- Chunky looks
- Comfortable ride
- Diesel offers low running costs
- Petrol offers high performance
- Few real advantages over regular A-Class
The Mercedes GLA is a small 4x4 based on the A-Class hatchback. It’s Mercedes’ first foray into the compact end of the 4x4 market and a rival for cars such as the Audi Q3, Volkswagen Tiguan and BMW X1.
Slightly longer and taller than the A-Class hatch it’s based on, the GLA is a relatively small car, especially in terms of height. In character it’s very much a ‘crossover’ – a car that mixes the dimensions of a hatchback with the bulkier appearance and raised driving position of an off-roader.
That said, you don’t sit a great deal higher up in the GLA than the regular A-Class and it feels broadly similar to drive.
Comfortable and refined
It has a bigger boot and a wider opening than the hatchback, with an extra 140 litres of space, although it’s not really a car you’d describe as being super-practical. Gains in passenger headroom over the hatchback are fairly negligible and the relatively low roof means it’s not dramatically easier to get in and out.
What the GLA is, however, is very comfortable and refined. It has a more forgiving ride quality than the A-Class hatchback, it’s very quiet on the road regardless of which engine is fitted, standard equipment levels are generous and for some buyers the chunkier styling may give it an extra layer of appeal.
One petrol and two diesel engines
There are three engines available, two diesels and one petrol. The most efficient GLA 200 CDI diesel model offers low CO2 emissions and claimed average fuel economy of more than 62mpg while the 2.0-litre petrol GLA 250 is a genuinely quick car that can get from 0-62mph in a little over seven seconds.
Entry-level diesel models are two-wheel drive but the rest of the range is fitted with Mercedes’ ‘4MATIC’ four-wheel drive system.
With a relatively low overall height, the GLA may not look like much of an off-roader but when fitted with the optional off-road pack (available from June 2014), which boosts the ground clearance and includes a downhill speed regulator function, it can tackle surprisingly tough terrain without getting into difficulty.
Two trim levels
There are two trim levels, the entry-level SE and the sportier looking AMG Line which also features firmer suspension for more nimble handling. Regardless of which trim you choose the GLA comes with plenty of kit as standard, including a reversing camera, digital radio and the same colour display screen fitted to the A-Class and CLA. The interior is virtually identical to the rest of the A-Class family.
At launch the GLA costs around £1,000 more than the A-Class hatchback model for model and for many buyers the GLA’s larger boot, taller body and more comfortable ride may make it the more desirable car of the two.
Click on the sections at the top of the page or next to the star ratings below to navigate through the Mercedes GLA review.
What owners say about this car
The boot is quite large, but rear space isn't what you'd expect from a small SUV. Read owner review
I am 6ft 4 and find the space of the cabin much better than the A class which we also... Read owner review
The size. Coming from a 3 door Golf having the ability to fit 4 adults comfortably without having to... Read owner review