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Mercedes-Benz GLA

CROSS CLASS (some text hidden)

By Jonathan Crouch

The GLA is the entry point to Mercedes' SUV range, a compact Crossover now lightly updated to take on strengthened competition in this important segment. Jonathan Crouch takes a look at what's on offer.

Ten Second Reviewword count: 64

Imagine a Mercedes A-Class hatch with a little extra practicality and a more adventurous outlook and you'll have this car in mind, the brand's GLA compact Crossover. It's the brand's answer to more premium offerings in this growing fashion-conscious segment and has been engineered with the kind of thoroughness you'd expect from the Three-Pointed Star. Let's check out this model in lightly revised form.

Backgroundword count: 139

Mercedes calls this the enry point into its SUV line-up but in fact, the GLA isn't really any kind of proper SUV. Instead, it targets customers who like the idea of a Qashqai-class family-sized Crossover but want it with a slightly more prestigious badge. The car was launched in 2013 and specifically targets BMW's X1 and, even more directly, Audi's Q3. Under the skin, it's almost idenical to a Mercedes A-Class compact hatch, yet boasts the rugged-ised looks and slightly higher ride height that Crossover buyers like so much. With competition strengthening in this sector, Mercedes has boosted the GLA's appeal with minor exterior styling changes that include the availability of full-LED headlights. And embellishments to the cabin that offer a classier feel. More significantly, an offroad 'comfort' suspension package that raises the car by 30mm comes as standard.

Driving Experienceword count: 298

A car that essentially is a family hatchback is likely to have the dynamic aptitude of a family hatchback. A model that, in contrast, is designed as a proper RAV4 or CR-V-style compact SUV is never going to feel as sharp, no matter how compromised its Rubicon Trail pretensions might be. So if you like your driving, you'll give thanks that this GLA isn't setting out to rival RAVs - or indeed Audi Q5s, BMW X3s or Range Rover Evoques come to that. Mercedes has designed a C-Class-based GLC model to do that. That frees this car to be a proper Qashqai-class compact Crossover. Or, to put it another way, to offer pretty much all the handling brio you'd get from the A-Class hatch it's designed upon, with pretty much none of the downsides, these being mainly centred on an over-firmed ride here replaced by something much more supple. When it comes to drive traction and transmission, much will depend on engine choice. The cheapest GLA 180 derivative uses a 122bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine, but most will want this unit in the uprated 156hp state of tune you get with the GLA 200. Both variants offer the choice of auto or manual transmission. Should you wish for more performance than that, you might find yourself ending up in the only 4WD GLA, the GLA 250 4MATIC auto-only 2.0-litre derivative at the top of the range. With 211 braked horses to call upon, this flagship version has a useful extra turn of speed, dispatching the 62mph benchmark in 6.6 en route to 143mph, despite having the carry around the extra weight of 4WD hardwear that can send up to 50% of the engine's power to the rear wheels for improved cornering exit traction. There are now no diesel options.

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Pictures (high res disabled)

Statistics (subset of data only)

Min

Max

0-60 mph (s):

4.4

9.5

Combined mpg:

38.2

67.3

Extra urban mpg:

46.3

80.7

Height (mm):

1479

1494

Length (mm):

4417

4445

Max Speed (mph):

124

155

... and 6 other stats available

Scoring (subset of scores)

Category: Crossover or SUV 4x4s

Performance
70%
Handling
70%
Comfort
80%
Space
90%
Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

This is an excerpt from our full review.
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