2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
Based on Mercedes-Benz-crafted front-drive architecture, the GLA-Class provides its drivers an SUV that combines brand design and image into a newly compact package.
From the outside, the GLA-Class is a cross between a CLA, a GLK and the B-Class Electric Drive. It is surprisingly short on height, though there is ground clearance of around eight inches. The squatness is fine, but it just seems there are two vehicles attached to one—a CLA-type nose and a crossover/wagon rear. There are plenty of the latest Mercedes-Benz design elements present, but you might see some Asian influence, too. The front doors open wide and the lift gate is substantial.
There is more of the CLA’s influence inside of this SUV. The infotainment screen is tacked onto the fascia, while a basic set of instrumentation and a TFT screen are positioned in front of the driver. Switches are standard Mercedes-Benz switchgear.
There is seating for four adults. Leg room is quite adequate at all window seats, but the panoramic moonroof restricts headroom for anyone over six-feet tall. A tall driver could recline to compensate for space. Seating up front is a high-back bucket with good bolstering and plenty of power adjustments. Rear seats are also comfortable and bolstered. Cargo space is expandable from the basic 17.2 cubic feet behind the second row.
Under the hood of the GLA250, which was the model driven for this review, is the new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that is found on the CLA. With 208 horsepower, there is enough power to deal with this 3,384-pound small crossover. A seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission makes unobtrusive shifts toward lag-free gear changes. Mercedes-Benz’s 4Matic all-wheel-drive system is the only final driveline available on the GLA-Class.
When you drive it, you can feel its “Mercedes-ness.” It is quiet and smooth and rides with minimal pitching through the turns. Steering reacts well to sharp corners, while offering a tight on-center feel. Brakes are strong with sharp reaction from the pedals.
Actual fuel economy figures were not available at the time of the drive.
Pricing for the GLA250 will start at $33,300. If you want more performance, there is an AMG version – the GLA45 – with a 355-horsepower, turbocharged engine starting at $48,300. Mercedes-Benz arrives impressively to this new, smaller class of SUVs. Urbanites and other folks needing a small crossover will find the GLA-Class fits their lifestyle and indeed will find it a charming choice.