Mercedes Benz GLA Class Performance & Test Drive

Mercedes-Benz GLA Overview

The Mercedes-Benz GLA was launched for the 2014 model year as the company’s smallest crossover to date. Sharing the same platform with the A-Class, B-Class, and the CLA four-door coupe, it’s the SUV equivalent of the A-Class hatchback, which is why it’s wearing the “GLA” badge. Designed to compete with the BMW X1 and Audi Q3, which were launched earlier on the market, the GLA slots below the GLC in the lineup. Powered by four-cylinder engines exclusively, the crossover is available with both gasoline and diesel powerplants in Europe. In the U.S., however, only a gasoline mill is offered, alongside the beefed-up AMG version. The GLA received its mid-cycle update for the 2018 model year at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show.

Not surprisingly, the facelift is rather mild inside and out. Minor nips and tucks do little to change the vehicle’s overall appearance, while the cabin boasts new trim, upgraded technology, and some new features. Drivetrain-wise, the GLA carries over unchanged, which is a bit disappointing with a more powerful BMW X1 in showrooms. Of course, crossovers need to check more important boxes, and the GLA does that with the revised model, but will it be enough to give the X1 and Q3 a run for their money?  Mercedes-Benz GLA On road price starts from 30,63,123/-. Check for price details of Mercedes-Benz GLA in CarzPrice

Mercedes-Benz GLA Design

The GLA’s curvy but upright profile, sculptured body sides, tall 18- and 19-inch wheels, and exaggerated trim give it attitude that Mercedes expects to attract young, affluent first-time luxury buyers who want the capability of a crossover without the stodgy family appearance of a more traditional compact SUV. Fully 8 inches shorter than the CLA sedan that spawned it, the GLA is just 174 inches long–for parking purposes, a subcompact.

Mercedes-Benz describes the design philosophy as being an expression of clarity; it says the exterior sheetmetal offers “clear contours and smooth surfaces that communicate both high-tech sophistication as well as emotional appeal.” The aggressive sculpting gives the GLA more youthful and dynamic looks than any other car on sale today from the brand. The wheel arches are large, and the GLA leads off with a large Mercedes star on a rakish nose and upright front end. Fog lamps are integrated into the front bumper, and piped lighting in the swept-back headlights adds more detail to the front end. From any side angles, the creases and ripples–especially in the hood–seem sculpted perfectly to catch the light. They appear more dramatic from a distance than they are up close. In back, the large and protruding oblong tail lamps are split far apart to exaggerate the width of the vehicle, with a chrome handle that sweeps across. The bottom rear adopts an SUV look, accented with a prominent skid plate and sill guard.

Mercedes-Benz GLA Cabin

You will instantly appreciate the lay-out of the GLA’s dash. The well-spaced out controls on the centre console, attractive propeller-style air-vents, the silver knitted pattern that runs across, and the new instrument panel are all attractive. So is the build quality, which is what you’d expect from this brand. It would have been nice if the soft touch points were extended to the lower sections of the cabin too, like the lower dash, door panels and center console that use hard plastic instead. We especially liked the electric front seats which offer firm support and hold you in place thanks to the lateral support. This is further complimented by an electric lumbar adjustment, manually retractable thigh support, and lots of legroom. However, the raked A-pillar combined with a compact front windscreen and a high window line needs some getting used to. The firm rear seats are contoured for comfort and also have the right backrest angle with lots of headroom.

.Since the seats are also 60:40 foldable, passengers can flip them from within to access the boot on the go. However, knee-room will be tight for tall passengers, and the experience gets dampened even further due to the tall and raked window-line, the huge front seats, and the low-set bench with very little thigh support (no air-con vents either). But it surprisingly feels airy thanks to the panorama sunroof. On the paper, this car has 481-litres of boot space, but the spare wheel eats up into the useable area.Some of the features listed on the GLA 220d are push-button start, rain-sensing wipers, ambient lighting (with 12 colours), electric front seats, a manual air-con, and an eight-inch display linked to an infotainment system (with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto). Safety functions include six airbags, Attention Assist, ABS, ESP, hill start assist and downhill speed regulation.

Mercedes-Benz GLA Performance

Under the hood, the GLA carries over unchanged and uses the same four-cylinder engines as before. However, while it was believed that certain units will get power increases and improvements in the fuel economy department, Mercedes decided against it.In Europe, the gasoline lineup includes three powerplants, starting with 1.6-liter rated at 122 PS and 200 Nm of torque (120 horses and 148 pound-feet) in the base GLA180. The GLA200 gets the same unit, but rated at 156 PS and 250 Nm (154 horsepower and 184 pound-feet), while the GLA250 comes with a larger, 2.0-liter mill that generated 211 PS and 350 Nm (208 horses and 258 pound-feet).

Moving over to diesels, there’s the GLA180 CDI with the Renault-sourced 1.5-liter and the GLA200 CDI and GLA220 CDI with a 2.1-liter four-banger. The base model comes with 109 PS and 260 Nm (108 horsepower and 192 pound-feet) on tap, while the other two benefit from 136 PS and 300 Nm (134 horses and 221 pound-feet) and 170 PS and 350 Nm (168 horsepower and 258 pound-feet), respectively.In the U.S. customers will get the same GLA250 model with 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The same version will also be available with 4Matic all-wheel-drive. Buyers will also have access to the performance-oriented AMG GLA45 model, which cranks out 375 horsepower thanks to its AMG-tweaked, 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo. This engine also carries over unchanged.The six-speed manual remains standard on the base models in Europe, while the 7G-DCT dual-clutch automatic is optional on most trims and standard on the more expensive cars. The AMG variant continues to use the AMG Speedshift DCT gearbox.

Mercedes-Benz GLA Rideing

The modes on offer are Eco, Comfort, Sport, Individual and off-road.‘Eco’ is the mode that gives best efficiency and the system quickly upshifts to keep the revs low. Now, ‘Comfort’ offers perceivably more response than Eco. But in both, the same gear is mostly retained even when more performance is asked of it (unless the pedal is floored). Sport mode makes for some spirited performance since a lower gear is always held in anticipation, but the power delivery does tend to feel jerky at lower speeds.‘Individual’ mode allows preferences to be configured, or the system adapts to the driving style. Which finally brings us to the Off-Road mode that enhances traction on loose surfaces thanks to the AWD set-up and the optimised torque delivery. Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR) controls downhill descents and can be set for speeds between 4kmph and 18kmph.

The damping characteristics of the GLA 220d’s suspension is firm, and at lower speeds you will even feel the minor road irregularities within the cabin. The ride gets flatter as the car picks up speed. However, harsh bumps can be felt more prominently than desired. That said, there is no suspension noise whatsoever and not once did we scrape the underbelly thanks to the 171mm clearance.With each of the modes, the steering response is also altered. It is similar In Eco and Comfort modes, but ‘Sport’ mode made the steering heavier (not by a huge margin though). The steering isn’t particularly quick to respond and some more feedback of what’s happening at the wheels would have been appreciated since it holds the intended line even when pushed.

Mercedes-Benz GLA Safety

Safety features in the GLA include eight standard airbags, Attention Assist drowsy-driver detection, and a radar-based Collision Prevention Assist with Adaptive Brake Assist, which can curb collisions from 4 mph on up. With Distronic Plus active cruise control, the system is upgraded to Collision Prevention Assist Plus and can autonomously brake at up to 124 mph to help reduce the severity of a crash.Other safety extras include Blind Spot and Lane Keeping Assist, as well as Parktronic and Park Assist, for automatic parallel or perpendicular parking. Oddly, rear-view camera is an optional extra.

Standard features on every GLA 250 include 18-inch alloy wheels, a power liftgate, power front seats with memory, and on the 4Matic version, Downhill Speed Regulation, Offroad Drive Program, and Offroad Display. The list of options is extensive, but highlights include the COMAND vehicle information and infotainment system, bi-xenon headlamps, a panoramic sunroof, and that suite of electronic active-safety systems. View offers on Mercedes Cars from Mercedes dealers in Hyderabad at Autozhop

Mercedes-Benz GLA Price

Mercedes Benz Gla Class Ex-Showroom Price in India ranges from 30,63,123/- (GLA Class 200 d Style) to 36,73,055/- (GLA Class 220 d 4MATIC). Get best offers for Mercedes Benz Gla Class from Mercedes Benz Dealers in India

Mercedes-Benz GLA Verdict

It’s not at all surprising that this facelift left the GLA mostly unchanged, but it’s a bit disappointing to see that Mercedes didn’t upgrade the engines or the suspension. More importantly, it seems that the Germans didn’t even bother to fix the noisy diesel drivetrains or do something about the crossover’s lifeless handling most customers have been complaining about in the past. Coupled with the fact that the GLA falls behind its competitors when it comes to interior space and trunk capacity, and Merc’s high-rolling A-Class isn’t very appealing compared to the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. On the flipside, the nice interior and the fancy options make it a classy proposition in this small niche.

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