November 21, 2018

Car Spotter / Blogger / Reviewer

I recently had the opportunity to drive a Mercedes GLA200d AMG Line Premium Plus 4MATIC Automatic SUV for the weekend from my local Mercedes dealership.

 

It’s the first time I have been behind the wheel of the GLA, which came out in 2014, facelifted in 2017. It is the latest facelifted variant that I was given the chance to review. The updated version includes new lights, bumpers, increased range of engines, updated interior and new additional options.

Specification, selected options and pricing

The GLA200d I was given to drive produces 136bhp and 221lb-ft of torque from the 2.1L 4 cylinder turbo diesel engine. This one was fitted with the 7G-DCT dual clutch automatic gearbox and includes 4 wheel drive, denoted by the ‘4MATIC’ in the GLA’s specification. The alternative manual gearbox option is a six speed. The acceleration from the four cylinder diesel engine isn’t notably fierce or thrilling but it is everything you need for daily driving and provides enough grunt when necessary.

 

Claimed manufacturer mileage is 48.8MPG and official tested acceleration (0-62 mph) is 9.1 seconds. Top speed is claimed to be 124mph and the combined carbon emission figure for the GLA 200d MATIC Auto is 155g / km C02.

19″ titanium grey with high sheen finish 5 spoke AMG alloy wheels

 

The specification listing options for this particular GLA are as follows.

In addition to the ‘4MATIC’ listed in the name, the AMG Line Premium Plus refers to the trim and specification differences. The phrase ‘AMG Line’ includes the style additions including sporty trim, more aggressive AMG body kit, 19 inch alloys and contrast interior stitching. Suspension is lowered by 15mm and a multifunction sports steering wheel is added.

LED headlights and chrome look radiator grille complete the front of the GLA

Darkened rear window privacy glass comes as standard in addition to the reversing camera; displayed when reverse is selected through the 8″ multimedia screen. Roof rails, silver and chrome-look grille bars and Off-Road Comfort suspension are also fitted to the GLA as standard features.

 

Premium Plus costs an extra £2,995. The Premium Plus package includes Active Parking Assist, Memory Package, Garmin® MAP PILOT, Panoramic sliding roof, heated front seats, ambient lighting, KEYLESS-GO and mirror package.

 

The Exclusive package priced at £895 makes the interior even more high-class. With this, the dashboard and beltlines are finished in ARTICO man-made leather with contrasting topstitching. The heated sports seats are upholstered in leather. Comfort is also increased with seat heating and 4-way lumbar support.

Lava black leather heated sports seats, multifunction steering wheel and dashboard finished in ARTICO leather with contrast stitching

Garmin Map Pilot and the 8″ infotainment screen are fitted to all models. DAB, digital audio broadcasting radio which inreases the number of available radio stations and converts analogue  audio into a digital signal is a sizeable £420 optional extra and is only standard on the GLA45 AMG.

Infotainment system and view from the rear seats

Apple carplay, which allows apple device interface to be displayed and interacted with via the centrally mounted sceen is standard across the GLA range but Android Auto is only available as part of the COMAND online package.

 

COMAND Online is an added option costing £995. It combines all audio, phone and navigation functions. These features, in addition to video and internet can all be controlled from the new touchpad. Linguatronic voice operated control system and enhanced 3D maps form part of the package too.

 

Lave Black leather was the colour choice for the interior, included in the above packages whilst the exterior was finished in Iridium silver metallic at an additional list price of £595.

 

The wheel options are the 19″ AMG alloy wheels – 5-spoke design, painted titanium Grey with high sheen finish. For the AMG Line model these come at no additional cost.

 

On the road price to buy the G200d 4MATIC AMG Line  from new would be £32,750 plus options totalling £4,485 bringing the overall price to £37,235.

 

My experience, thoughts and review of the Mercedes GLA

 

The compact GLA is the smallest SUV in Mercedes’ lineup. It sits notably higher off the ground, has large wheel arches and wheel clearance to assist it’s raised profile. The GLA is quite a chunky and filled out vehicle.

 

Getting into the vehicle requires a small, conscious step up – more so than a hatchback or saloon due to the boosted height off the ground. Because of the heightened SUV profile, the view on the road is elevated and the driving position is higher than surrounding traffic. For some, the raised presence may give the extra feeling of safety and comfort.

 

The interior of the GLA is a great place to be. I have always found Mercedes’ infotainment system intuitive and easy to navigate. The scroll wheel is easy to use and the control buttons are well built, solid and firm to the touch.

 

The flat bottomed, multi function sports steering wheel is wrapped partly in leather and from here you can control features like voice command, sound volume and the car’s computer display between the dials. The buttons in the steering wheel are a breeze to use and allow the user to keep their hands on the wheel, less distracting than reaching for the central controls.

 

The lava black leather seats are stylish and comfortable; the seats provide a sporty yet supportive feel and can be adjusted in the door control panel. Memory seats allow for 3 different people to save their seat height and angle preferences. Upon selecting one of the three numbers, the seats will automatically assume the personally preferred seating position previously saved.

 

The centre console features dual central cupholder, hideaway storage and an armrest which opens upwards to reveal two USB slots and further storage. Five wavy, aluminium, adjustable air circulation vents, chunkier than in the Mercedes A class line the dashboard and provide the ventilation for the climate control.

 

The rear interior features seats similar to the driver and passenger and similar black carpets. Leg indentations and angled front seats allow that extra bit of leg room for rear passengers. During my time with the car I had three adult passengers in the back during the journey. Enough room for all three adults of average height.

GLA rear interior, more Lava black leather and black upholstery

Boot space is an ample 481 litres which is 40% more than in the Mercedes A-Class hatchback boot and is easily enough for everyday use, including storing shopping, suitcases and pushchairs. Total capacity with the seats down is 1,235 litres.

Sufficiently large boot space with automatic key fob open and close

Dynamic settings include Eco, Comfort, Sport, and Individual modes.

 

Eco keeps the engine at low revs and selects a higher gear sooner to save on fuel economy. Additionally start/stop automatically shuts off the engine when not needed, like at a red light to save fuel and reduce emissions. The engine instantly restarts when you’re ready to go.

 

Comfort allows comfortable suspension option, balanced between eco and sport options and is selected by default when the car is switched on.

 

Sport gets more responsive gear changes, firmer steering, longer RPM gear changes and unlike comfort, will start the vehicle in 1st gear and not second to utilise the RPM range.

 

Individual allows the driver to manually tailor a package of various setting adjustments to their liking.

 

The panoramic sliding roof, part of the Premium Plus package provides a touch of class and elegance in addition to allowing airflow and sunlight into the vehicle. This is a pleasant touch on a warm day. The automatic folding visor mechanism is controlled by a switch in front of the rear view mirror in the roof headliner and glides seamlessly open and closed, with the option of having the visor fully retracted or covering.

Panoramic sunroof closed

At the flick of a switch, panoramic sunroof slides seamlessly open

All things considered, I think the Mercedes GLA serves a great purpose for those looking for something more sizeable than a hatchback, gaining the advantages that a compact SUV has to offer. Under no illusions is the GLA class a fully capable off road vehicle, because there are more specialised vehicles out there but it will fit certain people’s needs very well. Individuals, couples and families who want the comfort, safety and technology a Mercedes has to offer whilst maintaining an elevated, practical vehicle with five doors and a spacious boot will benefit greatly.

 

It is easy to understand why the GLA will be a popular choice as a relatively affordable, compact SUV. Modern looks, striking design and body styling are all part of the pull. Pair this with a wide range of engines from the economic diesel engines through to the exhilarating GLA45 AMG.

 

The entry level GLA is around £26,000 which isn’t too dissimilar to the price of a hatchback yet relatively good value in comparison to larger SUV’s in the Mercedes range including the bigger brother GLC at £38,000 and the larger GLE which starts at £58,000.

 

I think that Mercedes have bridged the gap between hatchback and SUV well with the GLA SUV.

 

What are your thoughts on the Mercedes GLA SUV?

 

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