Mercedes-Benz GLA Review

Andrew Brady

Written by

Andrew Brady

Mercedes-Benz GLA
Mercedes-Benz GLA

1/8

1 / 8

00/10
heycar rating
"Stylish crossover with superb interior"
  • Launched: 2020
  • Small SUV
  • Petrol, Diesel

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Quick overview

Pros

  • Shares engines and tech with the latest Mercedes-Benz A-Class
  • More practical than before
  • Hot A35 AMG model available

Cons

  • Most affordable models do without desirable features
  • More expensive than mainstream competitors
  • Not as practical as the Mercedes-Benz GLB

Overall verdict

On the inside

Driving

Cost to run

Prices and Specs

Overall verdict

"While the old Mercedes-Benz GLA was little more than an A-Class with a moderate increase in ride height, the new model is a genuinely desirable little premium crossover."

Mercedes GLA 2020 front left exterior

Mercedes-Benz says it’s more than 10cm higher than its predecessor yet 1.5cm shorter, giving it the kind of stance that crossover buyers will expect - giving it a better chance of taking on rivals like the Audi Q2, BMW X2 and Volvo XC40. It’s also a more stylish alternative to the closely-related Mercedes-Benz GLB, which has a boxy shape to accommodate seven seats.


While not as spacious as the GLB, the new GLA has got more head and legroom than before, which is good news for rear passengers in particular. You sit higher than in the old car, too, giving you a better view of the road ahead. Boot space is up to 421 litres.


The interior is typical Mercedes-Benz plushness, with contemporary turbine air vents and a twin-screen infotainment system (each measuring up to 10-inches on high-spec models; seven-inches on more affordable versions). It’s also available with the clever augmented-reality navigation system which debuted on the A-Class.


The GLA’s engine line-up will mirror that of the A-Class, with entry-level GLA 200 models powered by a 1.3-litre petrol engine paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. There are also diesel offerings, in the form of 2.0-litre GLA 200 and 220d models.


Hot hatch buyers will be catered for with the GLA 35 AMG, which produces 306PS and can cover 0-62mph in 5.1 seconds. An even faster GLA 45 S will follow, as will a plug-in hybrid model capable of covering short distances under electric power alone.


Hot models will come with 4Matic four-wheel drive as standard, while it’s offered as an option elsewhere in the range. This uses an electro-mechanical clutch to quickly send power to the axle that requires it the most, helping increase traction in challenging conditions. It can also be influenced by the Dynamic Select drive modes.


Few GLA buyers will wish to venture off-road, but all 4Matic models will come with what Mercedes-Benz describes as ‘the off-road engineering package’. This includes a special off-road light function on the multibeam LED headlights, which illuminates the cornering lights to provide a wider view in the dark at speeds up to around 30mph.


There’s also a hill-descent feature to keep things in check when dropping down steep and slippery slopes, while an off-road drive mode can tweak the engine’s power delivery as well as the intervention from the ABS brakes.


Alongside all-wheel drive, there’s a host of driving assist systems that have trickled down from pricer models in the Mercedes-Benz range. The Driving Assistance Package consists of things like active lane-keeping assist, automatic braking systems and even route-based speed adjustment when approaching bends, roundabouts, T-junctions or the end of a tailback.


There are Sport and AMG Line models to choose from, as well as various Executive, Premium and even Premium Plus variants of each - not to mention the AMG models. All are well equipped, although the higher-spec trim levels come with desirable features like the bigger infotainment and digital instrument cluster screens, as well as the augmented nav and the full suite of driver-assistance tech.


If you're looking for the older version, you need our Mercedes GLA (2014-2020) review. Considering going electric? Read our Mercedes EQA review.


Is the Mercedes-Benz GLA right for you?

If you want a fashionable crossover SUV, the GLA is likely to be a strong choice. It’s got infinite more appeal than its sloppy predecessor, and it’s more practical, too.


What’s the best Mercedes-Benz GLA model/engine to choose?

The most affordable A200 1.3-litre petrol is probably the best choice of the majority of buyers.

What other cars are similar to the Mercedes-Benz GLA?

Obvious rivals include the Volvo XC40, Audi Q2 and BMW X2. You could also look at the Range Rover Evoque, while the Mercedes-Benz GLB is a slightly more practical choice with seven seats.

On the inside

"While the previous GLA was essentially an A-Class on stilts, the new model feels more like a crossover SUV in the same ilk as the BMW X2. That said, it does share a lot with the A-Class - including a premium cabin and a clever twin-display infotainment setup. We rate the augmented navigation, too."

Mercedes GLA 2020 front interior

While not as spacious as the GLB, the new GLA has got more head and legroom than before, which is good news for rear passengers in particular. You sit higher than in the old car, too, giving you a better view of the road ahead. Boot space is up to 421 litres.


Driving

"From launch, the entry-level GLA 200 model will be powered by a 1.3-litre petrol engine and paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. There are also diesel offerings, in the form of 2.0-litre GLA 200 and 220d models."

 frontright exterior

Hot-hatch buyers will be catered for with the GLA 35 AMG, which produces 306PS and can cover 0-62mph in 5.1 seconds. An even faster GLA 45 S will follow, as will a plug-in hybrid model capable of covering short distances under electric power alone.

How much does it cost to run

"The diesels are, unsurprisingly, the most efficient. The GLA 200d returns up to 52.3mpg, while the GLA 220d is good for 50.4mpg under WLTP fuel economy tests. This drops to 49.6mpg with 4matic all-wheel drive."

Mercedes GLA 2020 backleft exterior

If most of your journeys are around town, you’d be better with a petrol. The GLA 200 returns up to 42.8mpg, while the GLA 250 can achieve 37.2mpg. The sporty GLA 35 officially returns 34.5mpg


The GLA will cost a flat rate of £150 a year in road tax after the first year, apart from those with a list price of more than £40,000 (including all the AMG derivatives). These will attract the premium car tax, which is an extra £325 a year for the following five years.

Prices, versions and specification

"The most affordable GLA is the Sport model, which is identified by its 18-inch alloy wheels, black cladding, dual exhaust system and LED headlights. It also features automatic climate control, keyless-go and two seven-inch media systems The seats are finished in Artico man-made leather and fabric. A 180-degree camera helps with reversing, while the Active Brake Assist can apply the brakes in emergency situations. Active Lane Keeping Assist will keep you in a lane, while the Attention Assist will tell you when to take a break."

Mercedes GLA 2020 rightside exterior

There’s a powered tailgate as standard, as well as a clever car wash function which can close all of the windows, turn off the windscreen wipers and fold in the exterior door mirrors.


The Sport Executive adds the Parking package, with an Active Parking Assist, front and rear parking sensors and assisted manoeuvring into and out of spaces. Electrically-folding door mirrors are standard, as well as an auto-dimming driver’s side and rear-view mirror. It also gets a 10.25-inch touchscreen media display as well as wireless phone charging and smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.


The AMG Line builds on the Sport trim level with the Off-Road Engineering package (on 4Matic models) as well as 19-inch AMG alloy wheels and AMG body styling. It also gets privacy glass, while the interior features sports seats and a three-spoke flat-bottomed steering wheel finished in nappa leather. The seats are finished in Artico man-made leather with microfibre and contrasting red stitching.


Like the Sport Executive, the AMG Line Executive adds the Parking package, with an Active Parking Assist, front and rear parking sensors and assisted manoeuvring into and out of spaces. Electrically-folding door mirrors are standard, as well as an auto-dimming driver’s side and rear-view mirror. It also gets a 10.25-inch touchscreen media display as well as wireless phone charging and smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.


The AMG Line Premium builds on this with keyless entry, a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and ambient lighting in no fewer than 64 colours. It also gets the desirable augmented navigation and a premium sound system, as well as illuminated front door sills.


There are more. The AMG Line Premium Plus builds on the AMG Line Premium with the Off-Road Engineering package, multibeam LED headlights with adaptive high-beam assist and a panoramic glass sunroof. There are electrically-adjustable front memory seats with lumbar support and Traffic Sign Assist.


The sporty Mercedes-AMG GLA 35 comes with the Dynamic Select drive modes (slippery, comfort, sport, sport+ and individual), as well as the Parking package (with a reversing camera and Active Parking Assist). It gets 19-inch AMG alloy wheels, AMG exterior styling and an exhaust system with an automatically controlled exhaust flap. Wider wheel arches, privacy glass and LED high-performance headlights complete the look.


Inside, the AMG GLA 35 comes with leather trim, the Mirror package and an AMG Performance steering wheel finished in nappa leather with cruise control and speed limiter. Dual-zone climate control is standard, as well as heated front sports seats and keyless-go.


There’s a seven-inch digital instrument cluster with bespoke AMG displays, Active Brake Assist and a 10.25-inch touchscreen media system. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard.


If the standard GLA 35 isn’t enough, the GLA 35 Premium adds the AMG Night package (with black exterior detailing), 20-inch AMG alloy wheels finished in matt black, keyless entry, ambient lighting with 64 colours, illuminated door sills and a rear armrest with two cup holders. There’s a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, MBUX augmented reality nav and a premium sound system.


The GLA 35 Premium Plus goes further with adaptive suspension, the AMG Aerodynamic package (including a spoiler for the ultimate in ‘look at me’ looks), bling 21-inch alloy wheels and multibeam LED headlights with Adaptive Highbeam Assist.


There’s a panoramic sunroof along with electric memory seats and Traffic Sign Assist. It also gets an even more upmarket Burmester surround sound system.


New Mercedes-Benz GLA prices start from £33,010 for the GLA 200 Sport, rising to £50,000 for the GLA 35 Premium Plus.


Mercedes-Benz GLA cars for sale on heycar

4,166
Number of cars available
£14K - £59K
Price bracket of these cars
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5 doors
Door options available

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