Mercedes-Benz GLA Review
The GLA is where Mercedes’s crossover and SUV lineup starts. The model has just been updated for 2024. I’ll quickly run through what’s changed and also give you a quick recap of Merck’s Junior crossover.
On the outside, you won’t confuse the 2024 GLA for anything but a GLA. There’s no change to the crossover is round its shape, and honestly, the differences are down to the finer details.
Front Side Detail
Up front, the headlights get a new, eyebrow-like LED DRL signature, and there’s a new auto high beam function that switches to dipper on detecting oncoming traffic.
This aside, the bumper apron on AMG line versions is now body-colored as opposed to being finished in black as before.
Entry spec, progressive line variants get a redone front bumper, but again, you’ll need to keep pics of the outgoing version handy to spot the differences.
There are no visual changes at the sides, and as before, AMG line versions ride on attractive 19-inch AMG rims, while progressive line versions make do with 18 inches.
The only change of note are the door handles that now get full keyless functionality. Changes at the back are restricted to updated tail light inserts.
The new and eye-catching spectral blue shade. On the whole, the GLA is nice-looking, but if you want your 50-lack-rupee plus to get you something with an upright stance or butch look, you better look elsewhere
Inside View Of Car
There are some changes inside the GLA as well. For instance, the steering wheel has been upgraded to an AMG unit. So you get extra spokes around the steering box.
It looks really good, and it also now gets touch panels, which I’ll touch upon in a bit.
You also get new carbon fiber look for the dashboard, and the center console area has been neatened up, giving you a bit more storage. you get access to your wireless charger as before and two cup holders.
As before, there’s a youthful air to the interior and it feels properly expensive.
In terms of quality, this feels like a Mercedes cabin.
Things to like include these turbine-like air convents that work with this very satisfying click.
You also get soft touch and padded materials on the desktop, the seats in the Alcantara trim on this AMG line version look really rich and sporty, but you’ll also find hard plastics on the lower portion of the dash.
The front seats, as mentioned, are great to look at and are comfy too, but Mercedes could have added in a ventilation function over and above the power adjust and memory features already included.
Talking of tech upgrades, the GLA continues as before with this twin screen layout, and it is very nice, but the MBUX interface has been updated to NTG 7, which unlocks a few more features.
For instance, wireless connectivity for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are now included, and the GLA also sports a 360-degree camera, and yes, it does get front and rear parking sensors.
If you use the Mercedes me app, you can also play video games on the center touch screen, provided the car is parked.
On the whole, the system has become smoother still, and that holds true for the digital dials as well.
Now, the dials now support added themes, including an off-road theme for the 4Matic equipped GLA 220D.
The interface is slick, clear, and easy to refer to. What is a bit of a miss are the new touch controls at the steering.
You can use the controls to operate the main infotainment screen and digital dials, but they aren’t as feelsome as click to operate physical buttons would have been.
Other features of note include a twin-pane sunroof and 64-colour ambient lighting. Also new to the GLA is a digital key that allows owners to remotely give others access to their vehicle.
In terms of safety equipment, the GLA packs in seven airbags, ABS, ESC, and a tire pressure monitor.
All wheel drive versions also get hill descent control, while a new inclusion on the GLA is a blind spot warning.
Active break assist that will apply the brakes automatically on detecting an impact is included.
It’s a great safety feature, but perhaps too sensitive for Indian conditions.
Interestingly, an update that comes soon will show a prompt with the option to switch the system off every time you start the car.
Moving to the back seat The GLA might be the smallest crossover in the Mercedes universe, but space at the back is actually more than adequate.
The front seat is set to my driving position, and there is good amount of knee room and lots of space under the front seat to tuck feet under.
What this isn’t is a space for three adults to sit at the back in comfort. A third person will be a squeeze here. But if it’s just two of you, what you will miss is a fold down center armrest.
The rear seat backrest recline can’t be adjusted either. Amenities at the back include aircon vents and two USB type C ports.
New to the GLA is a gesture control tailgate that opens to reveal a usefully large luggage area.
The GLA packs in a space saver spare wheel that sits in a dedicated area under the boot floor. Under the hood, you’ll find the same set of engines as before.
There’s a 1.3 liter turbo-petrol engine that makes 163 horsepower and is solely offered in front-wheel drive format with power channel through a seven-speed dual clutch gearbox.
The other engine of choice is a 190 horsepower and 400 Newton meter, 2 liter diesel, paired to an 8-speed dual clutch automatic with standard-fit all-wheel drive. Featured here is the top-of-the-line GLA 220D.
If you aren’t spoked by the government’s increasingly vocal anti-diesel stance, this is the version of the GLA to go for because it offers everything that we like about strong turbo diesel engines, particularly that mid-range.
The engine feels eager right from the get go, but press down harder, and you are rewarded with the surge of power that is just so nice to experience.
Overtakings are effortless, and you’ll be tempted to get past other vehicles just because of how easy it is to do that.
The engine is complemented by a quick shifting dual clutch transmission that stays on the ball through the drive. It’s nice and responsive to paddle shifters as well.
Do note the Gearbox does tend to fumbles on occasion at very low speeds. Also, the diesel engine GLA isn’t the quietest in the business. You can hear the clatter at idle, and it gets quite audible if you extend it.
The engine will grow on when you’re going faster, but you will forgive It’s a favorite for the performance it offers you in exchange.
The GLA 220D’s punchy nature is backed up by nice handling. When you’re driving fast on a twisty road, you’ll find that the steering is smooth and light, and the GLA will hold its line through a corner quite confidently.
It’s when you’re pushing really hard that you’ll find the front-end start to wash wide and the GLA not able to hide its front-wheel driveness.
In slower speed environments, the GLA feels easy to drive. The steering is light, the elevated seating gives you a good view, and maneuverability is easy. The surface you’re driving on will greatly determine your opinion of ride comfort.
On average quality roads, the GLA rides comfortably and actually feels quite hushed as well.
And that’s quite remarkable given that it rides on 19-inch rims. Thing is, when the road surface deteriorates, the potholes become crator because that’s when you’ll hear thud from the suspension.
The all-wheel drive system is a plus, but the GLA isn’t the vehicle if serious off-roading is on your to-do list.
Pricing & Date
The 2024 GLA will be launched on Jan 31, and prices will see a bump up. Expect the range to start at 50 Lakh for the GLA petrol in progressive trim, with the top-spec GLA 220D 4Matic AMG line likely to be priced in the region of 57 Lakh Ex-showroom.
That’s a whole lot of money for what is the smallest of Merck’s crossovers. It’s clearly not the model for buyers to whom price directly equates with size.
Those looking specifically for the rear seat experience will also not be completely satisfied, and there’ll be many not sold on its crossover stance altogether.
On the plus side, the GLA has the luxury caution, it’s got the features, and with the diesel engine, particularly, it has the punch.
And by virtue of its ground clearance, it’s also better suited to our road conditions than a like-price sedan would be. Your first luxury car then, the Mercedes GLA sure deserves to be on the list of probables.