Displayed for the first time in public at the Frankfurt Motor Show, the GLA is another attempt from Mercedes-Benz to make itself more appealing to young customers. Following the new A-Class and CLA, the GLA crossover is the third model based on the front-wheel-drive platform – although it is available with all-wheel-drive as well.
Mercedes’ first compact SUV is 4,417mm (173.9in) long, 1,804mm (71in) wide and 1,494mm (58.8in) tall, with the dimensions placing it just under the GLK-Class, which is 4,526mm (178.2in) long.
The GLA shows it’s a close relative of the A-Class and CLA, sporting a similar front end and creased profile. It is at the rear end where the GLA gets original, due to its oversized taillights. Overall, one could say the GLA looks like an inflated A-Class, with a slightly higher ground clearance.
The similarities are even more obvious on the inside, where the dashboard looks almost identical to the one from the A-Class/CLA models. The engines are also known from its siblings, with two gasoline units and two diesels to be initially available. A 155hp 1.6-liter and a 208hp 2.0-liter turbocharged petrol unit are used by the GLA 200 and GLA 250, respectively. Diesel fans have a 2.2-liter engine at their disposal, available in two states of tune: 135hp on the GLA 200 CDI and 168 hp on the GLA 220 CDI.
The most economical model is the GLA 200 CDI, which averages 4.3 l/100 km (54.7 mpg US/65.7 mpg UK). All models bar the GLA 200 are optionally available with a 4Matic AWD system, with the GLA being the first Mercedes-Benz SUV not equipped as standard with all-wheel-drive.
Order books open at the end of November, with the GLA expected to reach dealer showrooms in 2014.
By Dan Mihalascu