3.8 out of 5 3.8
Parkers overall rating: 3.8 out of 5 3.8

Smallest SUV from Mercedes-Benz is an impressive performer

Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Review Video
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At a glance

New price £31,465 - £65,390
Lease from new From £355 p/m View lease deals
Used price £25,120 - £57,445
Fuel Economy 28.8 - 201.8 mpg
Road tax cost £155 - £490
Insurance group 23 - 42 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • High-tech but highly usable interior
  • Sleek, modernistic styling
  • Efficient engines

CONS

  • Entry-level models lack the flashy dashboard
  • Plug-in hybrid model not as smooth as rivals
  • Not as good to drive as the BMW X2

Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class rivals

Written by Richard Kilpatrick on

Mercedes-Benz has put its heart and soul into building an SUV for everyone. Ever since the original road-focused M-Class appeared on the scene in the mid-1990s, the company has continuously expanded its range to meet the needs of modern buyers. As well as the GLA we have here, there's the GLB, GLC, GLE and GLS – as well as the extreme G-Class – the daddy of them all.

But the GLA is the one that everyone wants. Relatively affordable, and boasting UK-friendly dimensions, this small family SUV, based on the excellent A-Class hatchback is the second-generation of the franchise.

Is the Mercedes-Benz GLA any good?

The original GLA was a little too closely based on its A-Class sibling, and was far from impressive overall, being beaten hollow by its rivals from Audi and BMW. Despite that, it went on to sell a million – and as a consequence, the second time around, you get the impression that Mercedes-Benz is taking it a whole lot more seriously.

It needs to be good, as the quality of the opposition is a whole lot higher than before. There's a slew of small SUVs it's up against, and even when sticking to the premium players, there's bags of choice. Top targets for Mercedes-Benz (and therefore, your shopping list too) are the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Volvo XC40. Other rivals worth looking at are the Lexus UX, Jaguar E-Pace and smaller Audi Q2 and BMW X2.

The second-generation GLA certainly looks more premium than its predecessor, dripping with details that tie it in to the larger GLC and GLE. Unlike many SUVs, it's sleek with lots of attention paid to its aerodynamics, and arguably looks more upmarket than the A-Class it's based upon.

What's it like inside?

Inside, you get the same digital-fest of an all-electronic dashboard and infotainment set-up you find in the A-Class. Which, in a nutshell, means (on more expensive models at least) a single panel that incorporates both systems, and as well as looking very slick, is also highly user-friendly and packed with features. You get the option of touchscreen control or driving the system via a central control located by the transmission selector, or via a set of buttons and pads on the steering wheel.

Although it's not massive inside, there is more space than the old GLA as well as the smaller Audi Q2 and BMW X2. Trims and materials vary significantly from model to model, but the overall air of quality is impressive, especially compared to its unimpressive predecessor.

What's it like to drive?

You're not spoiled for choice, with a front-wheel-drive 160hp 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol (badged GLA 200) as the lowliest model in the range. Of the diesels, you can choose from the GLA 200 d (front- or four-wheel drive) and GLA 220 d (four-wheel drive only) 2.0-litre diesels, which develop 150hp and 190hp respectively.

The most powerful model in the GLA range is the 225hp petrol-powered GLA 250, but the range is topped with the 218hp plug-in hybrid GLA 250 e, which is front-wheel drive and offers up to 37 miles of electric-only range.

What models and trims are available?

In typical Mercedes fashion, the GLA’s trim structure is confusingly named – if not all that difficult to understand overall. The base model is named Sport, and comes as standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, and a pair of seven-inch screens for dials and infotainment.

More money gets you the Sport Executive trim, which enlarges the central infotainment screen to 10.25-inches, and adds parking sensors and smartphone integration with wireless charging. AMG Line is priced identically to Sport Executive, but brings a sportier body kit, 19-inch alloy wheels, sports seats and privacy glass. AMG Line Executive again adds that larger central infotainment screen, parking sensors and smartphone integration.

Further up sits AMG Line Premium. It adds keyless entry, an upgraded sound system, augmented-reality navigation and two 10.25-inch screens for dials and infotainment. Premium Plus adds a panoramic sunroof, memory seats and adaptive LED headlights. There's an optional Driving Assistance package available, too.

Finally there is an Exclusive edition, which follows the AMG Line, Premium, Plus progression but is unique to the GLA 250 e hybrid model. If you want something more powerful, the Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 and GLA 45 models are available as well.

So, there are plenty of models to choose from – is it enough to see off the opposition?

Dealwatch special

Our leasing partner, ZenAuto is offering Mercedes A-Class from £355 per month. The usual terms and conditions apply.

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Learn more about the GLA on Mercedes-Benz's website

Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class rivals

Other Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class models: