This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class review.

3.7 out of 5 3.7
Parkers overall rating: 3.7 out of 5 3.7

Disappointing small SUV, about to be replaced

Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class (14-20) - rated 3.7 out of 5
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At a glance

New price £25,130 - £52,905
Used price £10,290 - £36,950
Used monthly cost £257 - £922
Fuel Economy 29.4 - 46.3 mpg
Road tax cost £20 - £475
Insurance group 19 - 42 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Chunky off-roader appearance
  • Diesel offers low running costs
  • Discontinued AMG offers high performance
  • Three-pointed star badge appeal

CONS

  • Few real advantages over A-Class
  • Lacklustre performance and ride quality
  • Not that capable off-road
  • Lacks rivals’ practicality

Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class rivals

Written by Lawrence Cheung on

Take a Mk3 A-Class hatchback, tweak the styling, give it a touch more height and you’re left with this – the Mercedes-Benz GLA. It’s a small hatchback-based crossover that’s the brand’s first foray into the compact end of the market, with rivals cars such as the Audi Q2 and BMW X2. Taller, more SUV-like rivals include the Volvo XC40, pricier versions of the MINI Countryman and less expensive models within the Range Rover Evoque line-up.

It’s not as tall as some of its rivals and even compared with the A-Class you don’t sit a great deal higher up in the GLA. It feels broadly similar to drive, too, which may place the Mercedes at a disadvantage for those buyers seeking something more obviously SUV-like.

How big is the Mercedes-Benz GLA?

Usefully, the GLA has a bigger boot and a wider opening than the A-Class, 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 its hatchback sibling are fairly negligible and the relatively low roof means it’s not particularly easier to get in and out of.

What the GLA is, however, is more comfortable and refined than the A-Class, albeit not anywhere near as cosseting as its rivals. It’s quiet on the road – although engine noise from the diesels ekes into the cabin.

How much equipment does the GLA have?

Among its premium rivals (think BMW X2 and Audi Q2), the GLA boasts a competitive amount of equipment. However, cheaper rivals – such as the Toyota C-HR – come with noticeably more kit for the same money.

Mercedes-Benz GLA interior

With the range slimmed down to just two trim levels (Urban Edition and AMG Line Edition), all Mercedes-Benz GLA models come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a reversing camera, keyless ignition, cruise control and a drive mode selector.  

All-petrol engine line-up

With the 200 d and 250 d diesel engines discontinued in April 2019, the Mercedes-Benz GLA is now available with three petrols – GLA 180, GLA 200 and GLA 250 4Matic. We reckon the punchier, latter two engines are the ones to go for as the entry-level petrol can feel strained at times. A seven-speed DCT automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are also available, with both coming as standard on the GLA 250 4Matic.

On the road, the GLA is more comfortable and refined than the A-Class, albeit not anywhere near as cosseting as its rivals. It’s quiet on the road – although engine noise from the diesels ekes into the cabin. Standard equipment levels are generous and, for some buyers, the chunkier styling may give it an extra layer of appeal.

Click here for more detailed engine and model specs

Few customisation options 

With just two trim levels and five exterior paint colours on offer, the GLA is perfect for those of an indecisive disposition – less so for those who enjoy customising a car until their heart is content. There is a selection of three alloy wheel designs, though, plus an extensive range of optional equipment and accessories including roof rails, a roof box, a bicycle rack and a ski and snowboard rack.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 2017 facelift

The 2017 makeover consisted of tweaked bumpers, revised grille designs, LED headlights and a few more chrome touches inside the GLA. The previously optional Off-Road Package became standard fit, giving the crossover 30mm of extra ride height. 

Mercedes-Benz GLA side, 2017

Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 performance version

Now discontinued, the GLA 45 provided proof that Mercedes-AMG was willing to lend its performance car building talents to just about any model in the manufacturer’s range, regardless of suitability. Despite the raised ride height and more top-heavy profile, the GLA 45 was treated to a 381hp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, good for 0-62mh in just 4.4 seconds.

It wasn’t quite as good to drive as the regular Mercedes-AMG A45, yet the performance on offer from what was essentially a raised-up family car, rarely failed to impress. And yet, it was still as usable as a regular GLA, especially since the firm ride didn’t feel a great deal different to the standard car’s.

You can read more about the GLA 45 with its own specific review here

Click through the next few pages to read everything you need to know about the Mercedes-Benz GLA including its practicality, comfort, how much it costs to run, what it's like to drive – and whether we recommend buying one.

Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class rivals

Other Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class (2014 - 2020) models: