By on October 9, 2014

2015-Mercedes-Benz-GLA-45-AMG-Review-main_rdax_646x396

Following our discussion on the difference between a CUV, a wagon and a hatchback, (and the ever blurring line between them), we got a note from AutoGuide.com‘s Mike Schlee, via our Facebook page. According to Schlee, even the GLA lineup is split amongst the designations.

Schlee, who was at the GLA launch, claims that

The GLA 45 AMG is actually classified as a car (hatchback) due to it’s lowered height and lower sitting bumpers. Mercedes was not allowed to classify it official as a ‘truck’ in the USA.

But the taller GLA 250 is classified as a ‘truck’ and is allowed to have crossover things like rear and side tinted windows.

So, there you have it. I never knew that the ubiquitous “privacy glass” was a”truck” only item, but that can easily be solved with a $200 trip to the tint shop.

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56 Comments on “The Narcissism Of Small Differences, Part 2...”


  • avatar
    05lgt

    Sadly, in many states that trip to the tint shop is ticketable. The standard they test to would fail glass, so any modification is an infraction. (Tasting % transmission instead of Logarithmic means it fails)

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I think Subaru does the same thing. The Imprezza hatch is a car, while the XV is a CUV.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Just as silly as the Volvo XC70 being a truck, or a PT Cruiser.

    Such a thoroughly FUBAR system our government has created.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      +10000

    • 0 avatar
      alexndr333

      It’s so easy to criticize a government policy based on a couple of examples. They have to draw a line somewhere between these categories, and the cars right on the edge are always going to look similar. No one would have trouble calling an F-150 a truck and a Civic a hatchback. It’s when things get close to the line that the uneducated lob their oh-so-righteous complaints about government.

      • 0 avatar
        an innocent man

        >They have to draw a line somewhere…

        No, no they don’t.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          No kidding!

          There is absolutely zero point zero reason for any reasonable government to have even the remotest interest in what to “classify” a car as.

          Unreasonable governments do of course wish to create as complicated a mishmash of things as they cam, since doing so enables them to sell special favors to the highest bidder. Paid for by those less able to bid. But that is literally all the reason there will ever be for this kind of nonsense.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “There is absolutely zero point zero reason for any reasonable government to have even the remotest interest in what to “classify” a car as.”

            The reason for classifications?

            Tariffs, technical barriers to trade, emissions, CAFE ad nauseam.

            Vehicles get classified by government to fit rules set by government. Lobby groups, industry, greens, etcetera “help” government set the rules.

            Government minions like enforcing rules and car companies like exploiting or benefiting from favourable legislation.

            It amounts to a cluster fornication of epic proportions and lawyers and lobbyist’s make a sh1tload of money explaining those rules to everyone else.

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          That assumes it’s not good to differentiate between different types of vehicles. I disagree.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            You can still differentiate between vehicles if you wish. Forcing your arbitrary classification on others, and using that to justify preferentially treating some over others, is the problem.

      • 0 avatar
        James2

        It’s because we have categories that guzzlers like most trucks and SUVs are allowed to exist. Without such nonsense imagine how much smaller and lighter today’s F-150* or Silverado might be if “trucks” had to meet the same CAFE standard as cars.

        *the aluminum F-150 is still a porky beast

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          The size of trucks is not solely the fault of different classifications for cars & trucks, and frankly, it’s not the primary cause, either.

          Therefore, blaming the existence of vehicle classification is barking up the wrong tree.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Even without these goofy classifications, there would still be no business case for wagons in the US. No amount of crying or blame projection will change that.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        @SportyAccordy

        Irrelevant to the discussion at hand. Evidently there is some business case for wagons, because some companies still sell them. And they are coming back, slowly. Volvo reversed course, who’s next?

        And did a wagon run over your dog or something?

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Only wagon to really sell in numbers enough to keep making is the Jetta.

          All the Volvo wagons declined heavily from ~2005 and never recovered. Even the V50, which didn’t have a CUV replacement. Again, Mazda 6, VW Passat, Audi A4, BMW 5 series, Benz C Class, Taurus, people stopped caring about them this decade. Camry, Accord stopped nearly 20 years ago long before CUVs existed. So yes, it’s relevant… the XC70 succeeds while the V70 fails, because people want trucks, irrespective of the CAFE loopholes. What would be stupid would be for companies to build wagons instead of CUVs because some guy on the internet with a USED 3 series wagon demands them to. Bad business is stupid. Being a for profit company that refuses to build what people want is stupid. Stop proposing stupid ideas as good ones.

          Oh and I am a huge wagon fan- I would have got a Passat wagon instead of my wife’s Rabbit but the 2.0T engines have problems. I have no problems with wagons, just logic dodging wagon zealots. There is not 1 shred of evidence that people would buy wagons over CUVs if they were available…. every piece of data from the last ~20 years screams the opposite.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            What are you on, mate? I bought my BMW wagon brand new, and I bought a brand new Saab wagon before that one. I’d have already bought another *new* BMW wagon if I could get one without AWD. Pardon me for actually having principals and sticking by them rather than saying “oh well” and going with the flow.

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            Stop crying about wagons and bashing SUVs. It’s childish.

          • 0 avatar
            VW16v

            Sportyaccordy

            +10000

        • 0 avatar
          redav

          Wagons are perfectly pertinent to the discussion.

          These pages are full of complaints about how SUVs & CUVs being classified as trucks has led to the death of the wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      These different classifications exist because industry lobbies for the exemptions and reduced standards.

      Loopholes exist because industry and government negotiate with each other. In a democracy that is as business-oriented as this one, government doesn’t just impose these rules unilaterally and in a vacuum.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Pch101
        You just explained to more trivial aspect of vehicle discrimination or classification as you call it. I seems you try to sell misinformation or part information and not the truth.

        The real issue is the manufacturers must compete in a more competitive market. Why would a manufacturer want a level playing field? UNECE harmonisation is a good start to reduce and level the playing field.

        Competing fairly What is that????

  • avatar

    The real question is: Why on earth would you buy the far uglier and less useful CLA 45 AMG, when you can get the GLA 45 AMG?

    In other news…is it really surprising that, when you have a whole class of cars that purposefully straddles the line between car and SUV, you end up with silly classifications like this? The gov’t had to decide measurements at some point.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      The silly thing is why there are any categories at all. Why should so-called “trucks” be held to a lower standard?
      Either that, or treat them like real trucks; limit their speed, make them use full running lights, have the drivers keep logbooks, etc.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t disagree with you at all.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Having laxer standards fro trucks, hence making them relatively cheaper, is done so that the GOP can give similar handouts to their base, as the DNC can via EV tax credits.

        Like all else in these days, it’s nothing but sleaze, favoritism, corruption and similarly highminded pursuits of a free falling Dystopia.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Or, alternatively, why is it the government’s job to mandate fuel economy?

        People’s wallets do that for them when it’s car shopping time, to the extent they care about fuel economy.

        (And on “real” trucks … logbooks have to do with commercial trucking business, not the fact of Simply Being A Truck.

        Likewise running lights, and even speed limiters, neither of which have any relevance in a Light Duty truck.

        “Real truck” is a weird way to speak of “Heavy duty road tractor”, as if light duty trucks are purely pale imitations of those, rather than a first-class entity with an entirely different use structure.)

        • 0 avatar
          siuol11.2

          The “people speak with their wallets” trope sounds good if you are completely ignorant of recent history, but not otherwise.
          Since the oil shocks in the 70’s car companies have been promising fuel saving technologies but failing to deliver even the most basic ones (like active shutters and wheel diffusers). It was only when the government forced the car companies to adopt these standards that they actually started to deliver.
          If there was no market for cars with improved MPG figures, they wouldn’t be selling- yet now we have every car company competing on MPG specs. Tell me again how consumers would have been given the choices they now have without CAFE?

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        This assumes the only difference is fuel economy. But even so, why should trucks be held to a lower standard? As already said, to make them cheaper. Why does that matter? Because govt wants to lower the cost of doing business. The fact is that despite their popularity as personal vehicles, most trucks are still owned by businesses and used for that purpose.

        Given your second point about “real trucks,” I assume that you support treating semis differently than passenger vehicles. I certainly think that’s a good idea. Therefore, yes, a line has to be drawn somewhere. Do I like the current distinction? Not really, but I don’t agree that it would be better to not have the distinction.

        As far as comments about pandering, many have said the CAFE designations were created to benefit the domestic automakers since they rely on trucks so much more than the foreign companies. That makes much more sense than to claim it’s about political party or any other niche group.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        I think this is part of the idiocy of this whole thing. If the vehicle in question can be operated with a normal license why differentiate them?

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          As noted above, it’s the automakers who want the different classifications.

          The automakers are looking for ways to lower the bar. Since they can’t lower the bar for everything, they slice and dice the market so that the bar is lowered for at least some of the vehicles that they make.

          The automakers do not want a universal standard if that standard raises their costs. They would rather one less costly alternative than have every vehicle required to carry the highest compliance costs.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The real question is why you would buy either a CLA 45 or a GLA 45 at all when a Golf R will be cheaper, almost as capable, and, it looks like, about three times as refined.

      Wait, I know the answer to this. It’s so you can say you drive a Mercedes.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s a tough one. The AMG engine is certainly a bit of a masterpiece, so that’s a draw…but I think the R will be available with a stickshift? That would seal the deal.

        And, it’s less about owning a Mercedes-Benz, and more about paying $45-50k for a Golf.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        In my case it’s “why wouldn’t I just buy a Genesis or even a K900”?

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        And be scoffed at by the dealer and other snobs for driving “the cheap” Mercedes.

        “-because the money’s just a yardstick isn’t it. It’s the only common reference people have for making other people take them as seriously as they take themselves…”
        -William Gaddis

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I know it started out as a tax thing with trucks (SUVs) getting bigger deductions (because farm equipment) then cars. I know in the beginning I started buying Grand Cherokees because the government incentive (depreciation) was far greater then on any car I could have bought. I’m no longer in the same business so I don’t know if the incentive for trucks is still greater then cars, but I do know that that’s how a lot of this truck/car classification weirdness got it’s start

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      It’s still a thing – “Section 179 deduction”, (which means you get to depreciate the vehicle in a single year rather than over time) but that is completely separate from the classification as to whether a vehicle is a car or a truck.

      It used to be by gross weight, and there were actually a couple cars (Bentley and RR stick in my mind) that were heavy enough to qualify as well. Today the qualifications are:

      SUVs and Crossovers with GVWR over 6000lbs but less than 14000lbs you only get to Section 179 the first $25K. The rest goes over the next 4 years IIRC.

      You can take the full deduction on:
      Non-SUV vehicles with at least a six-foot bed not reachable from the passenger compartment. I.E big pickups, but watch that bed length qualifier!

      9-plus passenger vehicles – get the middle bench on your Suburban, not captain’s chairs.

      Cargo vans which the IRS has a specific description of which probably excludes the Nissan Van based on their pickup. Can’t have sheetmetal more than 30″ ahead of the base of the windshield.

      There are also Section 179 provisions for regular cars and SUV/CUVs that are used more than 50% in a business – they are limited to an $11060 first year deduction. Which always makes me wonder – why $11060?? Who got that exta $60 tacked on?!

      Oddly enough I just recently had to look all this up as I am helping my kid brother get a landscape business of the ground and will be doing his taxes for him.

  • avatar
    WaftableTorque

    Derek, please watch your inbox for my article submission.

    It started out as a commentary, and 1000 words and 2 days later, it’s probably a key insight into the crossover phenomenon that’s worth sharing with readers.

  • avatar
    turboprius

    That’s a hatchback. It has the ride height of a sedan. A CUV/SUV is a vehicle one steps into, not falls into like a sedan/hatchback. Ironically, these hatchbacks are the same height as their sedan counterparts, which is, too short.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      Exactly… a C/SUV is all about the seat being roughly at one’s standing butt-height so all that’s required for entry is a simple *lateral* ass-transfer, not a drop or climb. Also needed is a roofline tall enough to avoid clocking one’s head in the process.

      That POS in the photo ain’t no C/SUV.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    When it comes to small differences, how about the handling characteristics of different vehicles in the same class. Even though the Camry SE has metrics that are statistically indifferent from many other vehicles, many falsely claim there is some substantial difference in the steering between the brand that employees them and the Camry SE.

    Then there are the large differences in reliability between the Camry SE and Detroit brands which is falsely downplayed.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The vehicle classification systems globally are used as technical barriers.

    How hard would it be to have one set of regulations.

    This is also where the UNECE vehicle harmonisation regulations would be a good starting point in ridding the globe of these barriers.

    Tariffs like the chicken tax. The classification of a PT Cruiser as a truck are all primary examples of technical barriers and protection of certain parts of the vehicle market.

    The best way to curb fuel and CO2 is to use pricing as a tool. Buy and drive what you want, so long as you can put fuel into it.

    EVs and Hybrids are the same. If you want that feel good sensation every morning when you get out of bed and jump into your EV or Hybrid then pay the full cost.

    The same goes for ‘trucks’ – CUVs/SUVs and pickups if you want a vehicle that has poor FE in comparison to other forms of transport, then pay the cost.

    I don’t care what anyone drives. Just so long I don’t have to pay a cent or subsidise their lifestyle.

    This is what classification is about.

    Classification is a politically correct way of saying discrimination.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Derek, whatever TTAC has done it also takes longer to load. If it wasn’t broke why fix it????

    The vehicle classification systems globally are used as technical barriers. How hard would it be to have one set of regulations.

    This is also where the UNECE vehicle harmonisation regulations would be a good starting point in ridding the globe of these barriers.

    Tariffs like the chicken tax. The classification of a PT Cruiser as a truck are all primary examples of technical barriers and protection of certain parts of the vehicle market.

    The best way to curb fuel and CO2 is to use pricing as a tool. Buy and drive what you want, so long as you can put fuel into it.

    EVs and Hybrids are the same. If you want that feel good sensation every morning when you get out of bed and jump into your EV or Hybrid then pay the full cost.

    The same goes for ‘trucks’ – CUVs/SUVs and pickups if you want a vehicle that has poor FE in comparison to other forms of transport, then pay the cost.

    I don’t care what anyone drives. Just so long I don’t have to pay a cent or subsidise their lifestyle. This is what classification is about.

    Classification is a politically correct way of saying discrimination.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Attempt 3.

    The vehicle classification systems globally are used as technical barriers. How hard would it be to have one set of regulations.

    This is also where the UNECE vehicle harmonisation regulations would be a good starting point in ridding the globe of these barriers.

    Tariffs like the chicken tax. The classification of a PT Cruiser as a truck are all primary examples of technical barriers and protection of certain parts of the vehicle market.

    The best way to curb fuel and CO2 is to use pricing as a tool. Buy and drive what you want, so long as you can put fuel into it.

    EVs and Hybrids are the same. If you want that feel good sensation every morning when you get out of bed and jump into your EV or Hybrid then pay the full cost.

    The same goes for ‘trucks’ – CUVs/SUVs and pickups if you want a vehicle that has poor FE in comparison to other forms of transport, then pay the cost.

    I don’t care what anyone drives. Just so long I don’t have to pay a cent or subsidise their lifestyle. This is what classification is about.

    Classification is a politically correct way of saying discrimination.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Duplicate? Where?

    The vehicle classification systems globally are used as technical barriers. How hard would it be to have one set of regulations.

    This is also where the UNECE vehicle harmonisation regulations would be a good starting point in ridding the globe of these barriers.

    Tariffs like the chicken tax. The classification of a PT Cruiser as a truck are all primary examples of technical barriers and protection of certain parts of the vehicle market.

    The best way to curb fuel and CO2 is to use pricing as a tool. Buy and drive what you want, so long as you can put fuel into it.

    EVs and Hybrids are the same. If you want that feel good sensation every morning when you get out of bed and jump into your EV or Hybrid then pay the full cost.

    The same goes for ‘trucks’ – CUVs/SUVs and pickups if you want a vehicle that has poor FE in comparison to other forms of transport, then pay the cost.

    I don’t care what anyone drives. Just so long I don’t have to pay a cent or subsidise their lifestyle. This is what classification is about.

    Classification is a politically correct way of saying discrimination.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Fix this fucking site up!!!!

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Petty bickering about wagon/CUV and government is horrid/will save us from ourselves aside, here is a real world example:

    I bought a Volvo XC60 R-Design — luckily, TTAC readers cannot execute me over the internet for a CUV purchase! — and it’s a great car, impeded significantly by a NINE INCH ground clearance. If lowered by Volvo, it would lose it’s truck classification, and its admittedly so-so MPG figure would hurt Volvo’s CAFE numbers over here.

    I can tell you that it’s a much more entertaining vehicle after being lowered by 1.5 inches. Now it’s exactly the tall wagon with a bit of extra ground clearance I wanted/needed, and it goes like stink!

    And uses too much gas when having fun.

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