Mercedes-Benz GLA (2014 – 2020) Review

Mercedes-Benz GLA (2014 – 2020) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
Premium looks and an upmarket feel are a big part of the Mercedes GLA’s appeal, but don’t let the SUV-influenced styling fool you: this is a car that is most at home cruising on the motorway, rather than venturing off-road.

+Available with two or four-wheel drive. Reasonable load space. Fine ride quality. High-quality interior finish.

-Lacklustre dual-clutch automatic. 220d is noisy and not as good as competitor diesel engines. Driving position not as high as other compact SUVs.

Insurance Groups are between 19–44
On average it achieves 80% of the official MPG figure

In 2014, the Mercedes A-Class which had arrived in 2012 was turned into an SUV, the Mercedes GLA. It addresses the firm ride of the A-Class with a more supple set-up, although this is no high-riding off-roader. You can get it with four-wheel drive, but front-drivers are more frugal. Rivals are drawn from a variety of corners, such as the Audi Q3, dynamically impressive BMW X1, and even the Range Rover Evoque. Read on for our Mercedes GLA review.

The Mercedes GLA is 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 took so long for the Mercedes GLA to arrive.

It’s no surprise to learn that it’s based on the Mercedes 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 Mercedes 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. And just like the competition, there are both two-wheel-drive and four-wheel drive versions available, although most used buyers will opt for the standard two-wheel-drive Mercedes GLA 200d. As with the Mercedes A-Class, it’s a front-wheel-drive layout.

The engine line-up echoes the Mercedes A-Class too, so there’s a Mercedes GLA 200d and Mercedes GLA 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 don’t need diesel, there’s a Mercedes GLA 200 which is actually powered by a 1.6-litre petrol engine.

The Mercedes 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, and 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.

Read our review of the latest Mercedes-Benz GLA here.

Ask Honest John

What's the best car for easy access to the back seats for my elderly parents?

"I have a 2018 Mercedes A-Class which I bought from new and with 43k miles on the clock. My elderly parents find it difficult to get in and out of the back as the sill is high and the door aperture not that wide. I like the interior quality of the Mercedes but am open to recommendations for a similar size car with solid finish. What would you suggest, and should I trade I. Or try to sell privately. My budget is probably around £20k. "
With a £20,000 budget we're assuming that you're looking for a used car and not a new one, in which case a good option if you like the Mercedes-Benz A-Class is the company's Mercedes GLA, which is a small A-Class based SUV. If you'd rather not go for an SUV, then a car with similarly Germanic quality, that's inexpensive to run but spacious enough to give your parents better space and access to the rear is the BMW 2-Series Active Tourer, which will be available second hand well within your budget and is a very enjoyable car to drive, as well as a practical one.
Answered by Craig Cheetham

What is the best SUV for transporting two large dogs?

"I currently have a Mercedes-Benz GLA, which I love no longer accommodates my needs. I'm now looking for an SUV with a large boot to fit my two large dogs in. It needs to have a good MPG (as far as SUVs go) and be petrol. I have a budget of £15,000. Do you have any recommendations? "
We'd recommend a Skoda Karoq. It's a very versatile family SUV with a big boot and versatile load area which makes it great for transporting pets. The 1.0-litre petrol engine has plenty of poke and is very efficient. Alternatively, consider a Hyundai Tucson or Kia Sportage.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What's the best used SUV for under £22,000?

"I own a 2011 Peugeot 3008 and I am very satisfied with its 1.6 diesel engine and manual gearbox. I’m going to be updating this year and am at present looking at three options that are all around three years of age: Honda CR-V, Peugeot 3008 or the Mercedes GLA. My budget is up to £22,000 Which one of these would you choose and why? I don’t do heaps of miles these days and we drive an SUV because of comfort and seating position. "
The old Mercedes-Benz GLA was style over substance so we'd recommend dismissing that from your search. While the Honda CR-V would be a very reliable choice, we'd pick the Peugeot 3008. It represents the best value for money out of your shortlist, and is one of our favourite SUVs with a superb interior and low running costs. As you don't cover many miles, we'd recommend looking for one with the 1.2-litre PureTech petrol engine.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What's the best used, premium SUV?

"I'm after a used, premium SUV. It needs to be automatic, of decent spec and petrol. I have £20,000 - £25,000 to spend and am looking at the Jaguar E-Pace, Mercedes-Benz GLA, Volvo XC40 and BMW X1. I'd welcome your thoughts, tips, suggestions and recommendations!"
The XC40 is the best compact SUV on sale right now. It was named the Honest John Car of the Year in 2019 and has been a huge success story for Volvo: For the latest Volvo XC40 deals, see:
Answered by Dan Powell
More Questions

What does a Mercedes-Benz GLA (2014 – 2020) cost?