Just like so many manufacturers, Mercedes-Benz offers a variety of SUVs; this type of vehicle continues to have a large appeal for the buying public. The introduction to their SUV range is the GLA which recently arrived in second generation form; however there had been an interim facelift.
The GLA was first presented at the Frankfurt Motor Show back in 2013; a concept version had been shown in China earlier. Nissan in fact, badge engineered the first generation model in the USA and UK under the Infiniti brand, it carried the badge QX30. I am often asked as to what certain letters mean on a vehicle, this time round I do know; GLA is derived from the German word for an off road vehicle “Gelandewagen” and the A refers to the A-Class, there was many common items between the first generation model and the A-Class. The second generation GLA does not have the close family relationship with the A-Class. If there were any failings with the first generation model, in its latest guise it feels entirely different with the quality that we expect from a vehicle with the three pointed star. Yes, Mercedes-Benz market the GLA as a luxury SUV and that is certainly reflected in the price. Depending on the market that this Merc is sold, in there are various trim and versions offered. For example in N. I. Six trim lines are available delivering maximum customer choice, Sport; Sport Executive; AMG Line; AMG Line Executive; AMG Line Premium and AMG Line Premium Plus. The Sport version marketed in the ROI rides on twenty inch alloys which further adds to the looks of the vehicle.
Two diesels and two petrol engines are available, including GLA 200d; GLA 220d; GLA 200; and GLA 250 The GLA 200 features a 1.3 litre petrol engine, which can generate 163bhp and 250 Nm of torque and it emits 151 g/km of CO2. The petrol-powered GLA 250 uses a two litre four-cylinder engine capable of producing 224bhp and 350 Nm and emits 173 g/km of CO2. The GLA 200d which is available in either front-wheel or all-wheel-drive has a two litre four-cylinder diesel engine with an output of 150bhp and 320 Nm and 148g/km The version I tested had the two litre diesel power unit with 2WD. The GLA 220 d 4MATIC features a two litre diesel engine that can generate up to 190bhp and 400 Nm. Looking at transmissions, the GLA 200 uses a seven-speed DCT transmission, while the 250, 200d and 220d come as standard with an eight-speed transmission.
My test example was the AMG Line Premium Plus which adds a panoramic sunroof; memory seats; Traffic Sign Assist and Multibeam LED headlights with Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus. One extra item, the Driving Assistance package and which includes Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC; Parking Assist and navigation; Active Steer Assist; Active Speed Limit Assist; route-based speed adjustment when approaching bends and roundabouts. Evasive Steering Assist; Active Lane Keeping Assist; Active Blind Spot Assist; Active Brake Assist with turning manoeuvre and cross-traffic function; and PRE-SAFE PLUS.
“Mercedes me” is standard on all models, allowing the driver to access key vehicle information from a smartphone including Remote Vehicle Status (fuel level, coolant level, brake pad condition and more); Parked Vehicle Locator; Pre-Entry Climate Control; Remote Door Locking/Unlocking and Live Traffic information, which is available via the car’s on-board navigation. I found this very easy, using my iPhone, at a glance I had the information to hand and should the key become misplaced then hey presto- via the iPhone the GLA can be opened! Comfort levels have been improved over the first generation model, the ride is much better and this despite the chunky nineteen inch alloy wheels and handling is much better. Looking at dimensions, the new model is taller and shorter yet clever cabin engineering leaves more space for all. Prices start at just north of €40,000 (ROI) £33,000 (N.I.) for the Sport version. Performance is not exactly startling, but is adequate, however the economy is wallet pleasing and that will appeal to a lot of owners.
Yes, you could purchase an SUV from a variety of brands, but some will find the Mercedes-Benz badge just that little bit special.