Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 vs Lexus CT Hybrid, Volkswagen GTI Commuter and What about a French Car Revival? [Ask Nathan]


In this edition of Ask Nathan:

  • Entry level luxury. MBZ GLA 250 vs. Lexus CT Hybrid?
  • GTI vs other VW Golfs as a commuter?
  • Will French cars return?


Today’s first question comes from a fan who wants the best entry-level luxury hatchback for her buck – outwardly.

Q: Hey Nathan!

I’m not a huge car review fan, but I love the Fast Lane Car! I’ve watched you for two years and your videos make me happy in so many ways, LOL!

Here’s my question. Which car makes a better statement? I love the Lexus CT200, my dealer says it’s now known as the Lexus CT Hybrid. Recently, I caught a glimpse of the Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 in my boyfriend’s condo’s parking lot. I love the way it looks. But which one is the best looking one for the burgeoning upwardly mobile?

If I’m careful, I can get either car for about thirty-five thousand, which is great. I need a hatchback because my mother is in a wheelchair and I own a big dog. I live in Las Vegas, so I do not need a four wheel drive crossover either.

What do you think Nathan? Which one makes the best statement?

Next time you and Roman hit Vegas, let me know! I have lots of friends who would love to meet you!




Lexus CT 200h F Sport

A: Wow, what a great email!

Both vehicles have strong points. If you need something that gets amazing mileage and makes a statement about you being environmentally sensitive, the Lexus CT Hybrid is the way to go. Otherwise, the Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 is the right choice. It has more room for your mom’s wheelchair, it’s more exciting to drive, it is more contemporary and it makes a bold statement.

By the way, I recommend getting the rear cargo tray (I think it’s a $110 option) for your dog and mom’s wheelchair, it helps.

Best of luck and I’ll be sure to pass your kind invitation on to Roman!


2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI

This next question comes from a fan who is looking at a few options from Volkswagen. One of them is a TFL favorite, the Volkswagen GTI.


Hey, Nathan!

I’m a huge fan of and the “ask nathan” column. I’m hoping I can pick your brain for some practical advice for some advice about the new VW Golf models…

I currently drive a 2013 Jetta SEL (auto trans, 2.5 L gas engine), which I leased at the time in anticipation of the new Golf MQB platform coming out for 2015. The end of the term is coming up and it is time to choose.

I am a light driver (under 8k miles a year) with a relatively short commute (under 10 miles each way, about half of which is bumper-to-number in the Philly ‘burbs). I do want some fun in my ride, but not fussy about creature comforts & fancy options. I also prefer a manual when I can get one.

Here’s are my questions: given my basic commuting needs, what level of Golf makes sense? It seems that the TDI might not be cost efficient given my short commute. I’m debating on the GTI (which I love dearly), but I am wondering if the base TSI has just enough fun to make the daily grind a little less dreary? Is the GTI overkill given my daily driving needs?

Bonus question: do you prefer the manuals or the automatics in the golf lineup? As I mentioned I prefer a manual when I can get it, but I read good things about the auto transmission in the TSI and the DSG in the TDI and GTI.

Thanks for your advice, and keep up the great work!


–Bob P

A: Thanks for that great email Bob!

Here’s the simple answer and it covers Roman and my opinion as well.

One of the best hatchbacks on the market is the Volkswagen GTI. Over the past decade or so, the Volkswagen GTI represents the best VW builds in this segment. We both love the manual transmission, which is one of the best in the class. We both agree that it’s worth the extra expense and that you will be happier with more power.

Check out TFL’s Derek Mau post on manual transmissions (Hope for Manual Transmissions ).

The DSG is pretty good, but (in my opinion) nothing takes the place of a well sorted manual transmission.

Thanks again!


Renault Alpine

This last email comes from a viewer who loves and wants French cars to return to the United States.

Q Nathan.

I hope you and the the FL guys are doing well. Seeing your show every evening is the highlight of my dreary day.

I love French cars, especially older Citroens. What do you think of French cars? Do you think French cars will come back here?

Mr. French

concours de lemons citroen

A: Great question!

I sincerely doubt that French brands will return here; however, one brand is (kind of) here right now. Renault has been a partner of Nissan for years and many of their designs, components and platforms are built to work with Nissans and Renaults.

As for me? One of my favorite cars of all time is the mid 1980’s Peugeot 205 GTi.


Speaking of Nissan…

Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.

From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.

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nathan adlen Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism – Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. His words, good humor and videos are enjoyed worldwide.