When considering leasing or buying a compact crossover, this late entry is the new kid on the playground. But does the new Mercedes Benz GLA Class measure up? Or will it simply be the kid no one wants to play with? Let’s take a look with our Mercedes Benz GLA review.
The idea of a family hatchback which borders on SUV practicality has increased in demand in recent years. Although it wouldn’t strike you as the most obvious jump for the Mercedes brand to make, they are a latecomer to this nichey but popular segment. Once again Mercedes is squaring up to the likes of BMW and Audi in the form of the X1 and the Q3 respectively, who’ve been in this game a lot longer.
It’s quite easy to see that the starting point for the GLA was the A-Class hatchback, but after fiddling around with its suspension settings, stretching it taller and giving it a big old dose of steroids- we have before us this delightful crossover. It’s not as chunky as a Freelander but beefier than a Golf – its smack bang in the middle. Its big wheel arches particularly giving it a sleek but muscular look. It looks to be on the more fashionable side of the spectrum, clearly retaining its A-Class roots and never forgetting for a second that it’s of the prestigious Mercedes stock. This is especially true for the interior, which it has to be said is practically indistinguishable from other Mercedes cabins, but whoever said this was a bad thing? That being said the Mercedes Benz GLA Class probably boasts the classiest interior of this class. The build quality is fantastic and there’s plenty of storage to be found around the cabin which includes the standard infotainment system and chairs that can be 80mm higher than the A-Class to produce that commanding SUV-esque view. Rear visibility is somewhat restricted however so it’d be worth decking it out with a rear reversing camera. Another slight bugbear is that the middle seat in the back is unpractical to anyone but a child. Handy for a school run, but not so much for any situation that might entail carting 3 adults in the back. The standard boot space holds 481ltrs which trumps it’s Audi and BMW rivals by about 60ltrs and is also loaded with compartments and practical touches like the ski hatch.
Hitting the road, the new model actually proves to be a better drive than the A-Class of which it’s based on – trumping on handling due to better suspension compared to the hard-springed ride of the A-Class Hatch. Despite the softness of the suspension, it handles corners pretty well and with plenty of grip, but it could do with a smidgeon more feel to it. But in a general sense it’s a lot more confident as a drive then you’d think it ought to be. When heading off the tarmac and onto more ridiculous terrain, it can’t really match up to a Freelander on off road aptitude, but as its standard ride height and (which can be 15mm lower for sport or raised by 30mm for off-road specifications when buying) means it handles going off road decently well and when combined with the off road spec, it can actually go quite far making the GLA Class Mercedes Benz a pretty versatile vehicle.
A lot of this cars ability will depend on the model you buy. It’s important to note that the lower order petrol and diesel models such as the 136bhp 2.0ltr diesel have the choice of manual or automatic gear change and come as a 2WD, but as you get higher in the range only auto and 4WD is available. At the top of the range you’ve got the Mercedes GLA AMG model which is a ridiculous 4WD model with 355bhp to play with and a 0-62 of 4.8 seconds. It actually has faster acceleration than a Ferrari 512 or an M5 in this form if you can even imagine it. This is an incredibly fun drive and is where the potential of the GLA really comes together, so if you’re in the market for the high spec compact crossover than this is the one!
Its fuel efficient as well with the cheapest running costs in the class which are more like a supermini’s than a sub-SUV, pumping out 10-15% less CO2 and going 5-6 miles further on fuel. Some impressive engineering.
So what are the downsides to the GLA Class Mercedes Benz? The lowest spec engines can be a bit underwhelming to drive and it’s an expensive buy. As mentioned before, the visibility through the rear window isn’t fantastic and trying to fit an adult in the middle rear seat might be a tight one.
All in all, what have we got here? Mercedes arrival onto the compact crossover scene might be overdue, but this is a very competent car that more than matches up to the long running competition. For near the same price as the BMW X1 and the Audi Q3, it wins out on a classier cabin, bigger boot and much more economical running costs. For practicality and efficiency teamed with style and comfort, this one is certainly a winner and has certainly proved itself a contender in this category.
If you want to get hold of the versatile new Mercedes GLA then don’t hesitate to leave us a message on our contact us page or give us a call on 01903 538835 to find out about our Mercedes lease deals.
He believes that words can take on a transformative aspect and wants to help people make better decisions today.
His influences as a writer include Hunter S Thompson and Jack Kerouac, while among his interests outside writing are music, art, foreign films and football.
He’d one day like to own a Tesla, and still holds a candle for the Ford Capri.
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