Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class
- Sporty handling and performance from base model
- stunning performance from AMG version
- premium interior materials
- ample safety features.
- Overly firm ride quality
- abundance of road and wind noise
- slow responses from the automatic transmission
- less cargo capacity than most rivals.
Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class for Sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class mixes hatchback and small crossover attributes to give you a sporting drive, a well-trimmed cabin and an elevated ride height. But its firm ride and limited practicality should give you pause.
Is the new 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class a compact crossover SUV or a high-riding four-door compact hatchback? Although officially known as the former, we won't correct you if you use the latter description as well, since the GLA certainly looks the part. However, as Americans typically see hatchbacks as down-market vehicles, Mercedes-Benz is marketing the GLA to compete in the growing small-crossover SUV segment in which models from Audi, BMW and Infiniti also belong.
These vehicles are actually smaller (and typically less expensive) than established crossovers like Mercedes' own GLK-Class. Yet the GLA has a proper upscale vibe with swoopy styling, a high-quality cabin and energetic performance. Measuring about 4.5 inches shorter in length and about 8 inches lower in height than the GLK, the GLA is obviously better suited to the tighter parking spots and garages of big cities.
As the GLA shares its basic platform and running gear with the CLA sedan, it similarly offers 208 horsepower in standard form and 355 spirited horses in fiery AMG form. The all-wheel-drive GLA250 4Matic and GLA 45 AMG arrive first, with the front-wheel-drive GLA250 to follow in early 2015. The GLA also mirrors the junior sedan inside as well, with three vents sitting atop the center console, just below a freestanding navigation display.
Unfortunately, the GLA also picks up many of the CLA's bad habits, including an overly firm ride, an unrefined transmission that stumbles in traffic and a noticeable amount of road and wind noise. The cargo area is also on the small side, with just 43 cubic feet of space available with the rear seats folded down. If you're looking to get an SUV for its practicality, the GLA is not the best choice.
Truth be told, though, none of the GLA's competitors, including the 2015 Audi Q3, 2015 BMW X1, 2015 Infiniti QX50 and slightly bigger 2015 Lexus NX 200t, are practicality champs. And among this group, the GLA will provide the elevated seating position, premium interior and premium ownership experience that you're likely looking for. The wild AMG version is also a standout. But the GLA's comfort and refinement issues mean that a long test-drive in a variety of driving conditions is paramount.
2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class configurations
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class is available in GLA250, GLA250 4Matic and GLA 45 AMG trim levels.
The GLA250 comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, foglamps, roof rails, a power liftgate, automatic wipers, cruise control, 10-way power front seats (with four-way power lumbar), driver memory settings, MBTex premium vinyl upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a 60/40-split-folding rear seat (with pass-through). Electronics features include a 5.8-inch central display, the COMAND interface, mbrace2 telematics/smartphone integration, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a sound system with a CD player, HD radio and a USB audio input. Hill-descent control and an off-road transmission mode further burnish its sport-activity credentials.
The available Premium package features auto-dimming mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, a compass, heated seats and a Harman Kardon audio system with satellite radio and an iPod interface. The Multimedia package adds a navigation system, a larger 7-inch central display, voice controls, a rearview camera and a 10GB music server. The Sport package adds 19-inch wheels, a more aggressive-looking front fascia and side sills and upgraded brakes. The Interior package features leather seating, front sport seats, a black headliner and MBTex dash trim. Lastly, the Driver Assistance package includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and blind spot warning.
Stand-alone option highlights include bi-xenon headlamps, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, an illuminated grille emblem, parking sensors combined with an automated parking system, keyless ignition and entry, heated front seats, wood interior trim, a lower-cost navigation system (integrated into the standard 5.8-inch display), an iPod/media player interface, satellite radio and a Harman Kardon premium sound system.
A limited number (750) of the GLA250 will be available with the "Edition 1" package, which includes white paint, a two-tone brown leather/cloth interior, bi-xenon headlamps, gloss black 19-inch wheels and body trim, a panoramic sunroof, blind spot assist, the illuminated grille emblem, aluminum interior accents, and the Premium, Multimedia and Interior packages.
The high-performance GLA 45 AMG includes the GLA250's standard features and adds a more powerful engine, unique 19-inch wheels, sport-tuned suspension and steering, upgraded brakes, bi-xenon headlights and styling tweaks that include a more aggressive front fascia and lower body metallic accents. Options essentially mirror those of the GLA250, but also include Recaro seats, an upgraded steering wheel with suedelike trim, a performance exhaust, a large rear spoiler and an Aerodynamics package that adds a variety of other exterior styling flourishes. There are also the Driver's package (20-inch wheels, firmer suspension, red brake calipers) and a number of body styling packages featuring unique colors and trim. Other options echo those of the GLA250.
Performance & mpg
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 208 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque matched to a seven-speed automated manual transmission (with shift paddles). Initially, just the all-wheel-drive (4Matic) version will be available, with the front-drive version to follow. Mercedes says the all-wheel-drive GLA will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 7.1 seconds. Both the GLA250 and the GLA 45 AMG feature an automatic stop-start function that, if engaged, turns off the engine when the car stops to save fuel.
The powerhouse GLA 45 AMG coaxes a very impressive 355 hp and 332 lb-ft of torque from the same 2.0-liter engine. A quicker-shifting version of the seven-speed transmission sends the power to all four wheels. The GLA 45 AMG also features a three-mode stability-control system (that allows drivers to tailor the level of intervention) and launch control. Mercedes says the GLA 45 can rocket from zero to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock brakes, a driver knee airbag, front seat side thorax airbags, front seat side pelvic airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Standard technology safety features include Collision Prevention Assist, which uses radar to identify potential collision situations and intervenes with braking as necessary, and Attention Assist, which monitors the driver for signs of drowsiness and inattention. Mercedes' mbrace telematics system is also standard and includes automatic collision notification, an emergency response button, stolen-vehicle locator, remote car alarm notification to your phone and remote door lock/unlock.
Rear seat side airbags are optional. Other safety-oriented options include a rearview camera, parking sensors bundled with an automated parking system and the Driver Assistance package, which adds adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and blind spot warning systems.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4Matic's on-road character more closely resembles that of a conventional hatchback than a typical go-anywhere SUV. On the open road, the GLA250 delivers convincing agility, with electric power assist steering that is engagingly direct, if a little vague on center. And despite the added ride height, there is excellent body control with only a limited amount of lean on more challenging roads. The GLA's relatively tight turning circle of 36 feet proves well-suited to the cut and thrust of urban driving.
Unfortunately, the GLA suffers from an overly firm and occasionally harsh ride quality, especially when you opt for bigger wheel sizes. The automated manual transmission is also frustrating, as it is slow to engage a gear when starting from a stop and causes stuttering motions when stuck in traffic.
This is a shame, since the GLA250 and its turbocharged four-cylinder nevertheless possess a solid amount of low- and midrange grunt. This gives it a satisfying user-friendly power delivery, as it feels energetic when accelerating away from traffic lights and pulling out to pass laggards on highways. The GLA 45 AMG, of course, is an entirely different animal, providing a degree of performance and handling potential that only the Porsche Macan can match. It has a similar ride quality to the GLA250, but as it's a sport-tuned model, that attribute is easier to accept.
As with the CLA with which it shares many cabin components, the GLA's interior looks and feels like that of a traditional Mercedes. Big analog gauges, a clean center stack design and tight fit and finish impart the same premium feel shared across the Mercedes lineup. The lone exception is the optional navigation system's display, which looks like an aftermarket addition given its location -- separate and perched high on the dash. On the upside, the screen is easy to read. Although it takes a little getting used to, the column-mounted gear selector quickly becomes second nature and also frees up valuable, easily accessed storage space on the console. Dressing things up is a variety of cabin accents, which include walnut, ash, aluminum and (GLA 45 only) carbon fiber.
An elevated driving position provides excellent forward visibility, but the shallow angle of the tailgate and thick roof pillars impede the view out back. Although there is a lot to like about the forward compartment of the cabin, the rear quarters are not quite as accommodating, as space is lacking compared with larger compact luxury crossovers like the Audi Q5 and Mercedes' own GLK. There's enough headroom for adult passengers, but the seat cushions are on the short and low side.
Cargo space behind the GLA's rear seats measures 17.2 cubic feet -- about 3 cubes less than the Range Rover Evoque but a bit more than you'll find in an Audi Q3. Fold the rear seats down and you have 43.6 cubic feet available, which is less than most rivals and indicative of a compact hatchback. The standard power liftgate is nice, but unfortunately the liftover is set quite high, making it a chore to load heavy luggage.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
More About This Model
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4Matic is marketed as a "crossover" SUV and is priced as such. In reality, the GLA-Class is more akin to a compact hatchback with extra ground clearance. This means it is graced with handling and fuel economy that is superior to most similarly priced luxury crossovers, but with significantly less interior space and a lower seating position. Add to that significant ride comfort and drivability issues and the result is a "C" rating from our editors.
What Is It?
The Mercedes-Benz GLA250 challenges the definition of the term "crossover." It has the ground clearance and available all-wheel drive of an SUV, but has the body and interior space of a compact hatchback like the Volkswagen Golf. It can seat five people, and although there is a high-performance GLA 45 AMG available, the four-cylinder GLA250 is the only trim level. Pricing starts at $31,300 with front-wheel drive and $33,300 with "4Matic" all-wheel drive.
How Much Space Is There Inside?
Even if the GLA-Class is questionably called an "SUV," none of its compact luxury competitors offer much in the way of cargo space. On paper and in person, the GLA is certainly more in line with a compact hatchback rather than an SUV. Its 17.2 cubic feet of space behind the backseat isn't much better than a sedan's trunk, as the heavily sloped roof line and tailgate prevent the storage of large boxes or other cargo that would fit in boxier vehicles. It's usefully deep, though, which could explain why the GLA has marginally more room than the Audi Q3 and BMW X1 with the seats raised. When the seats are lowered, it has less than both and in fact, the GLA's maximum cargo capacity of 43.6 cubic feet is nearly 10 cubic feet less than a Volkswagen Golf.
Backseat space is at a premium as well. Although it has much better headroom than the mechanically related CLA-Class sedan, it is still tight for taller passengers, especially when outfitted with the optional panoramic sunroof. Furthermore, comfort is hampered by the lack of a reclining rear seatback: a feature that's commonplace among SUVs. Legroom is decent for a small SUV, but fitting a rear-facing child seat can be difficult. Getting kids into car seats will also be a bit harder since the GLA's seats are lower to the ground than most other SUVs.
Up front, our test drivers found an ample amount of legroom. However, there is less headroom than we expected, and visibility is average at best. The seating position is low, the A-pillars are aggressively raked, the rear-quarter view is compromised and in general, the cabin feels rather confining. The tall, commanding view of the road so sought after by SUV shoppers is not present in the GLA250.
How Does It Drive?
Much as we discovered during our long-term road test of the mechanically related Mercedes-Benz CLA250, the GLA250 can be very frustrating to drive. To begin with, its throttle response is poor, as nothing really happens when you initially press the accelerator. This conspires with an obtrusive automatic stop-start system and a seven-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission that is slow to engage and shift. In traffic it lurches about as the engine shuts down, roughly fires back up again and then struggles to move forward. Disengaging the auto stop-start and/or putting the car into "Sport" mode quells these delayed responses, but in normal, non-aggressive driving, gears are held too long. Selecting "Manual" mode and changing gears yourself using the steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles alleviates these issues, but is ultimately a workaround and most folks are unlikely to go to this effort.
Driving around town is also hampered by an unsophisticated and at times punishing ride, made worse by the big wheels included with our test car's Sport package. Much as in our 2014 CLA250 long-term car, potholes, expansion joints and uneven concrete send jarring impacts into the cabin. At higher speeds and especially on better asphalt, the ride is perfectly tolerable. Indeed, both the ride and transmission/throttle issues become less problematic when out on the open road. Keep it away from cities and it's much happier.
Should those open-road travels take you to or through a twisting mountain road, things get even better, as the GLA is otherwise a sharp, engaging and fun vehicle to drive. The fact that it's not much of an SUV hampers it from a functional standpoint, but it's a boon when driving. It feels solidly tethered to the road, instilling confidence while tackling corners with minimal body roll. The steering is of particular note. It errs on the lighter side of effort, but it remains consistent and precise while turning, and allows you to feel the road. Plus, the optional 4Matic all-wheel-drive system gets rid of the torque steer (the phenomenon of the steering wheel tugging left and right due to excess torque being channeled through the front wheels) we experienced in the CLA250.
When it comes to off-roading, it's quite obvious you won't be doing rock crawling in the GLA250, but its 8-inch ground clearance is more than that of most small SUVs and (obviously) hatchbacks. Its 4Matic all-wheel drive also includes hill-descent control, an off-road transmission mode and a special display in the COMAND electronics interface that shows steering angle. Most of the time the GLA powers the front wheels, but the 4Matic system is able to send as much as 50 percent of torque to the rear wheels when needed. There are no locking differentials or fixed torque distributions, but the GLA will likely do well in snowy or slippery conditions.
How Does It Accelerate and Stop?
The GLA250 is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 that produces 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Initial throttle delay aside, the engine itself is eager and there's ample low-end power that makes it feel quick around town and robust when passing on the freeway. In other words, it's a good engine hampered by a wonky transmission and throttle calibration.
At our test track, the GLA went from zero to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds, which is 1.2 seconds quicker than the rather pokey Audi Q3. It's a half-second slower than BMW's estimated time of 6.3 seconds for the X1 xDrive28i, but the BMW's more powerful turbocharged four-cylinder is a pretty exceptional engine. The GLA's 0-60 time also happens to be the average for larger "compact" luxury SUVs.
When it came time to test the brakes at our test track, the GLA went from 60 mph to zero in a superb 105 feet. Some of the credit goes to the grippy summer tires and upgraded brakes included with the optional Sport package. Subsequent panic stops were similarly shorter than average. The pedal itself is a little spongy and longish in travel, but not objectionable.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Can You Expect?
The GLA250 with 4Matic is rated to return 27 mpg in combined driving by the EPA. With front-wheel drive, it bumps up to 29 mpg. These are excellent figures, and on our 116-mile Edmunds evaluation route, the GLA250 4Matic returned 27.5 mpg. This is better than we got in the less powerful Audi Q3 as well as larger luxury SUVs. During our year-long test of the mechanically related Mercedes CLA250, we struggled to match some of its EPA ratings, but tanks higher than 30 mpg were commonplace.
What's the Interior Like?
Just about everything you touch in the Mercedes GLA comes from the same high-quality parts bin as other, higher-priced Mercedes like the GLK-Class SUV and E-Class sedan The stalks, switches, buttons and COMAND multipurpose control knob look good, and engage with a pleasing action. This interior is certainly a more premium one than those found in utility vehicles from most non-luxury brands.
However, it's still a step below some of its siblings. There are definitely more hard plastic pieces of trim in the GLA than you'll find in higher-end Mercedes models and even vehicles of a similar price. It generally lacks that sense of overengineered specialness we expect from cars festooned with that three-pointed star.
In terms of technology, though, we have consistently found the GLA's iteration of Mercedes' COMAND electronics interface to be pleasantly easy to use. There is some learning curve, but the redundant dash-mounted buttons paired with the central screen and rotary controller make accomplishing both simple and complicated tasks easy. You don't need to wheel and click through multiple menus just to select a radio preset, for instance: Just press a number on the phone-style pad.
What Features Come Standard?
Every 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 comes standard with 18-inch wheels, a collision warning system, a driver inattention warning system, a power liftgate, automatic wipers, eight-way power front seats with four-way lumbar and driver memory settings, MB-Tex premium vinyl upholstery (which doesn't feel much different from our test car's real leather and will wear better over time), a 5.8-inch COMAND display, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a USB audio input and HD radio.
All told, that's a pretty solid standard features list given its price. Our test car included the popular Premium package that adds dual-zone automatic climate control, heated seats and a Harman Kardon audio system with satellite radio and an iPod interface. That sort of equipment is usually standard in this price range. The Multimedia package then added a navigation system, a rearview camera and a larger COMAND display. The Interior package adds leather upholstery, MB-Tex on the dash and the same sport seats that are standard on the CLA250. Besides the Sport package that helps the GLA stop shorter but ride rougher, our tester also included popular options like a panoramic sunroof, bi-xenon headlamps and a blind-spot warning system.
How Much Does It Cost?
All together, our GLA250 test car was rather loaded, but not with what we'd call especially superfluous features. Its consequent as-tested price was $45,935, which is frankly a bit shocking for such a small vehicle with modest utility.
By comparison, a similarly equipped Lexus NX 200T or Volvo V60 Cross Country would have similar prices, but are both bigger and have plusher interiors. The same goes for the much larger Acura RDX that will actually save you about $3,000. True, the $31,300 base price is attractive, and the Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class or other, bigger German SUVs would be costlier still.
What Competing Models Should You Also Consider?
BMW X1: BMW's smallest SUV is similarly challenged in terms of utility and offers questionable value, but it also doesn't suffer the GLA's comfort and drivability issues. It's also even more invigorating to drive.
Lexus NX 200T: The new, baby Lexus SUV is smaller than most competitors, but still offers far more utility than the GLA. It has a higher base price, but things even out when the two are comparably equipped.
Volvo V60 Cross Country: It's not an SUV, but then neither is the GLA-Class. This Volvo also offers an elevated ride height and all-wheel drive, but has a nicer, more practical cabin.
Why Should You Consider This Car?
You are searching for a reasonably efficient, fun-to-drive car with more utility than the typical compact luxury vehicle, along with all-wheel drive and extra ground clearance for the occasional adventure off the beaten path. Also, if a premium badge with accompanying premium equipment and style are a must, then it's worth a look.
Why Should You Think Twice About This Car?
The ride is rough. It's frustrating to drive. Space for passengers and cargo is lacking given its price. It's harder to see out of than an SUV. The interior isn't that special. Competitor SUVs and wagons provide better value. Any of these could give you serious pause.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Overview
The Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class is offered in the following submodels: GLA-Class GLA 45 AMG 4MATIC, GLA-Class SUV. Available styles include GLA 250 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM), GLA 250 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM), and GLA 45 AMG 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM).
What's a good price on a Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class?
Save up to $350 on one of 58 Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class for sale at dealerships within 25 miles of Ashburn, VA with prices as low as $18,500 as of11/22/2018, based on data from dealers and consumer-driven dealer ratings ranging from1 to 5 out of 5 stars.
Price comparisons for Used 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class trim styles:
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Should I lease or buy a 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.