2017 GLA-Class New Car Test Drive
The Mercedes-Benz GLA is an entry-luxury stylish crossover based on the CLA sedan that's quiet and refined. The 2016 GLA comes in GLA250 and high-performance AMG GLA45 versions.
Launched as a 2015 model, little has changed for the 2016 model year, apart from minor feature improvements: The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4MATIC and GLA250 get an updated infotainment system with a new 7-inch touchscreen display, revised seat cushions, a 180-degree rearview camera, and more standard features, including DYNAMIC SELECT.
The 2016 GLA45 AMG gets all that plus more power and revised gear ratios, increasing 0-60 mph acceleration performance from a quick 4.8 seconds to a very quick 4.3 seconds. DYNAMIC SELECT replaces the previous E/S/M button on the 2016 AMG GLA45, and the available Dynamic Plus Package includes a limited-slip front differential, AMG Adaptive Suspension, and a RACE mode.
GLA250 is front-wheel drive, while the GLA250 4MATIC is all-wheel drive. The high-performance AMG GLA45 is all-wheel drive. Mercedes-Benz 4MATIC provides usable off-road capabilities, helped by an 8-inch ground clearance.
Buyers get the utility of a crossover, without the stodgy demeanor that can make it seem too family-friendly. A prominent skid plate enhances the SUV look, while bold body sculpting imparts a more youthful character.
Well-built, quiet and refined, the GLA250 is comfortable as well as stylish. Easy to drive, it promises Mercedes-Benz quality on a smaller scale. Sitting tall on 18- or 19-inch wheels, the GLA250 is about as easy to park as a subcompact. On the down side, the GLA is not spacious, with a snug back seat and skimpy cargo space.
Beneath the GLA250 hood, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine develops 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A 7-speed dual-clutch is the sole transmission. The stop/start system will shut off the engine at stoplights, but the feature may be switched off. A GLA250 can accelerate to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds.
The 2016 GLA45 AMG engine gets a power boost, the turbocharged four-cylinder now generating 375 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque. The AMG GLA45 looks quite different in proportion because it's more than 3 inches lower to the ground than the GLA250, while riding on 19-inch wheels.
On the safety front, few cars in this class offer such optional features as Attention Assist drowsy-driver detection, radar-based Collision Prevention Assist with adaptive brake assist, and Distronic Plus active cruise control. Available Collision Prevention Assist Plus can brake automatically. Parktronic and Park Assist can steer into a parallel or perpendicular parking spot automatically. Blind-spot and lane-keeping assist also are available.
GLA250 ($32,500) comes standard with MB-Tex synthetic upholstery, dual-zone climate control, keyless start, and power front seats with memory, 18-inch alloy wheels, power liftgate. Options include leather, COMAND system, bi-xenon headlights, panoramic sunroof, KEYLESS-GO, multi-color ambient lighting, Sport Package.
GLA250 4MATIC ($34,500) adds all-wheel drive, Downhill Speed Regulation, an Offroad Drive Program, and Offroad Display.
GLA45 AMG 4MATIC ($49,580) comes with a more powerful engine, all-wheel drive, 19-inch wheels with low-profile performance tires, and sportier suspension tuning. Numerous standard and optional appearance items distinguish it from the GLA250, including aero body add-ons and contrasting seatbelts.
Eight airbags and Attention Assist are standard, but a rearview camera is an option.