Mercedes-Benz GLA (2014 - )
Last updated 2 November 2016
Noise reported from AWD system of 40,000 mile 2014 GLA on 19-inch wheels from purchase used at 5 months old. Since purchased it suffered from a noise and vibration coming from the 4x4 system at low speeds...
The GLA is the Mercedes-Benz equivalent of the BMW X1, Range Rover Evoque and Audi Q3, a compact SUV designed to blend the practicality of a hatch with the option of four wheel drive. What's surprising is why, given the popularity of smaller 4x4s among premium car buyers, it has taken so long for the GLA to arrive.
It's no surprise to learn that it's based on the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. It uses the same platform and there are clearly big similarities in the styling, both inside and out. Despite being an SUV, it's not as big as you'd expect, in fact sitting behind the wheel it's a bit like a jacked-up A-Class - the driving position isn't overly elevated.
It does come with raised ground clearance and a more rugged appearance as we've come to expect from this style of SUV. As with the competition there are both two and four-wheel drive versions available but most people will opt for the standard two-wheel drive 200d - like the A-Class it's a front-wheel drive layout.
The engine line-up echoes the A-Class too, so there's a 200d and 220d 4Matic which are both powered by the familiar 2.1-litre diesel. It's a decent engine but not the most refined around and when combined with the 7G-DCT automatic gearbox it's a fairly lacklustre combination if you want performance. If you don't need diesel, there's a GLA 200 which is actually powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine.
The GLA is better suited to a more laid back driving style and it's the excellent ride quality that really shines through, especially with the standard SE suspension. It's quiet and comfortable at motorway speeds and good over long distances. The interior quality is top notch too so although the basic design is starting to look a little dated now - the stereo controls in particular - the quality of the finish is very good.