benz models, and offers direct, linear steering.

On the other hand, the GLA feels more like a sporty hatchback than a luxury crossover. The driving position is lower, and the peppy engines always seem eager to accelerate. While the luxurious cabin and the excellent handling are still present, the smooth ride is gone, replaced by a more edgy feel, especially with larger wheel sizes. Handling is also a little crisper in the GLA than in the GLK.

Safety

Although the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA and the GLK have not yet been rated by the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, we expect strong crash performance from both models. Mercedes-Benz has traditionally earned strong safety scores, and the GLK earned good crash-test results from the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

As for safety features, the GLK offers a few extra items such as forward collision alert and a 360-degree camera. But both models come standard with a wide range of safety gear, and both offer an impressive array of safety options, including lane departure warning, parking sensors, blind spot alert and adaptive cruise control.

Although we think the GLK offers a slight safety advantage, these two crossovers are highly similar when it comes to occupant protection and safety gadgets.

Conclusions

With a starting price around $4,600 more than the GLA's base figure, the GLK is primarily aimed at shoppers interested in prioritizing luxury over sportiness and comfort over performance. It's also aimed at drivers looking for a more traditional SUV experience, and at those who need a larger cabin than the GLA can provide. The GLA, on the other hand, is for shoppers who want better performance, improved handling and a more carlike feel. Both SUVs are good vehicles, but we suspect most drivers will know which one is right for them after a thorough test drive.

Find a Mercedes-Benz GLA class for sale

Find a Mercedes-Benz GLK class for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class 4MATIC
Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
$22,990
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class 4MATIC
Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class
$31,281
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class 4MATIC
Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class
$26,990
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class 4MATIC Sedan
Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class
$25,825
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA vs. 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLK: What's the Difference? - Autotrader