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There is a newer version of this car Read the latest Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class review here

Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Estate interior, tech and comfort

2014 - 2020 (change model)
Comfort rating: 4 out of 54.0

Written by James Dennison Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 22 May 2020

  • Virtually identical to the old A-Class
  • Doesn’t feel as special as larger Mercs
  • Detail changes as part of 2017 facelift

The GLA’s dashboard and cabin design in general is virtually identical to those of the Mk3 A-Class and Mk1 CLA models. A slim eight-inch screen in the centre of the dashboard takes care of the infotainment system, sat-nav and other functions and is easily controlled via a rotary dial behind the gear lever.

Mercedes-Benz GLA interior

You do sit higher than you would in the regular A-Class although the driving position certainly isn’t as lofty as that of most other small SUVs.

Like other Mercedes models, automatic versions use a column-mounted shift stalk behind the steering wheel to put the car into gear rather than a lever on the transmission tunnel. An electronic parking brake rather than a conventional handbrake is used, allowing space to be freed up for cupholders and storage space for small items.

2017’s minor update ushered in some new chrome trim, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, along with some different seat fabrics.

Sporty modifications for AMG GLA 45

Body-hugging sports seats, plenty of red stitching and aluminium trim along with bright red seatbelts all combine to give the AMG GLA 45 sportier ambience than regular models.

The flat-bottomed steering wheel nods to Mercedes’ racing pedigree, while the metal gear shift paddles tucked behind it are a good size and easily accessible while the wheel’s turned.

As an AMG model the GLA 45 has an oblong gear selector on the transmission tunnel rather than the column shift stalk.

Otherwise it’s business as usual if you’ve been in any other A-Class family members, with the same instruments, although there’s the addition of a lap timer function within the display menu.

You can read more about the GLA 45’s interior on its own specific review here

Is it comfortable?

The Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class isn’t a particularly comfortable car compared to rivals. Its ride quality doesn’t ever seem to settle down, despite its 30mm-taller ride height, but it is more supple than the regular Mk3 A-Class hatchback.

On the plus side there’s very little road noise and once up to speed engine noise is very hushed too. The driving position is higher than the regular A-Class although it’s not particularly elevated compared with most other SUVs – the GLA is still a relatively low car overall.

Mercedes-Benz GLA driving, side, 2017

Its low roofline means front headroom is virtually identical to the A-Class hatchback. There’s a little bit more headroom in the rear, although especially tall passengers may still find their heads brushing against the ceiling.

Opting for the electrically adjustable seats allows an excellent range of adjustment for both driver and passenger.

As for the AMG GLA 45, it’s more comfortable than the AMG A 45 as the ride quality is a little more forgiving. It’s still firm, but not to the point that you’ll be left aching after long journeys.

The deep-sided seats are electrically adjustable to help establish a comfortable driving position. They’re comfy over a short journey but longer trips could leave your lower back slightly numb.

Worth saving up for? Plus equipment line

The Plus equipment line brings features such as keyless entry/ignition, electrically folding wing mirrors and adjustable front seats (with memory function), a panoramic sunroof, ambient lighting and LED headlamps with adaptive high beam.

We reckon the keyless tech is the only piece that’s absolutely necessary (purely for the extra convenience), as many drivers could do without the other luxuries. That said, if you frequently use the car at night or lend it out to friends or family, the LED headlamps and memory function seats are worth their weight in gold.

Conclusion: Could be essential, depending on your circumstances