There's a lot to like about the GLA-Class, Mercedes' entry-level SUV. Most Mercedes models have an inherent and somewhat staid sense of maturity, but the GLA isn't afraid to let its hair down. It's good fun on a twisty road, and the hot-rod AMG version, called the GLA 45, offers raucous power with respectable fuel economy.
Still, there are drawbacks. The Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class has a cramped interior and the ride is firmer than we expect from a Mercedes, even allowing for its sporty pretensions. And while the GLA-Class is certainly affordable by Mercedes-Benz standards, it's still expensive compared to its rivals — one of which is the mechanically similar and smoother-riding Infiniti QX30. That said, the powerful AMG GLA 45 is a lot easier to forgive because it's so much fun.
Current Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
Mercedes-Benz offers the GLA-Class in three versions: GLA 250, GLA 250 4Matic and AMG GLA 45. Both of the 250 models come with a reasonable list of luxury equipment, including a power driver seat and liftgate. The GLA 45 gets bigger wheels and sportier tuning for the suspension, brakes and exhaust. As with other Mercedes models, there is a long, long list of options from which to choose, and equipment levels are limited only by your imagination and your bank balance.
Both GLA 250 models share a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that delivers 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, coupled to a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. The GLA 45 gets the same engine tuned for a significantly higher 375 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. The 4Matic and AMG models come with all-wheel drive, while the base GLA 250 uses front-wheel drive.
We timed a GLA 250 AMG to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, which is about average for the class. The engine feels sprightly, but it's hampered by sluggish response from the throttle and transmission. The AMG version is significantly quicker — while we haven't clocked it ourselves, Mercedes claims a zero-to-60-mph time of just 4.3 seconds. EPA fuel economy ratings are surprisingly good, ranging from 27 mpg combined for the front-wheel-drive GLA 250 down (but not too far down) to 25 mpg for the all-wheel-drive AMG version. Handling is good, too, with the GLA feeling more like a nimble hatchback than an SUV.
The Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class shares its interior hardware with other Mercedes models, so materials quality and switchgear feel are exemplary, as is the overall ambiance. Unfortunately, utility is in short supply. The GLA-Class skimps on leg- and headroom, and cargo capacity is less than you get in a Volkswagen Golf.
Used Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Models
The Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class was introduced for the 2015 model year. Surprisingly, 2016 brought a host of changes, including more standard equipment, an upgraded infotainment system, and more power and optional performance enhancements for the AMG version. 2017 shepherded in some tweaks to the instrument panel, the addition of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and a new Dinamica package for the AMG model. For 2018, there are some minor styling changes inside and out, along with a standard-fit rearview camera.
Read the most recent 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class page.