2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Review
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Sporty handling and performance from base model
- stunning performance from AMG version
- 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.
The 2016 GLA-Class gets an updated standard infotainment system with a 7-inch screen. Also newly standard are keyless ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control and adjustable-length front-seat cushions. A Dynamic Select drive-mode selector debuts, while the optional rearview camera now offers a 180-degree view. The AMG version boasts 20 additional horsepower and 18 more pound-feet of torque, plus revised gear ratios and a new Dynamic Plus package with a limited-slip differential. Finally, Mercedes' mbrace2 Connect package (online and emergency services) is now standard for five years on all trims.
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class mixes hatchback and small crossover attributes to give you a sporting drive and an elevated ride height, but its firm ride and limited practicality should give you pause.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class GLA 250 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.93 per gallon for premium unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$167/mo for GLA-Class GLA 250
GLA-Class GLA 250
Avg. Compact SUV
Entering its second year of production, the compact 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class retains the same promise it offered last year. This baby Benz boasts an upscale blend of hatchback and crossover traits, also offering good performance and a wide range of features and options. The GLA shares its 106.3-inch wheelbase with the CLA-Class sedan, making it the company's smallest SUV. But it's both shorter and wider than the CLA, which gives it more aggressive proportions.
Taut suspension and precise steering give the 2016 GLA-Class impressive handling.
Being less frumpy than the CLA, however, doesn't exactly cover the GLA in glory. Under the surface, ride comfort and drivability challenges keep the GLA from reaching its full potential. The taut suspension can be jarring over even mildly uneven terrain, while potholes may have you wishing for a kidney belt. Moreover, the seven-speed transmission's low-speed indecisiveness and sometimes belabored responses take a bite out of driver confidence. Couple these downsides with a relatively small cargo area and rear seat, and making a case for the GLA becomes more difficult.
Competitors include the Audi Q3 and Lexus NX 200t, both of which ride more comfortably but suffer similar cargo and occupant constraints. The all-new 2016 BMW X1 has a roomier interior and looks to be a particularly tough rival for the Mercedes. The Mini Countryman is hardly the freshest face in this segment, but it continues to appeal with its spunky turbocharged engines and inimitable style. Although we awarded the hopped-up GLA 45 AMG model an Edmunds "B" rating due to its sizzling performance, it's the "C"-rated GLA250 that's more representative. The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class has plenty of promise, but depending on your needs, this hatchback-crossover mashup may not fully deliver.
Performance & mpg
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 208 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque matched to a seven-speed automated manual transmission (with shift paddles). In Edmunds track testing, the GLA250 4MATIC outdid Mercedes' estimated 0-60 time of 7.1 seconds by hitting the milestone in 6.8 seconds, a good showing for this segment.
The AMG GLA 45 finds an additional 20 hp and 18 lb-ft of torque for 2016, coaxing a profound 375 hp and 350 lb-ft from the same 2.0-liter engine used in the base GLA. A quicker-shifting version of the seven-speed transmission sends power to all four wheels. The AMG GLA 45 also features a three-mode stability-control system that allows drivers to tailor the level of intervention and offers available launch control. Mercedes says the GLA 45 can rocket from zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds.
Both the GLA250 and the AMG GLA 45 feature an automatic stop-start function that, if engaged, turns off the engine when the car stops to save fuel. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the GLA-Class is quite good: the GLA250 is estimated by the EPA to yield 29 mpg combined (25 city/35 highway), while the GLA250 4Matic earns 27 mpg combined (24 city/32 highway). The AMG GLA 45 checks in at 25 mpg combined (22 city/29 highway).
The 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock brakes, front knee airbags, front side airbags and side curtain airbags (rear side airbags are optional). Standard technology 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 or inattention. Mercedes' mbrace2 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.
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 a blind-spot monitor.
The 2016 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 limited lean on challenging roads. The GLA's relatively tight turning circle of 36 feet proves well-suited to the cut and thrust of urban driving.
Short overhangs and a wide stance give the 2016 GLA aggressive proportions.
Unfortunately, the GLA suffers from 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 from a standstill and stutters with indecision in stop-and-go traffic. That's a shame, as the GLA250's turbocharged four-cylinder actually possesses solid low- and midrange grunt. This gives it a satisfying and user-friendly power delivery.
The AMG GLA 45, of course, is an entirely different animal, providing a degree of performance and handling potential that only the Porsche Macan can match among similar crossovers. It has a similar ride quality to the GLA250, but since it's a sport-tuned model, that attribute is easier to accept.
Similar to the CLA-Class sedan, with which it shares many cabin components, the GLA's interior looks 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. If you get up close and personal with the materials, however, you can see where the GLA falls short relative to the GLC-Class crossover, for example.
The optional navigation system's display looks like an aftermarket addition given its location — separate and perched high on the dash. On the upside, the screen is easy to read and (in base form) bigger than it was in 2015. 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. A variety of cabin accents — which include walnut, ash, aluminum and (GLA 45 only) carbon fiber — dresses things up.
Based on the CLA sedan, the 2016 GLA-Class is a compact SUV both inside and out.
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 less accommodating, as space is distinctly lacking compared with larger compact luxury crossovers like the GLC and the Audi Q5. Fortunately, there's enough headroom for adult passengers.
Cargo space behind the GLA's rear seats measures 14.9 cubic feet — among the smallest in the segment. 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 the liftover is set quite high, making it a chore to load heavy luggage.
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class models
The 2016 GLA-Class is offered in three trim levels: GLA250, GLA250 4Matic and AMG GLA 45.
The GLA250 comes standard with 18-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, a roof rack, foglamps, a power liftgate, automatic wipers, cruise control, a 14-way power driver seat, a 10-way manual passenger seat, driver memory settings, MB-Tex vinyl upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks (with a cargo pass-through). Electronics features include a 7-inch central display with a console-mounted control knob, a media interface for digital music players, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and an audio system with a CD player, HD radio and a USB audio input.
Like most Mercedes-Benz products, the GLA is endowed with an attractively simple interior that features large, clear instrumentation.
For the all-wheel-drive GLA250 4Matic, hill-descent control and an off-road status monitor for the 7-inch display (including steering angle, tilt angle and grade percentage) add sport-activity credentials.
The Premium package features auto-dimming mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, heated front seats and a Harman Kardon audio system with satellite radio. The Multimedia package adds a larger 8-inch screen, a hard-drive-based navigation system, voice controls, a rearview camera, an in-dash SD card reader and five years of real-time traffic and weather.
The Sport package adds 19-inch wheels, upgraded brakes and more aggressive-looking exterior styling. Available only with the Sport package, the Night package adds black wheels and gloss-black exterior accents. The Interior package features leather seating, front sport seats, multi-color ambient lighting and MB-Tex dash trim. Lastly, the Driver Assistance package includes adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning and a blind-spot monitor.
Standalone options include a few of the packaged items above plus bi-xenon headlights and LED taillights, a panoramic sunroof, parking sensors combined with an automated parking system, a power passenger seat with memory, a blind-spot monitor and aluminum interior trim.
The high-performance AMG GLA 45 comes standard with all-wheel drive and includes the GLA250's standard features plus a more powerful engine, sport exhaust, unique 19-inch wheels, sport-tuned suspension and steering and upgraded brakes. Bi-xenon headlights and styling tweaks that include a more aggressive front fascia, flared wheel arches and quad tailpipes are also standard, as are the power passenger seat and ambient lighting.
Options largely mirror those of the GLA250, but also include Recaro sport seats, an upgraded steering wheel and a large rear spoiler. The Dynamic Plus package supplants last year's Driver's package and adds 20-inch wheels, adaptive suspension dampers, a limited-slip front differential, a "Race" driving mode and a higher top speed. Multiple carbon-fiber trim packages and the Aerodynamics Package add performance and aesthetic appeal.
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4 out of 5 stars
A delightful car
2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class GLA 250 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM)
I have been driving the GLA250 for about a half year. Absolutely no problems. It was parked outside in last year's Boston extreme winter and drove in the snow and ice like a champion. The car is a delight to drive. Fast with average 26 mpg (90% city, 30-31 mpg on highway at brisk speeds). I find the GLA a beautiful design and I received many compliment for it (often from Europeans who … value the practical hatchbacks more than US drivers). What I don't enjoy is the wind noise on the highway, the very little leg room in the back and the low roof line at the front (I am 6'2")....but all those are compensated well by overall joy driving this car. I tested the BMW X1 and Audi Q3. Nothing changed after a year and a half. The car goes to a Mercedes dealer's service once a year. In between only gas and windshield washer tanks need fill up. Not even the tires needed air since I bought the car. (Here I had a line that claimed that the transmission settings were updated but I was wrong. It was wishful thinking. Sadly.) I had no technical problems in the first two years. UPDATE: Two and a half years of driving the GLA250 the car had no problem whatsoever. The single thing I am very unhappy about is the transmission's ECO mode. That is rather bad for a Mercedes. In the city (especially at slow cornering) the downshifting is delayed and abrupt. It shifts from 3 to 2 with a sudden jerk and unpleasant jump in gear2. The other shortcoming is - what many complained about - is the tendency of shifting into gear 7 also in ECO at ~ 35 mph which is annoying. The 2016 model has multiple gear options (e.g. comfort) but Mercedes won't bother to make the 2015 models any better by updating the software. This is such a disappointment in this otherwise great car that I am considering trading it in soon for a different brand. YEAR THREE UPDATE: See that for my initial impressions of the GLA250 above. Now the car turned three years old. Still running beautifully. The engine is superb. The transmission as annoying as ever and it was pointed out by a large number of reviewers. MB still does not bother upgrading the shifting properties. That is poor customer support especially because so many of us requested it. I took the car for the third annual service and they told me I need new tires. The car ran only 17500 miles and the Bridgestone Duellers are worn out on the front wheels (not sure whther they rotated them or not). They wanted to sell me that same junk tires again. What more, the Bridgestones come with NO WARRANTY (except defects). No minimum mileage, nothing. This is MB OEM quality and a $40k car. Last time I encountered this kind of tire "warranty" was my parents Russian Lada in the 1970s. If Mercedes thinks that this is their entry level car and people will buy higher class Benzes they ought to make a better impression. THREE + HALF YEAR UPDATE: I replaced those low quality Bridgestone tires with non-runflat Continentals. I bought a Mercedes donut spare wheel that I keep it in the trunk. Guess what? The trunk became so small (with the wheel in it) that a Porsche 911 may have more storage space. No technical issues. MB recalled it for an airbag grounding that was done on 30 minutes as promised. Herb Chambers' MB service is great. I can not say the same about Herb Chambers' sales. They can not confirm that I purchased an extended warranty for the car in 2015 and want me to buy that again. I asked them to check the warranty but they did not bother to respond. The 2019 facelift looks attractive. Since the BMW X2 is a massively ugly version of the double-boring X1 I may stick to the GLA and consider trading mine for the 2019 model. But first I check out the transmission :-)
5 out of 5 stars
Love the GLA250!
Scott Lancaster, 07/20/2016
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class GLA 250 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM)
I love this car! It's an absolute blast to drive whether on the highway or on the curvy back roads and it looks great! You push this car to pass someone one the back roads and it just hunkers right down like it's driving on rails. The way it handles, drives, and looks is all Mercedes. Inside and out everything is polished. One odd thing is the multimedia display is not a touch screen. … AppleCar play works great although I do prefer the Mercedes navigation over Apple's. One thing the detailed reviews don't tend to go over are the different driving modes you can put the car in. The different modes change how the steering feels, how sensitive the throttle is, where the shift points are, along with some specific behavior for the mode. There modes include Comfort (the default), Sport, Offroad, Eco, and an Individual mode where you can changes some of the settings. Eco will give you the greatest gas mileage: softer steering, slow throttle response (unless to punch it), shifts early, shuts the engine off at stops, and tends to "coast" the engine. Sport stiffens the steering, very sensitive throttle response, and shifts late (fun!). It also will use more active all-wheel drive (4MATIC models) going around corners. Comfort is in-between Eco and Sport. Offroad softens the steering, slower throttle response, shifts later, and cuts back on the anti-lock brakes for better stopping distance from "plowing" the gravel on braking. Individual mode lets you change some of these settings. All modes except Offroad turns off the engine at stops by default (this can be overridden). Honestly, other than suspension behaviour, it feels like you're getting 3-4 different cars in one. You can go totally green commuting and highway driving and get great gas mileage; get something in-between if you want more response and trade-off gas mileage, or go totally fun mode on the back roads. If you drive on a fair amount of dirt roads (like I do), you get the bonus of offroad mode as well. This didn't make or break the deal for me--it was an unexpected bonus! I ended up w/ the Kryptonite Green which looks much better in person than on the computer screen--great color! I used Edmunds to get $4200 below MSRP.
3 out of 5 stars
Poor value for the price
J Shoup, 09/13/2017
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class GLA 250 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM)
Let's get to the fun stuff first -- this car accelerates and corners like a Mercedes should, quick off the start or merging on a highway, handling winding roads, and comfortably using the cruise control to increase speed 5 mph at a time. When you step on the gas, it feels like the engine is gently pullling you along. Even with cruise set at 75 through the mountains of WV, there's no … lurching between gears. Panoramic sun roof and shade screen is nice. The GLA is definitely more hatchback than SUV, though, when it comes to size and fit. Cargo area is small, back seats are smaller, and even front head & leg room is slight. Reliabilty has been an issue: an electronic part failed, causing a complete electrical failure that would have cost $2400 to replace if the car wasn't under warranty. Tires replaced after 25,000 miles, mostly highway, dealership said I was lucky to get 20k from them because they're soft rubber for performance. On third set of tires after 46,000 miles. So plan on $800 every 20k for new tires. Entertainment system is unnecessarily complicated, and the iPad looking thing on the dash (that looks like a last minute addition) is NOT a touch screen, so it's all buttons and knobs. Electronic safety systems have quit on me 5-7 times in the last 15 months, but they work fine when the car is re-started later. Overall, I'd expect better reliability for this level of engineering. Would not buy in the future.
4.63 out of 5 stars
GLA45 one of the fastest CUV ever, if not the fastest!
2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class GLA 45 AMG 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM)
0-60 in just 4.2 sec and runs the 1/4 in 12.8 at 109 ... and it is a 4 cylinder! Handles great, sounds even better with the race exhaust. I looked at the SQ5 and found the outdated shape not thrilling anymore ... Looked at the Porsche Macan but the price with options and the wait time seemed outrageous and then add the maintenance cost and the fact that it rides like a truck ... I … looked at the new Lexus NX but the lack of power and handling seemed weak at best. Same thing with the Q3. The GLA 250 seemed to be the better deal ... until I tested the GLA45 ... the rest is history.
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, so we've included reviews for other years of the GLA-Class since its last redesign.
2016 GLA-Class Highlights
|Combined MPG||29 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$167/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||4 years / 50,000 miles|
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