Lexus UX vs Mercedes-Benz GLA vs BMW X1 - which is best for you?

Arvind · Nov 8, 2021 11:00 AM

Lexus UX vs Mercedes-Benz GLA vs BMW X1 - which is best for you? 01

The Lexus UX is a relative newcomer to the hotly-contested compact premium SUV segment - going up against established rivals from the likes of the BMW X1, and Mercedes-Benz GLA

The new CKD Mercedes-Benz GLA has renewed interest in this segment. This also leaves the Lexus UX as the only made-in-Japan (CBU) model of the bunch. 

Lexus UX vs Mercedes-Benz GLA vs BMW X1 - which is best for you? 02

With that said, how does the Lexus fare against CKD German rivals, CBUs typically mean higher prices, but does the Lexus UX justify its asking price in this company?

Overview and variant list

Lexus UX vs Mercedes-Benz GLA vs BMW X1 - which is best for you? 01

Positioned under the larger Lexus NX and RX, the Lexus UX is envisioned as the entry point of the Lexus brand in Malaysia.

First introduced in 2020, the Lexus UX is offered in three variants – the UX 200 Urban, Luxury and F Sport.

Also read: Lexus UX is now here in Malaysia – from RM 244k, 2.0L 171 PS Dynamic Force NA engine

Lexus UX vs Mercedes-Benz GLA vs BMW X1 - which is best for you? 02

Let’s take a closer look at how the Lexus UX compares in terms of prices. 

Lexus UX variant prices versus rivals (RM)
Lexus UX 200 (CBU) Mercedes-Benz GLA (CKD) BMW X1 (CKD)
Urban: 243,888 200 Progressive Line: 232,739 sDrive18i: 215,800
Luxury: 283,888 250 AMG Line: 266,184 sDrive20i M Sport: 233,800
F Sport: 299,888    

Based on the Lexus GA-C platform, the UX is powered by the Lexus M20A-FKS 2.0-litre engine that produces 171 PS and a maximum torque of 205 Nm

The engine is paired with Lexus’s 10-speed Direct Shift CVT transmission, which, unlike conventional CVT transmissions, features a physical launch (1st) gear to ensure seamless acceleration from a standstill.

Lexus UX vs Mercedes-Benz GLA vs BMW X1 - which is best for you? 03

The Direct Shift CVT improves fuel efficiency by 6 percent, and offers response and shift time equal to or better than dual-clutch transmissions.

The following is a refresher on the highlight features of the Lexus UX variants:

Lexus UX vs Mercedes-Benz GLA vs BMW X1 - which is best for you? 04

Driving performance and efficiency

Despite not having a turbocharged engine, the 171 PS / 205 Nm Lexus UX still offers comparable performance. It's still better than the GLA 200's 163 PS / 250 Nm, but of course, the GLA 250 offers 223 PS / 350 Nm.

The BMW X1 18i makes just 140 PS / 220 Nm but the 20i variant makes 192 PS / 280 Nm. 

Where the UX actually leaps over its rivals is in the way it rides over our poorly paved roads and handles corners. This may be hard to believe, but the Lexus UX steers in ways no entry-level BMW can, you have to experience it for yourself.

Also read: Lexus UX vs Audi Q3 vs BMW X1 vs Volvo XC40, which is the perfect car for you?

Lexus UX vs Mercedes-Benz GLA vs BMW X1 - which is best for you? 05

Much of this comes down to the prolific Lexus GA-C platform's agile handling that does without sacrificing comfort. 

This gives the UX an incredibly composed ride on any road, more so than even the Mercedes-Benz GLA. 

Lexus UX vs Mercedes-Benz GLA vs BMW X1 - which is best for you? 06

Note too, in the case of the UX F Sport, it’s the only vehicle in its class to offer Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), which works in conjunction with a front stabiliser bar and performance absorbers at the rear for even sharper handling.

Given the intrinsic efficiency of the powertrain package, the Lexus UX boasts a fuel economy of just 6.2 litres/100km, versus the GLA's 6.9 litres/100km and X1's 7.6 litres/100km

Safety and convenience features

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While the Lexus UX is priced higher than its competitors, it's easy to see where the money has been spent when comparing active and passive safety systems.

The Lexus UX is the clear leader in passive safety with a total of eight airbags, versus and seven in the GLA and six in the X1.

Standard across all Lexus UX variants is the Lexus Safety System+ (LSS+) which assists the driver with Pre-Collision System (PCS), Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC) with Stop & Go function and Lane Tracing Assist (LTA) that keeps the UX centred within its lane.

Safety and convenience features Lexus UX vs rivals
Features Lexus UX M-B GLA BMW X1
Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) Y Y Y
Lane Keep Assist (LKA) with Steering Correction (SC) Y N Warning only
Active Cruise Control (ACC) Y N N
Blind Spot Detection Luxury/F Sport N N
Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA) Luxury/F Sport N N
Adaptive headlights Y N N
Tyre Pressure Monitoring (TPMS) Y Y Y
Camera 360-degree Reverse only Reverse only
Contactless boot opening  Y Y Y

The Luxury and F Sport variants further add Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), and Blind Spot Monitor (BSM).

Active safety systems also feature in the GLA but are limited to blind spot information system and autonomous emergency braking. The X1 does without any active safety systems. 

Lexus UX vs Mercedes-Benz GLA vs BMW X1 - which is best for you? 08

Additionally, the UX is equipped with an Adaptive High Beam System (AHS) which detects other vehicles and selectively illuminates the 11 LEDs in each headlight to optimise illumination of the road ahead.

Comfort features

The second-generation Mercedes-Benz GLA saw a much-needed boost in occupant space, putting it on par with the Lexus UX and BMW X1. 

Although there's no faulting the overall design and execution of the X1 and GLA, then UX does go further with its in-cabin convenience features. 

The UX is the only car in Qi wireless charging, as well as a 360-degree Panoramic View Monitor (PVM) for ease of parking and driving in tight urban spaces. 

Lexus UX vs Mercedes-Benz GLA vs BMW X1 - which is best for you? 09

On the inside, both the UX and X1 offer dual-zone climate control and rear air-con vents, the GLA offers single-zone climate control and no rear vents. 

The UX takes this a step further by offering individual temperature controls for the ventilated seats for the front passengers.

Lexus UX vs Mercedes-Benz GLA vs BMW X1 - which is best for you? 10

On par with the X1 (sDrive20i) and GLA, the Luxury and F Sport variants of the Lexus UX are also equipped with a contactless boot opening function that requires users to wave their feet under the rear bumper to open the powered rear boot.

Connectivity 

Connectivity is at the heart of any modern SUV. 

Lexus UX vs Mercedes-Benz GLA vs BMW X1 - which is best for you? 11

The GLA offers the proprietary MBUX infotainment system which beams important information through a 10.25-inch touchscreen, whilst the X1 boasts a BMW Navigation system with an 8.8-inch touchscreen. 

Lexus UX vs Mercedes-Benz GLA vs BMW X1 - which is best for you? 12

The Lexus UX features the Lexus Premium Audio infotainment system which beams info through a larger 10.3-inch infotainment screen. Both the UX and GLA offer Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity, the X1 is compatible only with Apple Carplay. 

Lexus UX infotainment versus rivals
Features Lexus UX M-B GLA BMW X1
Infotainment screen 10.3-inch 10.25-inch 8.8-inch
Audio speakers  8 (Luxury/F Sport) 7 6
Apple Carplay Y Y Y
Android Auto Y Y N
(Qi) Wireless charging Y N N
Head-Up Display (HUD) Y N N

Alongside, the UX is the only car in this company that offers a Head-Up Display (HUD) to project important information so you never have to take your eyes off the road.

The Lexus UX also offers a total of eight speakers - versus seven in the GLA and six in the X1. 

Conclusion

Despite being CBU Japan, the UX still offers a very good value proposition when compared to its German rivals. 

Lexus UX vs Mercedes-Benz GLA vs BMW X1 - which is best for you? 13

Where it lacks outright power, it makes up for it with superior comfort, agile and surefooted handling, and comprehensive active and passive safety systems. 

An extra bonus is the Lexus' stellar reputation for reliability and excellent aftersales service which makes all the difference when purchasing a premium SUV. 

Also read: Review: 2020 Lexus UX 200 2.0L CVT, compact SUV with BMW handling, Lexus refinement

Arvind

Writer

Arvind can't remember a time when he didn't wheel around a HotWheels car. This love evolved into an interest in Tamiya and RC cars and finally the real deal 1:1 scale stuff. Passion finally lead to formal training in Mechanical Engineering. Instead of the bigger picture, he obsesses with the final drive ratio and spring rates of cars and spends the weekends wondering why a Perodua Myvi is so fast.

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