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23 Sep 2020

What We Dislike
Firm ride
Engine sounds unwilling at high RPMs

The new Mercedes-Benz GLA offers bigger looks and a refreshing interior to keep the premium compact crossover competition on its toes.

The compact offerings from Mercedes-Benz have almost come into full effect here.

With six currently available, you can take your pick from either a hatchback, a sedan, an MPV or even a wagon.

While we wait for the official arrival of the seven-seater GLB in the coming months that'll bring the total to seven, here's the latest car to feed the big appetite for crossovers today. The new Mercedes-Benz GLA.

Going big

Mercedes certainly knows how to make a crossover look good and the GLA is no exception
The first generation GLA first came on sale here in 2014, which isn't that long of a life cycle.

But with the likes of Audi and BMW launching newer and bigger crossovers over the years, the outgoing car felt a little small amongst its segment peers. What was effectively an A-Class on stilts, a facelift just won't do.

So here's the all new GLA. As expected, it does share similar underpinnings with the current A-Class, but the GLA now looks like a different car altogether. Wider and taller, it better fits the dimensions of a crossover much better than before.

It is quite a looker too, even in its Progressive trim. With the large radiator grille and three-pointed star taking precedence up front, this GLA offers quite a lot of road presence, even without the usual option of AMG bits and bobs.

Fancy inside

Sharing a similar interior with the B-Class, the GLA too offers the two stunning 10.25-inch displays
Everyone's talking about the interiors of Mercedes and the GLA doesn't disappoint.

Get in, and you're greeted by the two freestanding 10.25-inch displays on the dash. If you've been looking at the other offerings from Mercedes, this will be a familiar spot.

The screens are powered by the Mercedes-Benz User Experience operating system, offering the ability for voice-activated commands. You'll rarely use it to handle vehicle or infotainment functions, though. Reaching out for buttons or the screen is still quicker and more effective.

Navigation is an option in the GLA, but it isn't a deal breaker with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.

Bigger space than before

A practical space for tall adults, with rear seats that can be adjusted for a more comfortable position
Additionally, there's nothing to deny the fact that the GLA works out to be a practical thing, thanks to added space.

Compared to the outgoing car, the new GLA sports a wheelbase that's 30mm longer than before, at 2,729mm.

Along with a bench that can slide and recline with a significant amount of headroom compared to the A-Class, those who find themselves at the rear will have nothing much to complain about.

Adding on to the practicality front is a boot that's 435 litres big. A significant upsize compared to the A-Class, but smaller than competitors like the Audi Q3 (530 litres) and the BMW X1 (505 litres).

Urban commuter

The GLA is easy to drive, but the ride quality may be too firm for some
Behind the wheel, the GLA offers a trait that is most often associated with the crossover bodystyle - visibility.

With a commandeering view of the road, the GLA is fairly easy to see out of, making a breeze out of tight situations.

While it scores high in terms of ease of driving, the GLA's firm dampers do tend to get in the way of occasional ruts and bumps on the road. This is despite the Progressive variant being fitted with thick 55-profile tyres.

Power comes from a 1.3-litre turbocharged engine that punches out a healthy 161bhp and 250Nm of torque mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Power is decent, but the 1.3-litre engine can get a little drony at higher revs
Yes, the GLA can deliver power if needed. But the audible protest out of the engine might suggest otherwise. It is best left below 4,000rpm where it provides enough shove to handle daily city traffic.

Our less than economical driving style during our time with the GLA netted a fuel consumption figure of 11.7km/L. Driven lightly, we reckon a 12-13km/L figure is possible.

Going home with the GLA

If you're looking for a desirable and good-looking crossover, the GLA is undoubtedly it
The GLA is a marked improvement over the outgoing model, and does the job of offering crossover looks without compromising on space and style.

At $179,888 (as of 22 September 2020) for the introductory Progressive variant that you see here, the GLA is a tad more compared to the BMW X1 ($176,888) and the Audi Q3 ($158,800).

But price aside, there is an undeniable appeal of the Merc crossover that isn't just good-looking, but also one that comes with a desirable badge. These two traits alone are what we think will draw many to the GLA.

Want a better look at the swanky interior of this Mercedes-Benz GLA? Catch it and many more besides in our video review here!

Car Information


: $298,888

Engine Type


4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap





120kW (161 bhp) / 5500 rpm



250 Nm / 4000 rpm



7G-DCT (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)



Top Speed



Fuel consumption



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