The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class is proof that even Mercedes isn't immune to temptation. With the market for compact-crossover SUVs exploding, and the thirst for prestige brands growing as well, Mercedes needed an entry in the compact-crossover niche. And that's the GLA.
The "A" in GLA indicates that this is a member of Mercedes' smallest size class. And it hints (accurately) that much of the GLA's engineering is shared with the smallest four-door the company sells in the United States, the CLA. So this crossover is based on a front-drive platform that's closer in structure to, say, a Hyundai Sonata than it is a Mercedes C-, E- or S-Class.
Budget-friendliness may be an odd concept for American Mercedes buyers, but the company has long contended in many smaller vehicle classes for decades in Europe and elsewhere. The GLA still carries hints of Mercedes overengineering even if it doesn't show up on the bottom line of the window sticker. Well, at least before options.
Shaped something like a well-worn Converse Chuck Taylor, the GLA-Class possesses all the familiar Mercedes styling cues, including a giant three-pointed star in the middle of its grille. Unfortunately those floppy-shoe stylings cover a relatively tiny passenger compartment. Headroom, legroom and shoulder room are all tightly limited. And cargo room is down there between not-very-much and negligible.
Yes, the standard interior is upholstered in "MB-Tex" which a synthetic leather. Leather is however a zero-dollar option as long as you don't count the required Premium and Interior packages that accompany it and add $4,600 to the bottom line.
There are two distinct GLA-Class models. The one that's advertised with a low, Honda-like starting price is the GLA250 powered by a transversely mounted 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at a modest 208 horsepower that drives the front wheels through an automated seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. A version of Mercedes 4Matic all-wheel-drive system is also available.
Well above the GLA250 is the GLA45 AMG that comes from Mercedes in-house tuning shop, AMG. Using the same basic engine, but with the turbo wick turned to "insane," the 2.0-liter four slams out an astonishing 355 hp. It's enough, claims Mercedes, to rocket the all-wheel-drive GLA45 AMG to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds. It's louder and ruder than the GLA250, and the suspension can be punishingly stiff, but if having the quickest small crossover around matters, here it is.
Both GLAs handle well and ride pretty firmly. The refinement expected in a Mercedes simply isn't there, but the fuel economy is pretty good. The basic GLA250 is EPA-rated at 27 mpg combined (24 city/33 highway). The GLA45 AMG knocks out 25 mpg combined (22 city/28 highway).
Making sense of the compact-crossover market is tough, but you can count on Edmunds to clear things up for you and get you a great deal.
2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Overview Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2017 GLA-Class featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
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Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2017 GLA-Class 4 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2017 GLA-Class.
Vehicle GLA250 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM)
Review Rented a GLA 250 4-matic to drive from West Palm Beach to St. Augustine and back for a wedding. The front seats were exceptionally comfortable and supportive, and the rear cargo area was plenty for two and our gear. Not much room in the rear for passengers - which was irrelevant to us. Performance - acceleration, handling, braking - was exhilarating. Ride was firm but not harsh while cruising. Fuel economy was excellent. Used sport mode around town and economy on the highway, with sport steering setting. Cruises easily at 100 mph with little road noise and full control. The engine stop/start feature was an aggravation, with hesitation, so I disabled it. The transmission was smoother in sport mode than in economy or comfort. There is a custom feature available too. Audio was good but not great, and no equalizer controls. I would opt for the Harmon-Kardon upgrade for $750 (can be ordered separately from various packages). Burnished aluminum on dash was ugly and reflected too much sun. Opt for wood. Electronics were a steep learning curve indeed; but this was a rental with insufficient time to study the manual. Not intuitive. I agree the central screen looks like a cheap add-on. Visibility is limited due to the small windows all around. I normally drive a Ford Focus hatch with manual tranny, so the outstanding performance and solid quality build was impressive. Missed the clutch; but there are paddle shifters. Did not take it offroad; but doubt it would make it over the dune on the Outer Banks. More of a slick-handling sporty AWD hatch with tremendous performance for the price. Cannot even imagine driving the AMG version.
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