2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Review
2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Cameron Rogers has worked in the automotive industry since 2013. He has tested and reviewed hundreds of vehicles over the course of his career. Today, he leads the news team in developing cutting-edge news articles, opinion pieces and sneak peeks at upcoming vehicles. Favorite cars that he's driven during his tenure at Edmunds include the 991-era Porsche 911 Turbo S, Rolls-Royce Ghost and several generations of Honda Odyssey (really).
- Sporty handling and performance even in the base model
- AMG GLA 45's long list of available technology and safety features
- Ride quality is firm to the point some might object
- Road and wind noise is in abundance
- Automatic transmission can operate awkwardly in stop-and-go situations
- Less cargo capacity than its rivals
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality is available for both 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class versions this year. Mercedes says the instrument panel has been mildly redesigned, and the 8-inch display screen is thinner than before. The new AMG Dinamica package adds faux-suede upholstery to the GLA 45's steering wheel and dashboard.
The current demand for crossovers seems insatiable, and automakers all over the world are creating vehicle platforms that can be adapted for utility vehicles and cars alike. The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class is one such crossover, based on the same underpinnings as Mercedes' budget-friendly CLA sedan. And though the GLA might seem like the perfect car (who doesn't like the idea of an affordable Mercedes crossover SUV?), several significant flaws might keep it off your shopping list.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2017 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 $4.32 per gallon for premium unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$193/mo for GLA-Class GLA 250
GLA-Class GLA 250
Avg. Compact SUV
First, the good news: Both the GLA250 and AMG GLA 45 boast powerful engines that achieve good real-world fuel economy given their levels of performance. Whereas most compact luxury crossovers don't like to be hustled around tight turns, the GLA remains composed with little body roll, and that helps make it quite fun to drive, even on narrow mountain passes. The GLA also enjoys a long list of safety and luxury features, including standard automatic emergency braking and a power liftgate.
Unfortunately, the GLA's weaknesses are plentiful. The ride is much rougher than you'd expect from a Mercedes, there's not much headroom or legroom anywhere, and the interior materials aren’t particularly impressive. There’s not much room behind the backseats either; imagine a Volkswagen Golf cargo area and lop off one-third. Then there's the transmission, which is unforgivably slow to respond to driver inputs. The low seating position means you also won't experience the commanding all-around visibility that SUV buyers typically enjoy.
Another of the GLA's faults is in its relatively high cost. Most rivals offer a greater level of refinement for the same price or less. BMW's X1 delivers similarly sporty performance but with a more luxurious cabin and a roomier back seat. The Audi Q3 also has top-shelf interior materials and greater cargo capacity. The Infiniti QX30 is actually based on the GLA, but we like its softer suspension and more refined transmission tuning. Other compact crossovers, such as the Lexus NX and Acura RDX, are also worth considering. The strength of the competition and the GLA’s glaring flaws make it difficult to recommend without an extensive test drive.
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class comes standard with stability and traction control, antilock brakes with automatic drying, front knee airbags, front side airbags and side curtain airbags (rear side airbags are optional). Standard technology features include Active Brake Assist, which uses radar to identify potential front-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 location, 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, blind-spot monitoring and the Driver Assistance package, which adds adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning.
At the Edmunds test track, a GLA250 4Matic came to a stop from 60 mph in an astounding 105 feet, just a foot longer than a GLA 45. This is undoubtedly due to our tester's summer tires; a vehicle with all-season tires should stop about 10 feet longer.
Edmunds' Expert Rating
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class might be a smart choice if you desire a luxury crossover that offers the maneuverability and fuel economy of a compact sedan. The outrageously powered AMG GLA 45, meanwhile, is in a class by itself. But several drawbacks, including a small cargo area and rough ride, might mean it's not perfect for everyone.
The 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4Matic's on-road character more closely resembles that of a conventional hatchback than a typical go-anywhere SUV. Around turns, the GLA250 will impress you with its agility and secure handling. The GLA's relatively tight turning circle of 36 feet proves well-suited to the cut and thrust of urban driving as well.
Unfortunately, the GLA suffers from an overly firm and occasionally harsh ride quality, especially when you opt for bigger wheel sizes. The transmission is also frustrating — it is slow to engage a gear from a standstill and stutters with indecision in stop-and-go traffic. That's a shame because 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 because 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 looks like a traditional Mercedes inside. 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 not only compared to more expensive Mercedes siblings but also rivals such as the Lexus NX and BMW X1.
The optional navigation system's display looks like an aftermarket addition given its location perched high on the dash. On the upside, the screen is easy to read and fairly large. Although it takes a little getting used to, the column-mounted gear selector quickly becomes second nature and 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.
A modestly 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 front row, the rear quarters are less accommodating and space is distinctly lacking compared with rivals such as the BMW X1 and Acura RDX. For example, the GLA has 27.1 inches of rear legroom and 53.2 inches of rear shoulder room, compared to the X1’s 37 inches/55.2 inches and the RDX’s 38.3 inches/57.2 inches. Fortunately, there's enough headroom for adult passengers as long as you don't order the sunroof.
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.
2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class models
The 2017 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, foglights, automatic wipers, a power liftgate, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 14-way power driver seat (with four-way power lumbar), a 10-way manual passenger seat with a fold-flat feature, driver memory settings, a driver information display, selectable driving modes, MB-Tex premium vinyl upholstery, ambient interior lighting, 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, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker audio system with a CD player, HD radio, an SD card reader and two USB ports. Certain features of Mercedes' Mbrace telematics system (including a Wi-Fi hot spot and concierge services) are available on a subscription basis.
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 a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, keyless entry and ignition, heated front seats and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with satellite radio. The Multimedia package adds a larger 8-inch screen, a navigation system, voice controls and smartphone integration via Apple Carplay and Android Auto.
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, upgraded ambient interior lighting and MB-Tex dash trim. The Driver Assistance package includes adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning. Lastly, the Convenience package adds auto-dimming mirrors and a garage door opener.
Standalone options include a few of the packaged items above plus xenon headlights and LED taillights, a panoramic sunroof, parking sensors combined with an automated parking system and a 14-way power passenger seat with memory.
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. Also standard are xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, the power passenger seat, MB-Tex/simulated-suede upholstery, and styling tweaks that include a more aggressive front fascia, flared wheel arches and quad tailpipes.
Options largely mirror those of the GLA250 but also include 20-inch wheels, Recaro sport seats, an upgraded steering wheel, a large rear spoiler and a performance exhaust. The GLA 45 can be ordered with any of the above packages, except for Sport or Night. The GLA 45's unique Dynamic Plus package adds adaptive suspension dampers, a limited-slip front differential, a Race driving mode and a higher top speed. A carbon-fiber exterior trim package, Aerodynamics package and AMG Dinamica package add performance and aesthetic appeal.
The 2017 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, dual-clutch automatic transmission (with steering wheel-mounted 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 pumps out an outstanding 375 hp and 350 lb-ft from the same 2.0-liter engine. 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. Fuel economy figures are quite good: the front-wheel-drive GLA250 achieves 27 mpg combined (24 city/33 highway), while the GLA250 4Matic earns 26 mpg combined (23 city/31 highway). The high-octane AMG GLA 45 isn’t much worse at 25 mpg combined (22 city/28 highway).
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
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.
5 out of 5 stars
Stylish, Sporty, Solid, Comfort!
2016 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class GLA 250 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM)
This vehicle is a truly beautiful machine with robust power and a comfortable & luxurious ride. It's relatively compact, though seats 4 adults comfortably; the benefit to the smaller SUV size is great gas mileage. It's very well built (sturdy) and gives a sense of security and confidence in driving. With all the bells and whistles, it's a modern tech dream -- radar cruise control, … blind spot monitoring, rear camera, big nav display, and simple bluetooth pairing for phone music/calls. The pano sunroof makes the cabin seem very spacious, and the sport package styling is sharp and aggressive. Ride is smooth & quiet, and we do not notice any erratic transmission shifting as others have commented -- maybe they re-programmed the transmission for this newer factory model? The dealer experience (Fletcher-Jones in Henderson, NV) was exceptional compared to any other. They didn't pressure us to buy inventory and cheerfully helped with a factory order. It took about 3 months to arrive. We ordered in South Sea Blue, Brown Leather, Satin Poplar Wood, Sport Package, Panorama Roof, Bi-Xenon & LED Lights, Interior Package, Premium Package, Multimedia Package, Power Passenger Seat, and Driver Assistant Package. Highly recommend this car in a "loaded config" -- it's the nicest car we've every owned or driven!
4 out of 5 stars
Cool Week in Florida with a GLA 250
Dirk Durstein, 11/30/2016
2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class GLA 250 4MATIC 4dr SUV AWD (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 7AM)
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.
We have a limited number of reviews for the 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class, so we've included reviews for other years of the GLA-Class since its last redesign.
2017 GLA-Class Highlights
|Combined MPG||27 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$193/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||4 years / 50,000 miles|