2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 assessment: A better starter

The AMG Line and Evening packages make the GLA look fairly imply.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

Simply as Mercedes’ new CLA-Class is a big enchancment over its predecessor, so too is that this GLA-Class SUV. Beginning at $37,280 together with $1,050 for vacation spot, the GLA250 is a superb entry level into the Mercedes-Benz lineup, and eventually has the fashion and tech to essentially stand out within the subcompact SUV class.

LikeExcellent powertrainPlenty of driver-assistance techTop-notch MBUX infotainment

Do not LikeSmaller cargo space than competitorsGets very costly with choices

Trendy and highly effective

Regardless of being roughly the identical dimension, visually, the brand new GLA actually works. It is acquired a 1.1-inch longer wheelbase however is shorter in total size than earlier than, although it is almost Four inches taller and only a smidge wider, too. The sculpted hood offers the GLA250 an aura of power and I just like the LED operating mild signature. My tester has the $2,240 AMG Line look package deal and the $400 Evening Bundle, giving the SUV a special grille, gloss-black exterior trim and barely extra aggressive styling. These choices usually get you 19-inch wheels, however this GLA250 takes issues up a notch with bigger 20s, a $1,050 choice.

The GLA250’s turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 pushes out 221 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, and whereas front-wheel drive is normal, all-wheel drive is non-obligatory. These numbers are aggressive throughout the class — the GLA250 is as highly effective as an Audi Q3 or BMW X1, and it tops the Volvo XC40’s base T4 powertrain.

Mercedes’ eight-speed dual-clutch transmission is a pleasure, particularly within the SUV’s Sport mode, the place it holds gears longer to wring out all of the engine’s energy. There are paddle shifters, however the transmission works nice by itself. The steering is a bit mild for my tastes, even in Sport, nevertheless it’s correct and fast to reply.

In Consolation mode, the GLA delivers a properly composed trip. My solely grievance is that the two.0-liter I4 sounds form of tough, although the graceful, simple supply of energy makes up for that. The non-obligatory Burmester sound system simply drowns out the engine, too.

All-wheel-drive GLAs get an Off-Highway mode, not that this factor actually begs to be taken off the overwhelmed path, particularly with 20-inch wheels. The Off-Highway setting alters the parameters for the engine, all-wheel-drive system and anti-lock brakes, permitting the GLA to higher deal with soiled terrain. The GLA additionally comes with hill-descent management, which is type of like a downhill cruise management, retaining the GLA anyplace between 1 and 11 mph on steep grades.

The GLA’s gas financial system is fairly respectable, with the EPA estimating 25 miles per gallon metropolis, 34 mpg freeway and 28 mpg mixed for front-wheel-drive fashions. Including AWD reduces these numbers to 24, 33 and 27, respectively.

An enormous quantity of tech

Mercedes-Benz has actually upped its tech sport over the previous few years and the GLA actually would not skimp on the good things. A pair of 7-inch screens for the instrument cluster and infotainment are normal, however my tester will increase these to 10.2-inch shows. The upgraded screens are a part of the $1,750 Premium Bundle and completely price it.

MBUX is the most effective.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

MBUX software program is the star right here, and it may be managed by thumbpads on the steering wheel, a touchpad on the middle console or just by touching the display screen. You too can get up the system by saying, “Hey, Mercedes,” at which level the voice command means that you can do absolutely anything. I can simply say, “I am chilly,” and MBUX responds, “I am rising the temperature to 74 levels.” Thanks, woman!

The $1,295 Multimedia Bundle provides augmented actuality navigation overlays that may show info like addresses and directional arrows onto a picture captured by the forward-facing digital camera. I’ve used this tech earlier than and sit up for it each time — it is a uncommon occasion the place I do not simply plug in my cellphone and depend on Apple CarPlay (or Android Auto, if that is your bag).

The tech hits carry on coming with a lot of driver-assistance programs. The one bummer is the good things is a part of a $1,700 Driver Help Bundle, although it is properly definitely worth the worth. The adaptive cruise management brings the automobile to a easy cease and the automobile makes use of GPS to decelerate for curves within the freeway, toll cubicles and the like. The steering help does a great job at retaining the GLA centered in its lane alongside the freeway, and lane-departure warning is there in case you begin to veer off to the facet.

The cabin is not fairly as flashy because the A- or CLA-Class.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow

However whereas the tech roster is wealthy, the remainder of the GLA feels a bit downmarket. The supplies are all of respectable high quality, thoughts you, however the design is simply form of bland, with not loads of consideration to element. Fortunately the seats are snug and there is a number of storage. I really like the thick, flat-bottomed steering wheel and Mercedes’ dual-color ambient lighting by no means ceases to impress.

The GLA’s bigger dimensions means there’s much more area inside, even for second-row passengers. There are 4.5 extra inches of rear legroom in comparison with the outgoing mannequin, and there is extra headroom for entrance seat passengers as properly. Even with the panoramic sunroof my 5-foot, 9-inch body has loads of area. My pandemic-tall hair would not even come near touching the headliner.

The place the GLA suffers barely is with cargo area, which is smaller than different automobiles within the class. There’s solely 15.Four cubic ft of area behind the second row, whereas a BMW X1 has simply over 27 cubes and the Audi Q3 will get almost 24. Fold these seats down and the GLA will get a bit extra aggressive with 50.5 cubic ft. Once more, that is lower than the X1, however the seats-down spec surpasses that of the Q3.

It actually appears rather a lot higher than the outdated GLA.

Emme Corridor/Roadshow
Elevating the entry-level bar

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLA250 could begin at $37,280, however issues can get fairly loopy in case you aren’t cautious with the choices. All-wheel drive prices $2,000 and my tester has a loopy quantity of bells and whistles, bringing the ultimate worth to $55,585 together with vacation spot. That is some huge cash for this entry-level GLA, so you would be good to go simple with the add-ons.

Even so, the upper worth actually feels price it contemplating how a lot nicer the GLA is than earlier than. The motive force-assistance tech is basically fairly good, the powertrain is peppy and the cabin is comfortable. Those that need a bit extra oomph would possibly wish to wait till the tip of the yr for the AMG variations, however because it stands, the GLA250 is a superb starter SUV for folk seeking to get some luxurious of their lives.

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