The Mercedes Benz GLA-Class is the entry-level Mercedes SUV that hopes to lure both hatchbacks owners and those who want to benefit from a raised-up SUV-ish driving position. The GLA is basically an A-Class on stilts and that is rather obvious the moment you lay your eyes on both the exterior and the interior of the GLA.
This used to be a problem with the previous model which was not all that SUV-ish, it looked and felt like a bloated hatchback while also not being on the same level with the Audi Q3, the BMW X1, and the Volvo XC40. The new GLA is a completely different story as it is miles better than the previous model and can easily hold its own in the company of the Q3, the X1, and the XC40.
The GLA is indeed a good car for those wanting to own a crossover/subcompact SUV with plenty of luxurious features and an all-around comfortable drive. The GLA offers the best interior out of all its competitor and the driving experience is also top-notch.
Reliability-wise, the GLA is average, but we ought to wait a few years before we can judge the GLA completely. Unlike the previous GLA, the new one is definitely worth its premium Mercedes badge because it offers a true 21st century Mercedes Benz experience.
Mercedes Benz GLA – The most luxurious subcompact/crossover SUV
In the luxury subcompact SUV segment, the GLA, the Audi Q3, the BMW X1, and the Volvo XC40 separate from the bunch as the most luxurious options. The GLA offers the most futuristic-looking interior design that can not be matched as far as pure aesthetics and concerned.
Quality-wise, the Q3 and the XC40 are more or less the same while the X1 is indeed better built, but it lacks as far as outright design is concerned. However, if you want your GLA to look like a true Mercedes, you will have to pay for it because only the high-spec models look as good as a Mercedes should.
The GLA also gets the lovely Mercedes MB UX infotainment system that is housed behind a large glass panel. Comfortable, electrically adjustable leather seats, high-end audio system, impressive ambient lighting, aluminum, black piano plastic, pan roof are all available for the GLA and they do make the car seem more special.
Where the GLA also beats out its competition is both the exterior design and the badge appeal. The GLA looks more sophisticated, the Q3 looks a bit more youthful, the X1 is getting on a bit now and the XC40 looks rather undecided.
Mercedes GLA – Value and powertrain options
The GLA 250 is the only regular Mercedes GLA model you can buy right now and it starts at $36,230 for the non-4MATIC version, but if you want 4MATIC, you will have to pay $2,000 more. The GLA 250 comes with an inline 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder that pushes out 221hp and 258lb-ft of torque.
This engine is also capable of returning mid 20s as far as MPG is concerned, but this number varies greatly depending on how you drive the car. This enables the GLA250 to reach 60mph from a standstill in around 6.6. seconds if equipped with 4MATIC and 6.8 without it.
If this is not enough for you and you want to spend big money on an entry-level Mercedes SUV, the GLA 35 offers an AMG-enhanced 2.0L turbo 4 that offers 302hp and 295lb-ft of torque. However, if you want the biggest and the baddest you have to go for the GLA 45 AMG which offers a handcrafted 2.0L 4-cylinder AMG engine with 382hp and 354lb-ft of torque.
The GLA 35 starts at $47,550 while the range-topping GLA 45 starts at a whopping $54,500. In essence, all GLA models offer a 2.0L engine and you should simply stick to the 4MATIC GLA 250 with an extra $20,000 in the pocket.
Mercedes GLA – Practicality and safety
Compared to its competitors, the GLA falls short when it comes to practicality as it offers the smallest trunk out of all other premium subcompact SUVs. As far as seating space is concerned, the GLA is also not something to write home about as it offers less space than all the other premium executive subcompact SUVs.
However, the differences here are not as substantial which means that this should not influence your final decision all that much. Safety-wise the GLA offers impressive results both in passive safety categories and active safety categories as all crash testing organizations awarded the GLA with a maximum 5-star rating.
It’s worth mentioning that many safety systems the GLA offers are optional which means that you will have to pay more money to be as safe as possible.
Is the Mercedes GLA sporty to drive?
The Mercedes GLA drives like any other premium executive subcompact SUV out there, but it does offer a better suspension setup when compared to its competitors. As far as spirited driving is concerned, the GLA is adequate in basic form while AMG models do take that up a notch.
However, spending upwards of $60,000 for a moderately optioned out GLA 45 AMG is rather silly as the GLA is the entry-level Mercedes. For a spot of context, a brand-new mid-size GLE 350 SUV starts at $55,700.
Is the Mercedes GLA a desirable car?
Any car that carries the three-pointed star ornament is desirable, no matter the specific segment. However, the GLA can’t match any other larger Mercedes SUV regarding desirability. It is after all a subcompact SUV that does not turn any heads.
Even so, the GLA is an extremely popular car because the crossover/small SUV segment is now the most popular car segment on the planet.
Is the Mercedes GLA worth it?
The Mercedes GLA is indeed worth it if you are after a small luxury SUV that can hold its own both in the city and on the highway. The GLA offers the best-looking interior design from its class and the ride quality of the GLA is also class-leading.
The GLA does cost more than some of its competitors when you dial up the options list, but the GLA is a Mercedes, and the XC40 is a Volvo, no matter how you look at it. The Q3 is arguably the closest competitor to the GLA because it is equally as luxurious and desirable, but badge loyalty is likely going to sway you one way or the other.