It’s not as strong a seller as it used to be, but the Mercedes-Benz GLA is still one of the most popular small premium SUVs.

    Mercedes-Benz was Australia’s best-selling luxury brand last year, though BMW could dethrone it this year. And yet the GLA is not only behind the rival X1, but also the Audi Q3 and Volvo XC40, and only just keeping ahead of the Lexus UX.

    Part of this could be down to supply. Our data says you’re looking at wait times of more than six months to take delivery of a new GLA.

    Say you don’t want to wait that long, even if an updated model has just gone on sale in Australia with more equipment (albeit at a higher price). Do you simply look at its Audi, BMW and Lexus rivals, or is there another alternative to consider?

    The members of the CarExpert team have shared what they would buy instead of a GLA.

    Paul Maric: Tesla Model Y

    I’d be going for a Tesla Model Y. Tesla has a stack of brand new stock sitting dormant at its dealerships, so you’d be able to take delivery immediately.

    In terms of value for money, it seems to be a better bet than the Mercedes-Benz and you get the electric drivetrain to boot.

    It won’t be as premium or ride as well as the Mercedes-Benz, but it’s a compromise I’d be willing to make to get my hands on a bigger SUV quickly.

    MORE: Everything Tesla Model Y

    Scott Collie: BMW X1

    The updated GLA has been hit with a price hike, and it wasn’t what you’d call cheap to begin with. With that in mind, I would be looking at the BMW X1.

    The last X1 felt a bit half-baked, but the new one has taken a huge step forward. It’s modern and spacious inside, with a technology suite that’s every bit as flashy as the Mercedes-Benz setup… but easier to use.

    If you’re not in a hurry, the xDrive20i xLine is the pick of the range. The X1 M35i xDrive is pretty tempting though, with its 2.0-litre turbocharged engine and sportier looks. It’s also $7000 cheaper than the equivalent GLA, the 35 AMG.

    MORE: Buy a BMW X1

    Anthony Crawford: Mercedes-AMG GLB 35

    Never mind the GLA, I’m a much bigger fan of the GLB35 AMG 4Matic for its tough, no-nonsense looks, punchy performance, composed handling and of course the practicality of being closer in size to the GLC.

    Priced from $104,000 plus on-roads, it’s only $5200 more than the GLA35, and well worth the premium in my view.

    And while I haven’t yet driven the BMW’s latest X1 M35i xDrive, it’s also a crossover I’m particularly keen on, given my own family chariot (Volvo XC40) is now five years old and coming up for replacement.

    I see Stretch Scollie has already flagged that vehicle. I’ll give him points for that.

    MORE: Buy a Mercedes-AMG GLB

    James Wong: Cupra Formentor VZx

    I’m a bit baffled by the GLA’s price point these days – there’s so much you can buy for the same money as even the entry-level GLA 200 ($68,900 +ORCs).

    Compact premium SUVs have never really floated my boat. Generally they’re not particularly plush, come with average performance unless you shell out for a high-spec model, and require you to option a lot of things that are normally standard in the mainstream segment.

    For me, an alternative that really sticks out is the Cupra Formentor VZx, which from $70,790 drive-away is already less than what a base GLA will cost in your driveway. It’s a similar size, is arguably sexier and cooler to look at, as well as offering the sort of performance that is restricted to the AMG GLA 35 which is – wait for it – $96,900 plus on-road costs!

    If you must have a premium badge, the Audi SQ2 is a bit smaller but offers similar levels of punch to the Cupra, priced from $68,200 which is still cheaper than a GLA 200.

    MORE: Buy a Cupra Formentor

    Jack Quick: Tesla Model Y

    The asking price for the entry-level Mercedes-Benz GLA has now risen to almost $70,000 before on-roads, which isn’t petty cash for a small premium SUV.

    If you’re not willing to wait over six months for a new GLA I’d argue you’d be silly to not consider the slightly larger and all-electric Tesla Model Y.

    I completely understand electric cars aren’t for everyone but the entry-level Tesla Model Y RWD is currently over $3000 more affordable than the GLA 200. That’s even before taking into account the cheaper running costs of an electric vehicle.

    The Model Y is currently Australia’s best-selling electric vehicle for a reason. It offers unrivalled battery and electric motor efficiency, oodles of interior and boot space, as well as enough kit to draw your eyes away from the legacy premium brands.

    MORE: Everything Tesla Model Y

    Jade Credentino: Audi Q3

    I would more than likely go for the larger Audi Q3. It’s a nice package for the price point.

    I think it’s important to consider a premium alternative in this case and the Q3 to be ticks a lot of boxes.

    For those who are looking for some power behind the wheel the Q3 range extends to the RSQ3, but even the more affordable versions of the Q3 are great.

    Mercedes-Benz Australia has increased prices across its range for various models. With this in mind, it’s an opportunity for new and current customers who are looking to purchase a new Mercedes-Benz to test drive a variety of options to evaluate their next car against competitors and ensure they’re getting value for money.

    MORE: Buy an Audi Q3

    William Stopford: Cupra Formentor VZx

    The Mercedes-Benz GLA is a decent small SUV, but it’s far from the most affordable and its styling leaves me cold. The old GLA looked better outside, though it didn’t look even remotely like an SUV – perhaps that’s why I liked it!

    I’m not much of a badge snob, and I’ve often taken a dim view at some of these entry-level models from German premium brands that don’t sufficiently elevate themselves in luxury and comfort over more mass-market brands.

    The latest BMW X1 impressed me, however, with a genuinely luxurious interior in xLine guise. Overall, it feels a significant step ahead from the old X1.

    The Volvo XC40’s styling is ageing like fine wine and its packaging remains impressive, even in electric guise. It’s one of my favourites in this segment, even if you can’t bloody get Android Auto (seriously, Volvo?)

    But I’ll have to agree with James and go with the Cupra Formentor VZx. Its interior isn’t quite as posh as the BMW’s but it still has a great design, while this SUV feels like a hot hatch to drive. Considering an X1 M35i xDrive or AMG GLA 35 is more than $20,000 pricier, the VZx is a relative bargain, too.

    MORE: Buy a Cupra Formentor

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

    Buy and Lease
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers
    Uncover exclusive deals and discounts with a VIP referral to Australia's best dealers