The Mercedes GLA is based on the underpinnings of the A-Class and B-Class. While the previous model looked simply like an A-Class with a higher ride height this new GLA has matured into what looks more like a scaled down version of their excellent GLC SUV.
Its a five door five seat SUV with a choice of petrol or diesel power plants and now PHEV and either two wheel drive or four wheel drive options. Two trim levels are available “Progressive” and “AMG-Line”
This week I am road testing the e250 AMG line plug-in-hybrid version with the 8-speed auto gearbox. The GLA range starts at €41,215.
So has it any street cred?
Take a look at a GLC, shrink it slightly and you have the new GLA. Its a very smart looking SUV and its compact dimensions belie its roomy interior. I like the style and the neat AMG line additions such as those lovely alloys add a touch of sportiness to the look.
What is it like inside?
Slip inside the new GLA and the family resemblance continues. The dashboard is a model of ergonomic excellence with each switch and button placed well for both safety and ease of use. I found the elevated driving position to be just right and I like the fact that it gives such a commanding view of the road ahead.
The now familiar fully digital dashboard looks and functions well and of course the Mercedes MBUX multimedia system with always live voice activation is just excellent in its functionality.
Standard kit from the entry level “Progressive” model is very good and includes items such as LED lights, 18” alloys, Keyless start, reversing Camera, and electric tailgate and Artico seat trim. (man made leather look upholstery). The AMG line version on test boasts beautiful two-tone black and grey Artico upholstery, AMG body styling, diamond radiator grille, Sports seats, 19” AMG alloys and twin exhaust tailpipes.
Accommodation is really very good with lots of legroom both front and rear and a decent load area (435 litres seats up) with split fold rear seats.
What’s under the bonnet?
A 1.3 litre petrol engine and a 101bhp electric motor fed by a 10.6kWh battery. Combined power is a healthy 218 bhp giving this hybrid GLA pretty lively performance. I was pleasantly surprised by just how well it performed throughout the rev range.
A recharge from a home wall socket takes about 5 hours or at a public 7KW charger about an hour and 45 mins.
Real life range between charges is about 50 km which is about average for a PHEV right now. It proved easy on the fuel burning just 6.2 litres of petrol per 100km. Road tax is just €140.00 for the year so this Mercedes is pretty cheap to run.
What is it like to drive?
Mercedes have made the GLA a more interesting car to drive than its predecessor. It handles well whether on wet or dry roads and cruises happily all day at motorway speeds. Its reasonably quiet and refined too.
Overall then I found the new GLA to be quite an enjoyable car to drive. It really feels well put together and will appeal to both driver and passengers alike.
What's not to like here! A premium brand compact SUV that's ideal for a young family or maybe those who once drove a larger SUV but now want something more compact but still good to drive.
The PHEV version works well. The GLA e250 costs from €48,690, while my test car with the AMG line spec costs €53,533.