This Mercedes Benz GLA 200 review will let you know if the latest revamp of the GLA 200 makes the subcompact SUV able to battle the rest of the overcrowded small cars market. The competition is huge, but Mercedes-Benz is not your regular car manufacturer. They often push the boundaries, driving the whole industry forward in terms of both design and technology.
However, pushing the industry forward also costs a lot of money, so Mercedes-Benz vehicles are rarely among the more affordable ones but you definitely get what you pay for. On the other hand, the subcompact SUV segment is inherently limited by pricing expectations, so manufacturers need to find a way to make their cars competitive without breaking the bank.
Not an easy task. Let’s see how the Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 fares.
Design of The Mercedes GLA 200
In terms of exterior design, Mercedes has its own general direction that affects everything, from the smallest A-Class to the massive GLS. While there are significant differences among them, whichever model you look at, it will unmistakably be recognized as a Mercedes Benz.
The GLA benefits from this design direction as well. The familiar stylish grille with a large Mercedes badge takes almost all the attention from the front. However, stylish headlights hug the grille from the sides and feel like they point to it, further emphasizing the central position of the grille. The lower section holds a modern front bumper with a chrome lip spoiler that adds a bit of sportiness to the elegant look.
Just like many other subcompact SUVs, the Mercedes GLA 200 also employs an elevating side view. The lower section of the doors climbs up as it reaches the rear of the car, meeting with the top section t the C pillar. While this can make rear visibility a bit hampered, it does let the designers make the side look really cool despite the limited space.
The side also sports these 18” wheels which are by no means small. However, they are further emphasized by the darkened cladding on the sides which makes the space around the wheels look even larger, so the GLA gets to look more rugged.
The rear is minimalistic with recognizable stylish taillights and a cleverly designed wide opening for the boot. The only thing that stands out at the back is this rear bumper with a prominent diffuser. Just like the front bumper, it breaks the rules and makes the rear sportier than it would be with a setup that follows the elegant, minimalistic route of the rest of the rear section.
Check out the full specs and features of the Mercedes Benz GLA 200 here.
Engine and Drive Of The GLA 200
The engine that powers the Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 is a 1.3 L turbo petrol that is co-developed with Renault and Nissan. This means it has been powering vehicles that are sold in a number of different markets all over the world. You can see it in various Mercedes models such as the A-Class, CLA Class, GLA Class, B Class, and even the most recent GLB 200 Class.
In short, there is a reason why this engine is used so widely in many different markets and models, including mid-size SUVs. It is one of the best combinations of efficiency and power for a small petrol engine.
In this car, it produces 120 kW (163 hp) of power and 250 Nm of torque. What makes it even better to drive is the fact that the torque is available from just 1620 revs and all the way up to 4000 revs.
Such a wide torque curve translates to a very smooth and immediate power delivery. The GLA 200 makes the best of the engine almost all the time. Accelerating from a standstill is very easy and overtaking and merging onto motorways is easier than the sheer look at the specs sheet would suggest.
A very big part of this fast reaction and easy acceleration is the gearbox. The 7-speed dual-clutch reacts really quickly, making the best use of two clutches. Shifts are very fast and smooth and on harder acceleration, the push is consistent and uninterrupted.
So the small 1.3 actually easily pushes the GLA 200 to 100 in 8.7 seconds and tops out at 210 km/h, while officially covering 16.4 km per 1 litre of fuel. Remember the power and efficiency combo I mentioned? That’s it.
Handling is light around town and it gets more controlled at higher speeds. Comfort is also better than we expected. While these crossovers based on small city cars have short wheelbases and a stiffer suspension to help control the height, the GLA 200 is actually reasonably comfortable. Still, on rougher roads, you can expect harsher feedback from the suspension.
Interior Of The GLA 200
No Mercedes GLA200 review would be complete without acknowledging the interior layout. Mercedes has been upping the game in the affordable segment for a while now. The latest A-Class is the segment leader and while we don’t get the highest trim levels here, even the base one is far ahead of most of its competitors.
When you step in, you are greeted by a stylish steering wheel and two 7” digital screens, one for the infotainment and the other one for the instrument cluster. The central console is large and accommodating without eating too much into interior space, despite the compact, city-friendly dimensions of the GLA 200. It also holds these innovative touchpad controls for the infotainment screen.
You also get multi-zone aircon, reverse camera, satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity and much more. In all honesty, going through all the interior tech features would merit a review of its own, so feel free to contact our sales department for a more detailed tour.
Storage capacity around the cabin is more than good. You get cupholders, door pockets, a phone tray, glove box, armrest bin and map pockets.
Rear seats are surprisingly spacious for a car of this size. It is similar with the boot which can hold up to 435 L of space, which is a very nice number for a stylish subcompact. If you want more, you can fold the second-row seats. They split 40/20/40 for increased versatility. I have already mentioned the wide opening that makes loading bulky objects easier. This miniature load lip makes this even more so.
As expected, the Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 Sport comes with a number of safety features. Just some of them include active brake assist, driver attention assist, active lane keeping assist, tyre pressure monitoring system, 7 airbags, traction control, automatic headlights, rain sensors, cruise control, electronic parking brake and more.
Is The Mercedes GLA 200 A Good Car?
It most definitely is. While you can find cheaper alternatives on the market, buying a vehicle from a premium manufacturer comes with its benefits and those include a premium image, high quality, loads of comfort and safety equipment and a modern, efficient and fun powertrain.
All this is packed in a compact body that is easy to maneuver around the city and in the body style that gives an elevated driving position, something that is all the rage in the car industry nowadays, as this is already one of the biggest and constantly growing segments of the market.
The GLA 200 delivers on all those fronts which makes it one of the best cars in its class.