New Mercedes GLA is well worth waiting for

Front-wheel-drive compact premium SUV from Mercedes could tempt younger buyers

With sporty looks and powerful performance, the new front-wheel-drive compact premium SUV from Mercedes could tempt younger buyers. Video: Ian Beatty

A Mercedes-Benz GLA compact SUV, produced by Daimler AG, on display at the 65th Frankfurt International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany, late last year. Photograph: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Make: Mercedes-Benz

Model: GLA

Year: 2014

Fuel: Diesel

Date Reviewed: February 26, 2014

Wed, Feb 26, 2014, 08:59

   

If you wish to tackle some off-road terrain these models have an “off-road” mode including hill descent control. We took our test car across some rutted terrain and boulders where it proved capable, although we don’t envisage anyone in reality straying further from a beach car park or muddy field. If you require a fully fledged 4x4, Mercedes-Benz will happily sell you a G-Wagon or ML.

For the time being, to avail of the 4MATIC all-wheel drive system you will have to purchase the GLA 220 CDI 4MATIC (€45,475). Its 2.2-litre four-cylinder engine produces 170bhp and 350Nm of torque. From launch these two diesel models are joined by two petrol-powered alternatives, a GLA 200 and GLA 250. The former is equipped with a 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine with 156hp; the latter provides 211hp from its 2.0-litre engine.


Powerhouse model
The halo model of the range is undoubtedly the GLA 45 AMG; it’s a powerhouse that you can’t fail to be impressed by. Its 2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine produces a remarkable 360hp and 450Nm of torque, coupled with 4MATIC and an AMG speedshift seven-speed double clutch transmission, complete with launch control. There’s an agreeable snarl from the quad exhausts on initial acceleration; your ears are further treated to multiple pops and burbles from the exhausts on lift-off. With a price tag north of €70,000, however, we won’t see many AMG-powered GLA’s on Irish roads.

Mercedes-Benz has been working hard of late to lure younger buyers with new models and formats. It needs to shake off the sense that the brand is only for ageing boardroom executives and embrace the next generation of executives – the twenty- and thirtysomethings on six-figure salaries working for IT firms, for example.

The latest A-Class and CLA are clear indicators of the firm’s styling direction, and this new GLA further enhances its new modern range. What’s more, behind the wheel its well able to challenge the competition in this class.

Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 CDI: The Lowdown

Engine
2,143cc four-cylinder diesel; 136hp and 300Nm; six-speed manual transmission


Performance
0-100km/h 10.0 seconds, max speed 205 km/h


Economy
Combined 4.3l/100km (65.7mpg)


Emissions
(Motor Tax) 114g/km (€200)


Specifications
Standard features on Style model include LED daytime running lights, front and rear underbody protection panels, electronic closing tailgate, three-spoke multi-function steering wheel, colour infotainment display screen, drowsiness detection and collision prevention system.


Rivals
BMW X1 sDrive 18d SE 2.0 Diesel 143hp; Audi Q3 SE 2.0 Diesel 140hp; Range Rover Evoque eD4 2.2 Diesel 150hp


Price
€35,800

Our verdict
Impressive looks combined with an involved driving experience