Mercedes-Benz GLA Review logo

Mercedes-Benz GLA Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2020
      Body type
      Crossover
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“Stylish crossover with superb interior”

Best bits

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

Not so great

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

Read by

Mercedes GLA 2020 front left exterior

Overall verdict

Mercedes GLA 2020 front interior

On the inside

 frontright exterior

Driving

Mercedes GLA 2020 backleft exterior

How much does it cost to run

Mercedes GLA 2020 rightside exterior

Prices, versions and specification

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.


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.

Learn more

Mercedes GLA 2020 front interior

On the inside

 frontright exterior

Driving

Mercedes GLA 2020 backleft exterior

How much does it cost to run

Mercedes GLA 2020 rightside exterior

Prices, versions and specification