2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class AMG GLA 45 4MATIC
- One of the most entertaining crossovers in the class
- Returns respectable mileage considering its performance
- High clearance and optional all-wheel drive lend some all-weather capability
- Long list of available tech and safety features on the GLA 45
- Firm ride quality can grow tiresome on rough roads
- Automatic transmission operates awkwardly in stop-and-go situations
- Not much legroom, headroom or cargo room
- Road and wind noise is abundant
2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class AMG GLA 45 4MATIC pricingin Ashburn, VA
Which GLA-Class does Edmunds recommend?
Edmunds' Expert Review
Overall rating3.5 / 5
The 2018 Mercedes Benz GLA-Class makes a smart choice if you want a luxury crossover that moves, parks and economizes fuel like a compact sedan. The high-performance GLA 45 trim, meanwhile, is in a class by itself.
Based on Mercedes' budget-friendly CLA sedan, the GLA crossover delivers athletic handling and big smiles on narrow, twisting roads. Most Benzes lean toward stately power and control, but the GLA is one of the more fun, raucous models in the lineup. Both the GLA250 and AMG GLA 45 also offer powerful engines, good real-world fuel economy (29 and 26 mpg combined, respectively), a full complement of convenience and connected technology, and a long list of luxury and safety features.
For 2018, the GLA carries over mostly unchanged, but there's a subtle new look to the front and rear bumpers and new wheel designs. The gauge cluster design is new, and a rearview camera and 8-inch display are now standard equipment.
The GLA's inherent weaknesses, however, haven't changed. The ride is still rougher than you'd expect of a Mercedes, sporty or not. There's not much headroom or legroom, or much cargo space. And though the GLA250's four-cylinder engine sounds strong and performs well, the accompanying automatic transmission responds slowly to pedal inputs, especially in the default Eco mode. The AMG GLA 45 has a more responsive transmission to go along with its big increase in horsepower.
The GLA's relatively high cost doesn't help its case. Similar models from BMW, Audi and Lexus, while not much bigger or roomier, offer a greater level of refinement for the same price or less. Even the Infiniti QX30, essentially a GLA in Infiniti clothing, offers better ride quality and (slightly) better transmission tuning.
Though the GLA wears a Mercedes star, it's worth considering its rivals before making a final decision. The GLA 45 is something else entirely. It shares most of the GLA's basic flaws, but blistering speed and performance tend to overshadow its blemishes. There's nothing else like it in the class.
Trim levels & features
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class is offered in three trim levels: GLA250, GLA250 4Matic, and AMG GLA 45. The GLA250 comes with a 208-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a decent feature list that includes power-adjustable front seats, a power liftgate, Bluetooth and a 7-inch central display. The GLA250 4Matic version adds all-wheel drive and hill descent control. The AMG GLA 45 shares the same basic feature set, but with a more powerful engine and other high-performance upgrades.
The GLA250 starts with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (208 horsepower, 258 pound-feet of torque), a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. Key standard features include 18-inch alloy wheels, a power liftgate, power-adjustable driver seat, three performance driving modes, imitation leather upholstery, and a 60/40-split folding rear seatback with a center pass-through.
Tech features include an 8-inch central display with a dial-and-button control array, 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 hotspot and concierge services) are available on a subscription basis.
The all-wheel-drive GLA250 4Matic model adds some all-weather and light off-road capability with hill descent control and an off-road status monitor that analyzes steering angle, tilt angle and grade percentage.
Several option packages are available for the GLA250. The Premium package bundles blind-spot monitoring, keyless entry and ignition, heated front seats, and hands-free liftgate open and close, while the Interior package adds leather upholstery, sport seats and ambient cabin lighting. The Multimedia package includes a navigation system, voice controls, smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and real-time satellite traffic and weather information.
Adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist are available in the Driver Assistance package, a Convenience package adds an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a new Parking Assist package adds a surround-view camera and a self-parking system.
The AMG Line Exterior package offers a high-performance look with 19-inch AMG wheels, AMG body styling and a black headliner. The Night package further enhances this look with black wheels, trim and side mirror caps.
Stand-alone options include several package items (blind-spot monitoring, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, heated front seats, for example) as well as upgrades that include a panoramic sunroof, LED headlights, ambient cabin lighting, and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system.
The AMG GLA 45 comes with all-wheel drive and the GLA250's standard features, but with significantly more power (375 hp, 350 lb-ft of torque) from the same engine. It's further distinguished with 19-inch wheels, a sport exhaust, sport-tuned suspension and steering, upgraded brakes, LED headlights and a power passenger seat. The GLA 45's options largely mirror those of the GLA250, but there are a couple of exclusive additions.
The AMG Dynamic Plus package includes adaptive dampers, a limited-slip differential, a Race driving mode and a higher top speed. Meanwhile, a new AMG Performance Studio package is a fierce styling upgrade that includes 20-inch wheels, body kit, a rear spoiler, sport seats, and various components trimmed in black and yellow. A handful of other packages offer aesthetic enhancements inside and out.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2015 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 4Matic (turbo 2.0L inline-4 | 7-speed dual-clutch automatic | AWD).
Noise & vibration3.0
Ease of use4.5
Getting in/getting out3.0
Audio & navigation
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
Our experts’ favorite GLA-Class safety features:
- Active Brake Assist
- Uses radar to detect vehicles and objects ahead and applies autonomous braking if necessary.
- Distance Pilot Distronic
- Maintains a set distance from the car ahead of you when the cruise control is set on the highway.
- Lane Keeping Assist
- Monitors road markings and helps detect unintended lane drifting. Alerts driver by vibrating the steering wheel.
2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class AMG GLA 45 4MATIC for Sale
The 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class proves 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, so the GLA was born.
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 sedan.
Budget-friendliness may be an odd concept for American Mercedes buyers, but the company has contended for decades in many smaller vehicle classes 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 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 sits between not-very-much and negligible.
Yes, the standard interior is upholstered in MB-Tex, a synthetic leather. Leather, however, is 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 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at a modest 208 horsepower that drives the front wheels through a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. A version of Mercedes' 4Matic all-wheel-drive system is also available.
Well above the GLA250 is the GLA 45 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, Mercedes says, to rocket the all-wheel-drive GLA 45 AMG to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds. It's louder and ruder than the GLA250, and the suspension can be punishingly stiff, but if having the quickest small crossover matters to you, here it is.
Both GLAs handle well and ride firm. The expected Mercedes refinement simply isn't there, but fuel economy is about average. The basic GLA250 is EPA-rated at 29 mpg combined (24 city/33 highway). The GLA 45 AMG knocks out 26 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.
2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class AMG GLA 45 4MATIC Overview
What do people think of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class AMG GLA 45 4MATIC?
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class AMG GLA 45 4MATIC and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2018 GLA-Class AMG GLA 45 4MATIC 5 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 2018 GLA-Class AMG GLA 45 4MATIC.
Edmunds Expert Reviews
Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class AMG GLA 45 4MATIC and all model years in our database. Our rich analysis includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2018 GLA-Class AMG GLA 45 4MATIC 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.Read our full review of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA-Class AMG GLA 45 4MATIC here.
Our Review Process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
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Should I lease or buy a 2018 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.