All-new Mercedes-Benz GLA is so much better in so many ways
Let’s start with the elephant that’s just left this room. Mercedes miscued the styling of the old GLA’s design. Happily that’s now all addressed and then some, second time around. Not that the styling mattered — GLA was a success, with over a million units sold worldwide. Still, it had a tough task at hand with such talented rivals to contend with. From first impressions, this new one is well placed to do even better.
THE NEW GLA TOUCHES THE SPOT
Launched as one of the many arrows in Mercedes-Benz’ big SUV reveal a week or so ago, the new GLA is the second generation mud-plugging version of the A-Class. Mud-plugging as far as you’d dare to go with front-wheel drive only, that is. All-wheel drive is reserved for GLA’s bigger brothers, but as a spacious, stylish family taxi, this one certainly touches the spot.
Now far more balanced and prettier, GLA befits is A-class genes. Strutting a pair of power domes on the bonnet atop a single-louver grille with a central star, new GLA also gets all-round protective cladding to add to that rugged appeal. Bigger wheel arches also make space for larger 17 to 20 inch wheels, which further contributes to a 9 mm taller 143 mm ground clearance.
Step inside and there’s extra front headroom and rear legroom. That despite GLA being 15 mm shorter in overall length than it was before. It rides on a 30mm longer wheelbase and stands some 110 mm taller than its forebear. Load capacity is up too. Behind versatile optional new individual 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats with 140mm fore and aft and backrest rake adjustment. GLA also has a standard height-adjustable load floor.
STRONGER, THRIFTIER AND CLEVERER TOO
The 120 kW 250 NM GLA 220 gets a new 1.3-litre turbo petrol engine. It is up 5 kW on the old 1.6-litre unit. It comes with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic and is good for an 8.7-second 0-100km/h rush and a top speed of 210km/h. The 110 kW 350 Nm 1.95-litre turbodiesel GLA 200d has an 8-speed dual-clutch autobox. It accelerates to 100 km/h in 8.9 seconds and on to 205 km/h.
GLA comes standard with dominant free-standing dash comprising a pair of 7-inch or 10.25-inch touchscreens merged into a mighty single display atop five round climate vents. The gauges sit behind a multifunction steering wheel, to the right of a full MBUX infotainment unit. That packs Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and the rest. You can add augmented reality navigation with learning software and ‘Hey Mercedes’ voice control and a full colour head-up display too.
Well safety-stacked too, GLA’s driving assistance systems bring an optional Driving Assistance Package with a turning manoeuvre function, emergency corridor function, exit and pedestrian warnings. Add Active Distance, Evasive Steer, Lane Keeping, Blind Spot and Brake Assistants, Speed Limit with route-based traffic sign speed adjustment and rear impact pre-safe plus. And a carwash assistant!
IT IS A MERCEDES-BENZ AFTER ALL
The new Mercedes-Benz GLA comes in Style, Progressive and cool AMG Lines and there’s also the limited edition Edition 1 to be had too. The entry SUV arena, for the want of a better word, is a hugely competitive space. The GLA was always a strong competitor. Now the new one is just all that much better. And good enough to consider, even if you’d never considered going premium. It is a Mercedes-Benz, after all…
Mercedes-Benz GLA Pricing GLA 200 R674K GLA 200d R710K