Do you prefer the unapologetic aggression of the UX or the classy demeanor of the GLA?

Say what you will about Lexus’ penchant for swinging for the fences when it comes to the design of its cars. Some people like them while others don’t. But they draw attention, which, I suppose, is the whole point of it. You’ll likely feel the same about the Lexus UX, which hits dealerships here in the U.S. at the end of the year. When it does, the UX will compete against a number of crossovers, most notably the Mercedes GLA-Class. That said, there’s no better time than today to take a look at the design of both the UX and the GLA-Class to see which one is better.

Lexus UX vs Mercedes GLA-Class Front

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If you’re into a sporty crossover with a fierce design, the UX takes the cake. If you want a crossover with a more relaxed look, it’s the GLA-Class.

You can’t have two crossovers that look more different from each other than the Lexus UX and the Mercedes GLA-Class. That’s the fun with visual comparisons between two different models from two different automakers. You’re essentially trying to choose which one you like better.

I suppose that if you’re a fan of smash-mouth, aggressive styling, the UX is the clear winner. The shape of the headlights makes it look like it’s angry at the world for some reason. The massive spindle grille comes with a mesh pattern that’s far from subtle. The sheer size of the grille gives it dominion over the whole front section of the UX, but the headlights and the side vents aren’t drowned out, largely because they’re styled aggressively too.

The Mercedes GLA, on the other hand, looks far less imposing. If the UX has the facial expression of someone who’s perpetually angry, the GLA has the expression of someone who has a more chill outlook on life. That said, the GLA does carry a bit of sporty styling of its own. It’s just that no one part stands out; all the elements have to come together to give it the look that it does. it’s also worth noting that the absence of any sharp edges — the UX is full of them — gives the GLA a less imposing look.

This is where customer taste and preference comes in. If you’re into a sporty crossover with a fierce design, the UX takes the cake. If you want a crossover with a more relaxed look, it’s the GLA-Class.

Lexus UX vs Mercedes GLA-Class Side

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Both the Lexus UX and Mercedes GLA-Class are classified as crossovers, but if you look at both of them from the side, you’ll realize that the truth is being stretched here

Both the Lexus UX and Mercedes GLA-Class are classified as crossovers, but if you look at both of them from the side, you’ll realize that the truth is being stretched here. The UX, for example, looks more like an oversized wagon. As for the GLA-Class, look at it and tell me that it doesn’t look like a big hatchback.

Comparing the two also show how much shorter the GLA-Class is compared to the UX. The Mercedes crossover measures 173.9 inches long, three-plus inches shorter than the 177-inch long Lexus. From a design perspective, the UX looks, not surprisingly, aggressive from this angle. That’s partly due to how some of the design elements from the front section bleed into the side section of the crossover. The large cladding around the wheel arches also gives it a sporty look. Surprisingly, the body and character lines aren’t as visible on the UX as they are on the GLA-Class.

That’s one of the reasons why the side section of the GLA-Class stands out. You can clearly see the shoulder, belt, and character lines cutting across the crossover. The cladding on the arches aren’t that big, but that’s a good thing given that anything bigger would throw the entire design balance out of whack. The GLA’s wheels also deserve some love. They’re gorgeous.

Lexus UX vs Mercedes GLA-Class Rear

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This is where all concerns about the Lexus UX being overly sculpted comes in.

This is where all concerns about the Lexus UX being overly sculpted comes in. The strong fender flares on the Lexus gives the crossover’s rear section a confident look. The full-width taillights have become a fad in this segment, but I suppose Lexus gets credit for being one of the first to have them on a crossover in the market. The big issue here are the character lines that form a trapezoid right in the middle of the rear end. It’s completely unnecessary, taking away from what would have been a solid look. Another criticism, though one that I’m willing to overlook, is how overly sculpted the whole thing is. I’ll admit to that, but at least Lexus is staying true to its character. That trapezoid character line is just a complete eyesore.

Meanwhile, the Mercedes GLA-Class can take comfort knowing that there aren’t that many distinguishable features to its rear section. In fact, the taillights thoroughly dominate the section, with the only other distinctive feature that couldn’t be drowned out is the diffuser. It’s a good and simple design that doesn’t stand out.

Conclusion

2019 Lexus UX Exterior
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The UX is far more aggressive to the point that it becomes a little too edgy.

Lexus and Mercedes-Benz offer different design approaches with their respective crossovers. The UX is far more aggressive to the point that it becomes a little too edgy. The GLA-Class, on the other hand, was designed to look like a crossover you’d drive when you’re in the mood to chill. Both offer benefits to the eye of the beholder, but in my end, the UX has a lot more personality to it than the GLA-Class. It’s not a perfectly designed crossover, but its flaws can be ignored if you want a crossover that looks as if it wants to bite someone’s head off. That’s the kind of visual ferocity the UX has and the GLA-Class doesn’t.

References

2019 Lexus UX Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Lexus UX.

2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA.

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