Top Mercedes GLA Model Picks:
- Most sensible: Mercedes GLA 200 d 130PS SE
- Most fun: Mercedes-AMG GLA A45
- Don’t bother: Mercedes GLA 220 d 4MATIC AMG Line Premium Plus
- Must-have tech: Driver Assistance, Exclusive pack
For all the brand’s prestige, Mercedes’ small SUV doesn’t exactly inspire respect. ‘It’s essentially a jacked-up A-class compact hatch,’ says Auto Express of the GLA, before acknowledging the model has a ‘compelling blend of rugged looks and everyday usability.’
According to Honest John it’s no surprise it looks like a jacked-up A-class since ‘it uses the same platform.’ The same engines, too: a choice of two, 2.1-litre diesels and 1.6 and 2.0-litre petrols. ‘The lower-powered 134bhp diesel is our favourite thanks to its low running costs,’ says What Car?.
Most reviewers agree but worry the diesels are a little vocal. Not only that, when paired with the automatic gearbox they are, says Honest John, ‘a little lacklustre.’ Not so the 2.0-litre petrol which, says Auto Express, is ‘much more refined and with 208bhp can go from 0-62mph in 7.1 seconds.’ Too slow? Don’t forget the pants-on-fire Mercedes-AMG GLA A45 that can do 0-62mph in 4.4sec.
For Carbuyer, however, high performance isn’t the point. The GLA rides so smoothly over bumps and potholes that it’s ‘best to enjoy its impressive refinement and comfortable ride.’ It helps, too, that there’s ‘little wind or road noise to spoil long-distance drives.’ Meanwhile, when the going gets tough there’s always optional 4MATIC four-wheel drive which brings an ‘increase in traction for slippery surfaces’.
Inside, What Car? praises the GLA’s ‘eye-catching’ dashboard and ‘slick-feeling’ rotary controls but bemoans the fact that plastics ‘don’t feel as dense as you might hope.’ Auto Express is not impressed with the fact that a sat nav and a digital radio are options. Forget that, says Honest John: ‘interior quality is top notch.’
On the space front, Auto Express criticises the GLA’s low roofline which, it says, eats into rear headroom, while small windows and dark trim make it feel ‘claustrophobic’.
So not a ringing endorsement but the Mercedes badge still counts for something, the diesel engines are punchy and economical and deals are strong with 10% discounts typical. With a generous PCP deposit contribution a GLA could cost less than you think.
Mercedes GLA Rivals:
Boasting BMW’s fun driving characteristics, and a spacious and top-notch cabin the X1 is a compelling choice in the congested SUV market. High list and options prices are a given but that’s desirability for you.
Beats all-comers on build quality and its smooth engines are in a class of their own. It’s got a great image but the styling is bland, it’s not especially spacious and the options prices will make your eyes water.
A bit of an unknown quantity but making a name for striking design and sheer ambition. Still work in progress being so-so to drive, tight on cabin space and a resale risk but is well priced, comfortable and generally refined.
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With its smart and versatile interior, and refined, sophisticated driving manners the just-launched Tiguan is a good advertisement for the SUV breed spoiled only by some high prices, most notably the heartland 2.0-litre diesel in SE spec.
Best review: Carbuyer – Score 2.9/5
Previous Models: The Mercedes GLA was first released in 2014 and hasn’t had a major update yet.