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.
The styling of the GLA-250 caught my attention, absolutely loved it. I was in the market for a small sporty luxury SUV and was looking to trade in my 05 Infinity FX35. First time leaser, and wanting to keep the monthly cost as low as possible, it was between the GLA and the new Infinity GX30. Several competitors didn't make the shortlist: BMW X1 looks like a cheap/inferior BMW. Lexus NX styling is bizarre. Land Rover Evoque looks like an elephant sat on it and is super expensive. Audi Q3 was close to the shortlist but didn't have time to fully research. Lincoln MKC is American, say no more. I researched, test drove and received quotes for the GLA and Infinity, which are essentially the same platform. The GLA (just) won every category on my comparison checklist, and the dealership experience was much 'classier' and less 'salesy'. And after a couple of rounds of negotiation I was presented an unbelievable 3 year / 12,000 mpy lease for under $300/month, including service costs. Absolutely love the deal, the car and the buying experience.
I looked very seriously at 4 vehicles before buying the Mercedes GLA 250 : the Volvo V60, the VW Alltrack, and the BMW X1. The Mercedes has everything that I wanted. It has the Apple CarPlay, which I love. The controls are really easy to read and understand which makes driving the vehicle safer for me because I am not taking time to figure the display out. BMW - display was too busy and complex for me. The Volvo, seats not that comfy in my opinion and visibility terrible. The Alltrack was nice but to be honest, the customer service at the dealership stunk! The salespeople at Mercedes were so attentive and on point the entire time, that the sales process went very smooth. This car has driven like a dream for the 1000 miles I've put on it to date, and I really like it. Cons are that the glovebox is small, the headroom is a bit tight at times if you are tall and the back storage is a little tight, but the drive and comfort on the road and ease of controls, heat, radio, etc. I just love the layout of it all and the interior is very stylish!