The smallest Mercedes SUV is the GLA. The GLA starts at around $36k and offers every bit of the Mercedes experience, even in the smallest model in the Mercedes SUV line-up.
The SUV trend is starting to take over the world, especially in the U.S., where most new cars sold are SUVs. Mercedes has managed to offer a competitive model in the smallest SUV segment. The newly released GLA is the second much-improved generation, and Mercedes managed to sell as many as 25k of these in the U.S. in 2020.
Regular GLA models
The GLA range kicks off with the $36k GLA 250, a front-wheel-drive small SUV powered by a 2.0-liter inline 4 turbocharged engine, offering 221hp and 258 lb-ft @ 1,800 rpm. This model manages to return a decent 25MPG US fuel efficiency, mated to an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission.
The next model in the range is the GLA 250 4MATIC which costs $38k. This model is offered with a four-wheel-drive system and the rest of the powertrain is the same as the aforementioned GLA250, with a slightly less favorable 24MPG US.
The GLA is offered with a variety of options and packages, the most popular of them being the AMG package that costs $2600 and offers a more stylish exterior and a better-looking interior with sports seats and a sport AMG steering wheel.
Some packages like the Premium package, which costs $1750, offer an upgraded multimedia system with larger displays, power-folding mirrors, hands-free and keyless access.
GLA AMG models
If you think that the regular GLA model is rather dull and slow, you can always opt for one of the sporty AMG versions that offer an abundance of sporty options and packages with an upgraded powertrain as well.
The AMG range kicks off with the GLA 35 AMG that costs $47,550 and is offered with an AMG-enhanced 2.0-liter inline 4 turbocharged engine mated with an 8-speed AMG Speedshift gearbox with 302hp and 295 lb-ft @ 3,000-4,000 rpm. The GLA 35 is able to sprint 0-60 in around 5 seconds with a decent 23MPG US.
The top-of-the-line GLA is the AMG 45 which costs around $54,500. This model is the all-singing, all-dancing GLA that manages to offer the highest level of performance, as far as small Mercedes SUVs are concerned. This model offers a handcrafted 2-liter turbocharged engine with 382hp and 354 lb-ft @ 4,750-5,000 rpm.
The 45 AMG also comes with the 8-speed Speedshift AMG gearbox and a 0-60 time of 4.3 seconds. This version of the GLA is also able to send as much as 100% of its power to the rear wheels alone to achieve the sportiest driving characteristics at a less-than-favorable 20 20MPG US.
The old GLA vs. the new GLA
In 2014, Mercedes decided to enter a new segment by offering the GLA. It was loosely based on the A-class hatchback and didn’t sell all that well as many people thought that the A-class and the first-gen GLA lacked the Mercedes spice.
But in 2020, Mercedes introduced the new GLA. Although it still shared its DNA with the A-class, this time Mercedes took some time in designing it to make it worthy of the three-pointed star. The new GLA shares almost nothing with the old one, and beats the old GLA in every aspect imaginable.
A pre-2016 GLA 250 can be bought for $15-$16k for a decent model, and the price is justifiable. But if you are able to reach deeper into your pockets for the new GLA, you are certainly going to get your money’s worth.
How reliable is the Mercedes GLA?
According to WhatCar, the 2014-2020 Mercedes GLA earns 3 out of 5 stars when it comes to reliability. This model has shown a fair amount of failures and problems, some of them tied to engine and airbag failures which could cost a decent amount to remedy.
The 2021 GLA just came out, and there aren’t many consumer reports to suggest that the reliability of the GLA is questionable. The predictions for the new GLA are a lot more favorable compared to the last-gen model.
Is the new GLA better than the Audi Q3?
The GLA and the Q3 are the two giants of the small SUV segment. Comparing these two is to be expected as most buyers should investigate them both. When it comes to styling, the Q3 wins because the Q3 looks like the top-of-the-line Audi Q8, whereas the GLA looks like the A-class on stilts.
The Audi Q3 starts at around $36k, but is a lot cheaper throughout the range than the GLA. The Mercedes offers a better, more refined transmission compared to the Q3. Both are offered with front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive variants.
The Q3 costs less, but the GLA is more fuel-efficient. As far as interiors go, both of these vehicles offer amazing interiors. So, the question about which one is better lies with the potential owner. It’s safe to say that both the GLA and Q3 should satisfy even the most demanding of customers.
What’s the best Mercedes SUV to buy?
Currently, Mercedes sells 9 different SUVs for every imaginable purpose. Choosing between such a wide variety of options might seem a bit daunting. But the clear winner of the entire Mercedes SUV line-up is the GLC SUV as it blends the best attributes of a car and a “real” SUV.
The 2021 GLC starts at around $43k and it offers a tempting middle ground between the smaller and the larger Mercedes SUVs. Furthermore, the GLC is also considered one of the most reliable Mercedes SUVs, just like the GLK that came before it.
The GLC is offered as a front-wheel-drive variant and a four-wheel-drive variant. It seems like a tempting family car as well. The GLC is fairly well equipped and can be acquired with most of the Mercedes options.
Which is smaller GLC or GLE?
When it comes to size, the GLC and GLE are relatively similar. The GLC is shorter and narrower than the GLE, but has a longer wheelbase which allows for more interior space. Overall, the GLC is slightly smaller in length, width, and height than the GLE. The GLC measures 184 inches long, 73 inches wide, and 64 inches tall while the GLE measures 193 inches long 76 inches wide, and 66.5 inches tall. Despite being slightly shorter overall, the larger wheelbase of the GLC makes it feel bigger inside than its exterior dimensions would suggest. Therefore if you’re looking for a slightly smaller but still spacious SUV from Mercedes-Benz then either the GLC or GLE could be a great option.
Is GLC the same size as X3?
The Mercedes-Benz GLC and the BMW X3 are two of the most popular small luxury SUVs on the market. The GLC is slightly smaller than the X3, measuring in at 183.3 inches compared to the X3’s 185.9 inches in length. There is also a difference in width between the two, with the GLC being 73 inches wide and the X3 being 74.7 inches wide. Although these differences may seem small, it does make a noticeable difference when it comes to interior room and cargo space.
The X3 offers 28.7 cubic feet of trunk space with both rows of seats up and 62.7 cubic feet with the second row folded flat, while the GLC measures 21.9 cu-ft with two rows of seats up and 59.3 cu-ft with the second row folded. This makes the GLC the smallest Mercedes SUV currently available, making it a great option for those who want a luxury SUV but don’t want to sacrifice too much interior room.
What is the best small Mercedes SUV year?
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA is widely considered to be the best small Mercedes SUV of the year. The GLA offers a great balance of size, power, and fuel economy. It is compact in size, yet has plenty of power, with available AMG® options that make it quite a powerful machine. Plus, its 2.0-liter turbocharged engine offers an impressive 27 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway for most configurations. The interior is also quite luxurious for its size and features leather upholstery and advanced tech features like Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility. All in all, if you’re looking for an affordable yet luxurious small SUV option from Mercedes-Benz, look no further than the 2021 GLA.