Road Test

Mercedes-Benz GLA First Drive Review

  19 September,2014

Last year and this year has seen a flurry of activity from Mercedes-Benz and it will not stop which means there is further good news around corner in form of the SUV you see here. The GLA is a product that is eagerly awaited and we just could not help ourselves having had a go in one recently. This is not an India spec car but it is a taste of what to expect. Read on.

Q. How does it look?

In styling terms the GLA just like the A-Class and CLA gets full marks. It is a handsome crossover and has lots of presence. The A-Class styling elements are there all right but the raised ground clearance, wheel arches and added muscle gives it much more presence. It is still a sleek crossover though but the notion of a 'raised A-Class' is not there. In the flesh it looks compact with its 4417 mm length and specced with 19 inch alloys, to our eyes it just blows away its competition for looks.

Q. Indeed it looks good but what about the inside?

Get in and the feel good factor is well laid out here just like the A-Class. The funky air con vents, the sporty instruments and the generous use of aluminium across the dash means it is a special place to be. The design just like the A-Class represents the 'new Mercedes' i.e. sporty and youthful. Quality is fantastic as well.

The India spec cars would be well equipped with all sorts of features. The GLA has a boot space of 421 litres which can be increased to to 836 litres with the seats folded down. Of crucial impportance is that rear seat headroom is good and it feels more airy than the A-Class or for that matter the CLA.

Q. What about engines?

For India there will be the GLA 200 CDI that will be the sought after option. Making 136 bhp and 300 Nm of torque this engine is similar to the current A-Class diesel though the A-Class has less powerful version of it. While some markets get the six-speed manual transmission in India the GLA will only have the 7G-DCT dual clutch automatic transmission. Also most likely there will not be the 4MATIC variant offered in the standard GLA instead the GLA 45 AMG will come with that. We drove the GLA equipped with the petrol engine and it was a smooth unit plus the ride was also good. Our short drive happened in the GLA 250 4MATIC and it was fun driving the GLA which felt sure footed and its actually more practical than the A-Class for its ground clearance considering our roads.

Q. First Verdict?

Mercedes will not go the Audi way of offering a cheaper GLA with a manual gearbox and less equipment. All variants would be fully loaded and automatic only. We expect the GLA to be priced from Rs 27 lakh above the A-Class and below the upcoming new C-Class. On our short first drive we liked the styling and the interiors which are its biggest plus points. The GLA also drives well and we think it would become the Mercedes of choice considering it ticks so many boxes required from a luxury SUV! The Mercedes-Benz GLA would be launched shortly and bookings are on.