Mercedes-Benz: 2014 GLA 250 4Matic

Mercedes-Benz: 2014 GLA 250 4Matic

You have to give Mercedes-Benz credit for engineering derivatives off a platform. The New A-Class, the new B-Class, the new CLA-Class, and the new GLA-Class have all been created from the same platform, and all share similar engines and drive-trains.

Its rather clever really, because Mercedes-Benz have been able to deliver a compact city hatch, a compact but spacious people mover, a stunning compact four-door coupe and now a compact executive crossover.

Before the GLA-Class came along if you wanted a Mercedes-Benz SUV, you had the choice of the ginormous seven-seat GL-Class or the ML-Class, but not everybody needs the space and ability of these two, and there will be another smaller SUV stationed in the range soon which will sit above the GLA but underneath the ML.

GLA250_3_4fv1In fact, digressing momentarily, we are led to believe, if reports on other motoring websites are correct, that Mercedes-Benz is going to change its naming conventions on its SUV models next year.

It has been suggested by foreign motoring media that the refreshed ML-Class to be launched will be called GLE-Class, and the replacement for the GLK-Class SUV which has never been sold in New Zealand will be called the GLC-Class.

If this is the case, then Mercedes-Benz will rival BMW in having a competitor for the X1, X3 and X5, and having a range progression from a compact GLA, to a small GLC, and mid-size GLE makes perfect sense to us.

The GLA-Class is available as a diesel-powered front wheel drive or you can have two versions of a turbocharged 2-litre petrol all-wheel-drive variant, (more details here) but for this review, we spent a week at the wheel of the mid-range 2-litre direct-injection GLA250_alloy2turbocharged GLA 250 4Matic.

The GLA-Class is an unashamed competitor to BMW’s ageing X1 SAV, and the Audi Q3 crossover, but more importantly it also offers a point of difference to Benz customers which they have not had before.

While it’s no off roader, as we’ve established before (more details here)  its quite capable of being a soft roader, and it’s also got the commanding driving position that crossover owners have become accustomed to.

Spec:

Over and above the generous specification of the front-wheel-drive only turbo diesel GLA 200 CDI, the GLA 250 offers fully electric front seats with heating and memory function.

It also gets an upgrade to the 19 inch 5 twin-spoke alloy wheels in high gloss black that complement the Polar Silver metallic paint which was a $990 optional extra.

The car also receives 4Matic all-wheel-drive, an intelligent light system with bi-xenon headlamps, cornering lamps, integrated LED GLA250_3_4fpan4daytime running lights, headlamp cleaning system, and LED tail lights.

A panoramic glass sunroof is also standard fit, as it the passenger mirror which will dip down when reverse gear is selected

The GLA 250 is also fitted with the off-road engineering package which provides hill descent control and remaps the transmission shift points for safer driving on grass and dirt roads.

A further option fitted to our test vehicle was the $2190 Comand package, that provides Comand navigation with a 17.8cm colour TFT display, HDD navigation, 10GB music register, single disc GLA250_eng2CD/DVD player, AM/FM tuner, Linguatronic, bluetooth and internet connectivity and a 12 speakers Harman KArdon Logic 7 surround sound system.

Power:

This is no ordinary 2-litre four-cylinder unit. The 1991cc unit is a direct-injection turbocharged petrol engine powering the GLA 250 has 155kW of power and 350Nm of torque on hand, which is sent to the wheels through a 7-speed dual clutch automatic transmission which Benz refers to as the 7-G DCT.

Unlike the sporty CLA 250 Sport (review here) or the monstrously GLA250_int2powerful CLA 45 AMG (review here) which have a sporty exhaust note, the engine and exhaust GLA 250 is tuned for quiet cruising but with plenty of response on demand when necessary.

Day to day, its a very pleasant engine to live with, such as the car is too.

For most its working life on road the GLA 250 will simply use its front wheels to drive the car, the all-wheel-drive 4Matic system purely kicks in when additional traction or stability is required.

Mercedes-Benz quotes combined fuel consumption of 7L/100km and C02 emissions of 162g/km. We didn’t manage quite

GLA250_dash1The minimum fuel requirement is 95RON octane petroleum, which shouldn’t be an issue for most New Zealand service stations.

Inside:

The interior will be instantly familiar to people who have driven an A-Class or a CLA-Class recently, the set up of the centre console, dashboard, switch gear, HVAC controls, automatic transmission lever and indicator/windscreen wiper wand is exactly the same.

I do like the way Mercedes-Benz put their seating adjustment controls onto the door cards above the arm rests, it just seems far more logical to me, but the seat heating controls are on the central GLA250_heatedseatsconsole below the heating, ventilation and audio controls.

The Black Artico man-made leather upholstery looks smart and feels comfortable to sit on, and it contrasts nicely with the silver wave aluminium trim across the dashboard.

Those funky retro-looking circular air vents not only complement the design of the interior they also function well by distributing air conditioned comfort wherever it is required.

Long distance comfort is assured by the multifunction seats, and because our car was fitted with the Comand package, we had the added bonus of being able to enjoy the sound quality of the GLA250_3_4fpan1Harmon Kardon audio system.

Drive:

Overall it felt not dissimilar to the A 250 Sport 4Matic hatch which I drove last year, and thats not surprising really given that the GLA 250 only has a 30mm higher ground clearance, that its more hot-hatch orientated sibling.

Ride quality overall is very good, and the handling is very good, there is very little body roll through corners, but those low-profile run flat tyres on the 19-inch alloy rims don’t like driving over manhole covers or potholes, the resulting harshness is very quickly GLA250_3_4r2transferred through the cabin.

But the car is still an engaging drive, the seven-speed transmission is slick and precise and makes the most of the turbo engines 350 Newton metres of torque, deftly moving the GLA from standstill, leaving more powerful cars trailing behind it.

As I mentioned in the power section, the exhaust in this car is tuned for comfort as befitting the milieu of a compact crossover

Verdict:

Theres a reason why people are buying compact crossover models, its not just about traction, its not just about utility, its not just GLA250_int1about good vision from behind the wheel, it is about (as much as I hate to admit this), the ease and comfort of getting in and out of a vehicle, and the ease of loading up the boot, and the ease of parking it too.

Have you noticed recently the amount of young mums or grey haired people driving premium compact crossovers and small SUVs, its not just because they have young family members to cart about, or they need something thats able to accommodate bulky purchases from the garden centre or hardware store.

The low slung A 250 Sport and CLA 250 Sport (read review here) will no doubt have appeal to the young, and young at heart, but the GLA 250 will appeal to people such as myself with lower back issues or mobility issues, or young babies in arms, who find that the higher hip point of the car is a godsend when getting in and out of it.

Mums with young babies and toddlers will absolutely appreciate the load space being higher off the ground and easier to access thanks to the remote opening tailgate. Loading babies into a taller vehicle is also a lot kinder to your back.

Throw in its compact dimensions, (and that very useful reversing camera) and you have a winner on your hands.

Just as Holden is no longer referred to as the Commodore car company, Mercedes-Benz is no longer referred to as the conservative old-mans car company, it has embarked on bringing premium products to new market sectors, and the GLA class is proof of this.
Price $76,900

Price as tested including options $80,080

Pros

  • Excellent build quality
  • Great driving ability
  • Meets a glaring market need for Benz

Cons

  • Run flat tyres noisy over manhole covers

Words:

Pictures: Courtesy of Mercedes-Benz Australia Pacific Pty Limited

« | »

Let us know what you think

Loading Facebook Comments ...

Road Tests

Silver Sponsors

Car and SUV Team

Richard-Edwards-2016Richard Edwards

Managing editor

linkedinphotoDarren Cottingham

Motoring writer

robertbarry-headRobert Barry

Chief reporter

Ian-Ferguson-6Ian Ferguson

Advertising Consultant

debDeborah Baxter

Operations Manager

RSS Latest News from Autotalk

RSS Latest News from Dieseltalk

Read previous post:
Bruce-Jenkins-2014-1861
Top five return for Toyota Finance 86 championship

The Toyota Finance 86 Championship, returns to the track this weekend and the top five drivers from last season are...

Close