Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Photo Gallery
The GLA looks like someone blew a whole lot of air into the A-Class. It may not look like a proper SUV or a Crossover, but it does manage to look extremely aggressive and muscular - in a good way, that is.
The front is marked by very conspicuous ridges on the bonnet which lend a fair amount of manliness to the GLA.
18-inch wheels are standard across the model range and 19-inchers will be on the options-list.
The tail-lamps are unmistakably large and also, possibly, the main element to give a defined boldness to the car.
The A-Class is a fine performer. The GLA, even more so. I didn't expect much funnily foolhardy stuff from this car, but it does go around in a very keen way.
The GLA is 183mm from the ground - which, Mercedes says, is the most in its segment, and it's true. What it affords is wading through small streams and going over regular ridge set in the road at speed without worrying about the underbelly getting tortured. Even the suspension is set up in a way that's mostly comfortable and manages to handle potholes and undulations without much of a worry. It's only the largish dug-up portions that filter through the cabin.
The GLA comes with two engine options - 2.0 litre turbo petrol, and a 2.1 litre turbocharged diesel. The petrol engine makes about 183 horsepower and churns out 300Nm between 1200-1400rpm. It feels fairly potent and the mid-range is very strong, but it's when you're stringing the life out of it that the sound of pain starts making you back off the throttle. The diesel then - there's 134bhp and 300Nm available in comparison to the petrol, and though it makes for inferior reading, it translates into decent poke in real-world application.
For a cabin that's otherwise shaped beautifully, the steering wheel comes across as an unusually large decoration. A smaller-radius wheel would not only look good, but also feel better when driving. That said, the dash is quite smart and the seats are great to hold you well in place when you're being a hooligan around the bends. The GLA also comes with a lot of equipment. You get the usual array of safety features that include airbags (7 of them!), ASR, ABS, BAS, ESP and the works. There's also an iPad-type of an infotainment screen - it looks somewhat of an afterthought though.
There are a few irksome things about the GLA's interiors. While the rear seats are great to hold your torso in great comfort, the under-thigh support is lacking and that can be a bit discomforting on long journeys.