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Dealer delivered my wife's new GLA 250 last week. We drove a BMW X1, & 320i, an Audi Q3, and an Acura RDX.

The RDX didn't have a Panoramic roof, which my wife really wanted, so it was out. She also thought that the interior looked cheap which I didn't see, other than a couple of HVAC and radio knobs lifted from the Pilot. (Acura has to stop that if they want to be seen as something other than Honda plus).

Other than that; I thought the RDX was well executed, and the V6 was a nice alternative to the turbo 4 in the others.

The 320i was very nice, but my wife decided she wanted an SUV/Crossover, so it was out. But if I were looking for a sedan it would take some doing to knock the 3 series off my list.

The X1's cabin felt narrow and spartan, and the loud drone from the engine never let us forget it was an entry level vehicle. And the price got quickly out of hand when equipped how she wanted it. So it was out.

The Q3 had the nicest interior, but had to be flogged the hardest when getting up to speed. Which ruled it out for me. It also didn't offer Home link or memory seats. Odd deletions which I wouldn't think to look for, just assume they would be standard. I only thought to check after reading on an Audi forum that they weren't available.

That leaves the GLA which I love, probably for no rational reason. Mercedes styling lately hasn't really appealed to me, but I really like how the GLA looks. The interior is also kind of cool in a funky sort of way. The only real miss is the start stop function. It is the first car I've driven with that feature. I think Honda's mild hybrid makes a lot more sense now. It would be much smoother if an electric motor could power the vehicle up to about 10mph then hand off to the gas engine, rather than immediately putting a load on the engine right at startup.

In general I'm not really sold on turbo 4's. Even though they all boast about their torque, they still felt weak and none too smooth.
 

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I rented a 2014 Malibu a month ago that had that "start/stop" feature, and I tell ya... I was surprised at how brash it was. I remember seeing the Buick commercials about how seamless it was and unnoticeable. The Chevy, granted not a Buick, shook to a stop and you have to fight the urge to think the car is'nt dead (well, I guess it actually is). Any of us who've owned a POS in our day gets a little heart race out of the idea of a car stalling at a light lol.

The best part is when you are in traffic, stopped but waiting for oncoming cars to clear so you can make a quick left turn..... with the engine off of course. Very odd feeling to say the least.
 

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I rented a 2014 Malibu a month ago that had that "start/stop" feature, and I tell ya... I was surprised at how brash it was. I remember seeing the Buick commercials about how seamless it was and unnoticeable. The Chevy, granted not a Buick, shook to a stop and you have to fight the urge to think the car is'nt dead (well, I guess it actually is).
There are different types of "start/stop" systems:

1. Electric motor integrated with the engine. Smoothest, but most expensive and complex. Example: Toyota Prius.
2. Electric motor attached to the engine as a belt-driven accessory. Not as smooth, but cheaper. Example: Buick LaCrosse "eAssist".
3. Heavy-duty conventional starter. The least smooth, but the cheapest and simplest method. Example: BMW and just about everyone else with standard "start/stop" technology.
 

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Good call, yes this car was def #3 as there was no electric motor, the engine just stopped and the car knew which cylinder to fire when it came back on (the way I understood it at least).
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I rented a 2014 Malibu a month ago that had that "start/stop" feature, and I tell ya... I was surprised at how brash it was. I remember seeing the Buick commercials about how seamless it was and unnoticeable. The Chevy, granted not a Buick, shook to a stop and you have to fight the urge to think the car is'nt dead (well, I guess it actually is). Any of us who've owned a POS in our day gets a little heart race out of the idea of a car stalling at a light lol.

The best part is when you are in traffic, stopped but waiting for oncoming cars to clear so you can make a quick left turn..... with the engine off of course. Very odd feeling to say the least.
It's not too bad, but it is far from seamless. It can be turned off, but defaults to on every time the car is started. And yeah I've owned cars that had to be nursed at lights to keep them going.
 

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Good call, yes this car was def #3 as there was no electric motor, the engine just stopped and the car knew which cylinder to fire when it came back on (the way I understood it at least).
You're right about the first part. The 2008-2009 Malibu offered GM's eAssist "mild hybrid" system (the belt-operated variety). It was dropped for the 2010 model year, but returned in 2013. They ditched it again a year later for 2014 and switched to a "reinforced starter motor" for the start/stop system.

The second part, however, refers to a combustion-assisted restart system called i-stop from Mazda (not Chevrolet). This system is aware of where the engine stops. When it comes time to restart, it uses the starter motor and fires the cylinder that is on the compression stroke to get the engine back up to speed more quickly than would be possible with the starter motor alone.
 

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It's not too bad, but it is far from seamless. It can be turned off, but defaults to on every time the car is started. And yeah I've owned cars that had to be nursed at lights to keep them going.
BMW received enough complaints a few years ago that it began allowing dealers to reprogram the vehicle to retain the driver's start/stop preference after the ignition was turned off. Now, they come from the factory programmed that way.
 
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